Skip to content

Postmodernism/Critical Theory/Satire

Manly Math

This is pretty funny: "College math prof says 'the idea that math is in any way objective is a MYTH' that 'reeks of white supremacist patriarchy.'" The article is catalogued under "Not the Bee," meaning, "Not The Babylon Bee." It's good to see a satire site like The Bee gather such a large following. My family has been reading it for a few years.

If anyone needs a recap for how someone could claim that math is not objective:

Structuralism came up with a new way of looking at the world that didn't rely on a central idea. (Christianity: Christ; Descarte: the subjective self; de Sade: sexual desire). Structuralism starts with semiology: the science of signs. The central tenet: Each word means nothing in itself. It merely points to an underlying thing: cow. The only reason it has any significance in itself is because there are other things to distinguish it: cow, cat, ball, toilet. That is the basic insight of the newer science of semiology as advanced by C.S. Pierce and Ferdinand de Saussure.

De Saussure took it further, however, to say that all aspects of society are governed by the societal structure of these signs: the signs (words) form an intricate network of relationship (after all, that's all words do . . . work with other words to form meaning) to create the intellectual air we breathe; we can't think outside this structure. We are, in this sense, formed by the structure. The structuralist says we have no thoughts of our own that aren't dictated by the structure we are born into. Or, at the very least, any such thoughts are severe influenced by the structure, so we kid ourselves into thinking they're our thoughts.

Shift over to Claude Levi-Strauss. He applied structuralism to anthropology to teach that one's culture dictates one's truth. There is no objective truth. The only truth you think you see are imposed by the structure of your culture.

Shift over to the feminists, like Judith Butler, who taught our culture is a patriarchal one. Therefore, all our "truths" are merely assertions created by the patriarchal structure (which, of course, need to be torn down).