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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 14

Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs

From: "Greg Sandow" <gsandow@prodigy.net>
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 23:31:05 -0400
Fwd Date: Sun, 14 Jun 1998 07:30:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs

> From: Brian Straight <brians@mdbs.com>
> To: "'UFO UpDates - Toronto'" <updates@globalserve.net>
> Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Occam's Razor and UFOs
> Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 09:34:18 -0500

> While I subscribe to the tenets of Occam's Razor, it is worth
> noting that, from the point of view of deconstructionist
> philosophy, it is a concept that can be quite easily
> deconstructed, i.e., Occam's Razor claims that the 'simplest'
> explanations are always the best, because they likely to accord
> more closely with 'reality.'

> The Deconstructionist, who is not likely to be gainfully
> employed, and therefore has lots of time to think about this
> kind of thing, is likely to reply to this assertion with the
> observation that it is precisely the 'simplest' explanations
> that are, on the contrary, likely to be the most culturally
> complex.  In other words, Occam's Razor makes all kinds of
> assumptions about the nature of 'reality' and empiricism which
> arise directly from a highly complex cultural continuum and from
> a lengthy ideological history.  "Simple' is only simple with
> reference to this rich backgound (wich has little to do with
> external reality, whatever that is).

> What's the moral of all this?  Always be aware of the
> assumptions that go into any attempt to structure what we call
> reality.  Ufology requires us to think 'outside the box.'

> Brian

Very nice, Brian! And, quite seriously, an important point. We
(me included) have been talking very blithely, as if we knew what
"simple" was, not realizing that the concept is a minefield.

I'd only add that the deconstructionist you mention is almost
certainly teaching at an American unversity. The first time I met
any large number of them was 10 years ago, when I was visiting
professor at the University of Minnesota (a deconstructionist
hotbed), and as far as I know their number throughout American
academia has only increased since then.

Greg Sandow

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