Postmodern Worldmaking and the Unanimous Academy
In seeking insight into the intellectual underpinnings of the current “second culture war” and the emphasis on the campus left on speech repression, this chapter turns back to the first culture war of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In particular, it considers the linguistic constructivism put forward by figures such as Richard Rorty, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Nelson Goodman at the height of postmodernism. This philosophy attributes great power to words, even regarding language as the material out of which reality is built, and it has become almost common coin, especially in various humanities departments. It motivates the control of expression, but that control is only as legitimate as the metaphysics underlying it—the views about truth, reality, and representation—is plausible. Perhaps the turn in philosophy toward realist metaphysics, among other developments, provides a ray of hope in the politically unanimous academy.