Nominalism: the philosophical doctrine that general or abstract words do not stand for objectively existing entities and that universals are no more than names assigned to them. Compare “conceptualism”, “realism” [1830-1840’s] Webster’s College Dictionary
In “Nominalism: The Engine of Lies”, journalist Kenneth LaFave in the Epoch Times explores and explains a word I hadn’t seen used to describe the “woke” world we now find ourselves living in. Nominal is the root word, meaning in name, or in name only.
As the dictionary notes, it is not a new word by any means. However, it has been renewed as a description for what we grudgingly began using in the 1980’s and ’90’s to define “politically correct” language, mostly pushed upon us by the lawyers and justice warriors of the Left. Political correctness was ubiquitous in our everyday nomenclature by the first decade of the 21st century, in our academic circles most prolifically. Now it is commonly accepted in casual conversation, or at least it is on the campuses and in our legal institutions and our media on the West and East coasts of America.
Mr. LaFave gives a little history of the word but mostly he ties its use as the tool it is now of the “woke” culture, who base the words they use firmly in the emotional, feeling foundational way they view the world. Unhinged from any reference to reality, a much too harsh and objective experience for those who only know how to feel about life, those who are hurt by hard and true factual words. They then hijack words and names and use them in describing a view of the world as seen, or as felt. Thus, they distort the meaning of words to accommodate their own view of life, based on those feelings and not necessarily reality or fact.
As an example, LaFave notes: “The most obvious current case of rampant nominalism is the transgender movement, which purports that a biological man can be a woman or the other way around. A woman [then] is simply a person who identifies as a woman, who employs the word “woman” in reference to him or herself…..biology means nothing….because the real world, as opposed to the world of words, is empty for them.”
Does this strike anyone as a dangerous distortion of the philosophical doctrine, just in general? Dangerous, because it is a use of words which create worlds upon which policy is being made. Policy under which we are all living, based on a progressive imaginary world not based in science, biological truth, or even common sense.
As far as I can see, this begins to explain, for the rest of us living in the real world, why we have experienced a surrealistic pall surrounding our engagements out in the world of commerce and social exchange in the past, oh, say fifteen years or more. But at a highly accelerated rate in just the past eighteen months, where nominalism has become the dominant language and if we don’t all buy into the charade, the game of words, we are not included in the “woke” world. We are shunned, we are cancelled, we are censored into non existence.
One can only hope that nominalism will be a cult-like fad and will die out in the end if only for the fact that reality will inevitably outlast the imaginary in a three dimensional world in which we live daily. We can only hope.
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