Specious Realism


At last, we come to the point where I reveal the moral of the story. This book does indeed have such a moral, remarkably like that of the children’s fable at which its title hints. The fable is never just about a specific emperor, or the particular finery in which they claim to be attired. It’s really about people in general, and the way our shared wishes and prejudices cause us to buy into certain ideas against our better judgement, whether we be those standing naked or those who look on idly, unwilling (or unable) to state the obvious. What I have attempted to do in this book is not just to show that a certain fashionable garment is threadbare to the point of nonexistence (the poverty of OOP as a philosophical system), but also to analyse why many people are tempted to don it regardless (its simple yet powerful blend of radical humility in both the epistemological and ontological domains), and why others stand awestruck, unsure of what to say or do in response (a combination of historical circumstance, clever rhetorical defences, and surprisingly effective branding)…