By Steven J. Grisafi, PhD.
Prof. Lars Syll is a critical realist. Philosophers provide society with the valuable work of analyzing our methods for measuring the various aspects of society and human condition. Unfortunately, no philosophical proposition is ever fully decided because philosophers, including the critical realists, ignore the Undecidable Propositions of Kurt Godel.
Critical Theory was developed by the Frankfurt School. Critical Race Theory is a superficial attempt to exploit the work of the Frankfurt School. If one chooses not to reject Critical Race Theory based solely upon its ludicrous propositions, then one ought choose to reject it based upon a determination that Critical Theory itself is flawed. Critical Theory draws attention to the obvious fact that measurements made of society are biased by historical context. Human beings cannot avoid that all of their measurements are subjective. Kurt Godel demonstrated that no proposition can be proven solely within the context of its own system of measurements. All determinations made by the proponents of Critical Race Theory are no less subjective than those made by their less enlightened predecessors. We must all recognize that Critical Theory itself was developed within the historical period dominated by acclaim for Relativity Theory. Prof. Syll often decries the tendency toward relativist thinking. He asserts that there is a reality beyond sensory perceptions that science ought seek to explain in terms of its fundamental causes. The problem with his critical realist viewpoint is that he seeks to define fundamental causes that lay beyond our field of measurement.
Although nothing is ever settled within the realm of philosophical discourse, science and humanity can do better. The path forward was, in my opinion, best set forth by the developers of Quantum Mechanics. Werner Heisenberg, and the others, recognized that our intuition fails us completely when observing quantum phenomena. This is because our intuition is a consequence of our experiences within our macroscopic world. Their remedy for this is simple. If something cannot be measured: Don’t worry about it! This is not to say that nothing exists beyond our capability to measure. It does assert that what lay beyond the realm of our ability to measure is beyond the realm of science. As scientists, either natural or social scientists, what lay beyond our realm of measurement is beyond our field of inquiry.