of the Alien Tort Statute. Opinion of the SCOTUS out this morning.
At least there were four dissents. We have no comment at the moment, but may visit the subject another time, though we also may have exhausted our vitriol on the subject years ago.
Apropos a few of our most recent posts, an opinion we should have run across years ago but for some reason did not.
Epistemology is not a joke, and apparently amateurs should stay away from the subject. And amateurs include police officers, lawyers and judges without the proper training. And “proper training” is, well, epistemology, metaphysics and the like. Certainly not “criminal justice” courses or “political science”.
The rabbit hole Mr. Van Brocklin descends into in the linked article – completely ill-equipped, intellectually speaking – has no bottom. Can we discuss and debate theories of knowledge and truth? Surely. But there are more than two thousand years of material to draw upon. The questions Mr. Van Brocklin raises do not spring fully grown out of his own head.
As a society we are suffering from profound deficiencies in education, and especially – and somewhat depressingly – among those considered highly educated. Reading Judge Spigelman’s account of how he came to embrace the view that court proceedings are about ascertaining the truth, subject to some limitations, is not so much enlightening or satisfying as it is painful and embarrassing:
We seem now to have passed through the convulsion in the humanities and social sciences academy of that conglomeration of doctrines often referred to as ‘postmodernism’. The only thing that was ever interesting about ‘postmodernism’ was what it was ‘pre’. The ‘post modernist’ form of relativism that drew on the difficulties of proving truth and the distortions that can arise in the truth finding process to conclude that the search for truth should be abandoned would, in the end, have destroyed the cloistered academy which generated this perversion.
Perversion indeed. How unfortunate for us that in 2011 this even needed to be said.
Post modernism let loose upon the college campus is a corruption of thought; let loose in a nation’s courts it is a corruption of society itself so thorough and profound that it will inevitably result in officially perpetrated rape and murder, because raw power fills the gap left by the abandonment of reason.
We have trained police and prosecutors, judges and lawyers, to be glib about their obligation to seek the truth by denying them the intellectual formation to appreciate the importance of that obligation.