HonestThinking is dedicated and committed to the art of thinking honestly. Yet honest thinking is not the same as true thinking, for it is possible to think honestly, but be mistaken. For the same reason, honest thinking is not identical with objective thinking either. Honest thinking is striving to get things right. This involves being truthful about whatever one publishes, but just as importantly, it involves an uncompromising dedication never to suppress relevant data, even when data collides with dearly held prejudices. Such an approach may sometimes require hurtful revisions in one’s belief system. That’s what HonestThinking is all about!
In declaring the priority of data over prejudice and in committing to an honest handling of data, we are making some non-trivial philosophical assumptions. For one thing, we assume that there are data. We do not assume that there are data over and beyond any interpretation. But we assume that there are data which will be recognized as such independent of linguistic or cultural identities. That is, we assume that there are data which are sufficiently evident to command inter-subjective consensus and to serve as an inter-subjective basis for testing hypotheses. Secondly, we assume that there is such a thing as truth and that falsity is the opposite of it. We do not believe that we quite simply have the truth, but we are proceeding on a philosophical conviction which commits us to honestly strive to approximate or to appropriate the truth as far as possible. The philosophical foundation of this approach is referred to by philosophers as “metaphysical realism”, a position which boils down to the assumption that the world is out there, largely independent of how we think of it.
The philosophical basis of HonestThinking is sharply antithetical to a certain contemporary ideology called “postmodernism”. Postmodernism is so amorphous and variegated that it escapes proper definition. A common denominator of postmodernist thought is nevertheless some form or other of relativism. Relativism has endured as long as philosophy herself and has always been opposed to her, even if the intellectual flaws and irrationality of relativism have been identified and rigorously refuted at least since the time of Plato (of course relativism, in any form which is universal, is self-referentially inconsistent, since, in order for it to be true, its negation must be true too). From a philosophical standpoint relativism is just the old cloak of the un-philosopher quack, and can be disposed of accordingly.
But there is a larger problem about relativism as it appears in postmodernism, which is not really an intellectual but rather a sociological problem. It is that many people who are innocently unaware of the rotten intellectual foundations of postmodernism have been seduced (through socialization, not thinking, to be sure) to accept some or other tenets of it. For example, many people believe that any world view, religion or cultural practice is just as good as any other. This is a relativist and irrational prejudice, but it is widespread enough so as to often block constructive criticism and debate over, precisely, world views, religions and cultural practices. The prejudice here results from an intellectual soporific that has been disseminated so sublimely and over such a long time that many of its victims have no idea that their beliefs are shaped by relativism, much less of course why they even believe what they do. The resulting misfortune has had a quite considerable impact on public life for the reason that some people who are influential in forming public opinion and who sometimes even pass for being intellectuals have been intellectually numbed by some form of relativism. That’s what HonestThinking is here to counter!
Consider how people with a postmodernist bent of thought will find our very name, HonestThinking, pompous and provocative. Surely, anyone who has abandoned the notion of truth as the ultimate standard towards which reason and thought aspire, will find talk of honesty tantamount to empty gesture and flattery. Here lies an important point! For you, the reader, will surely distrust anyone who despises honesty. Hopefully, you will much rather participate in efforts to critically think matters through in an honest way.
HonestThinking promises that when we are informed of falsehoods with regard to matters of fact in our published material, we will correct it and we will admit it. With regard to the latter, all our admitted mistakes will be recorded in a “book of falsehoods” (which will be created when we need to - as, sooner or later, we inevitably will). The reader is hereby challenged to challenge us! Send your challenge to postmaster at honestThinking.org (replacing ' at ' with '@').
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