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Clarity in Philosophy - And A Terrible Post Modern Argument Against It


A common Post Modern defence of unclarity in philosophy is that e.g. some boundaries are vague/unclear. 'If reality is vague and unclear, then we must be vague and unclear in talking about reality. Otherwise we are not being true to reality.'

The analogy here is, perhaps, painting a picture. If a storm is something vague and fuzzy, then to be accurate your painting of it must be vague and fuzzy, like a Turner. Being clear is a mistake - it involves crudely pixelating what is in reality highly subtle.




But this is to muddle clarification with simplification. A crude pixelated image is a simplification of what we see, not a clarification. Analytic philosophers do not recommend simplification. They value perspicuity, so we can see/understand clearly how things are. 

Being opaque is no aid to seeing/understanding how things really are, irrespective of whether how they are is simple, or infinitely subtle and complex. The subtlety and complexity of the subject matter is *no justification at all* for being unclear.


POST SCRIPT. This post was prompted by this tweet.

Here seems to be another example of someone running the argument I criticise here (Mette Hoeg in THINK).



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