Monday, June 16, 2008
I handed in a doctoral proposal today. While I have not finally completed my M.Th. thesis, some universities prefer an early start to the doctoral process. The title of my dissertation is provisionally: Fact/Value Dualism: The Role of Language as Reconciling Factor. The difficulty can be stated simply: “How can facts lead us to values?” Fact/value dualism has been described in various terms. Chisholm (1977:60) sees it in Kant’s analytic vs. synthetic propositions; Capra (1982:21) describes it as rational vs. intuitive knowledge; Lyotard (1984:64) refers to it as denotative vs. prescriptive language games; Toulmin (1990:200,201) describes it as abstraction vs. humanism; Davey (2001:31,32) refers to it as devalorization vs. valorization; while Korten (2001:234) refers to it as materialistic monism vs. transcendental monism. This dualism is, I believe, the most important conceptual problem of our time. It has also deeply influenced recent theology. Anyway, a number of eminent thinkers have proposed a reconciliation of this dualism through a study of language, and this is the route that I propose to take in exploring the problem. QUESTION: So you have all the facts of a situation. How do you evaluate it? On what basis do you act? And why? What examples are there of people who have the facts, or data, yet do not use them appropriately?