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d63



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PostSubject: Study: Pragmatism   Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:05 pm

Going back to Rorty (Essays on Heidegger and Others (especially after Deleuze  (I always find myself with feelings of conflict and apprehension.  As the intellectually and creatively curious, we find ourselves torn between two types of philosophical experience. On one hand, we want to stretch beyond ourselves. This draws us to suspects like Deleuze who always allow us a little closer while constantly eluding us. But this can lead to feelings of alienation.  On the other hand, we want the comfort of feeling like we understand what is being related to us. But this can lead to an experience of simply flattering oneself with what they already understand. We experience as much with love relationships in the tension we experience between having someone we can feel safe with while always wanting what is just out our reach. It’s what makes love so hard. So why should a love of philosophy be any different?

At this point in my process, it’s as if Rorty gives himself to me too easily. I always know what the theme is (one deeply embedded in me (and because of that, I always feel like I’m going back. On the other hand, because of that comfort with what is being relayed, I am given the luxury of appreciating how it is being relayed. It gives me food for thought. For instance, I have noticed the similarity between Rorty’s provincial New England style and Searle’s inviting step by step build up of an argument –that is despite the animosity the two men felt towards each other.  In both cases, it is as if they both are perfectly willing to take you under their wings and tell you: listen, it’s not as mystical and esoteric as those other philosophers would lead you to believe.  The only difference was their agendas.

Another problem for me is that I sometimes feel like my war with the analytic approach is outdated. Rorty mainly wrote back in the 80’s. This leaves me feeling like the old cliché of a WW2 Japanese soldier trapped on a deserted island who thinks the war is still going on.

But make no mistake about it: I love Rorty. He has altered me. So maybe I need to keep going back to figure out how I got here.
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PostSubject: Re: Study: Pragmatism   Wed Apr 08, 2015 4:31 pm

As I often try to do (perhaps am even naturally disposed to(I am about to take a serendipitous route through a definite discomfort zone that will work in the overlaps between recent discoveries in neuroscience, Deleuze, and my recent reading of Rorty’s Essays on Heidegger and Others. And, hopefully, I’ll be able to pull it off without too much gerrymandering (have loved the word ever since I stole it from Rorty (as to render this about 500 word meditation wasted.

I would first point out what may be one the consequences of recent discoveries of neuroscience and the data that increasingly leans towards a more materialistic description of the relationship between the meat of the brain and what we experience as mind. Now don’t get me wrong: I still hold out for the possibility of participation in defining mind as an interface between the body (and its brain (and its environment via a non-linear feedback loop between the two. But as neuroscience shows more and more that we are who we are because of the physiological structure of the brain (and in the sense that Chomsky asserted (you start to recognize the futility of different dispositions fighting (that between left and right or that between continental and analytic approaches to philosophy (and the silliness of it given that, as neuroscience learns how hard-wired these dispositions are in us, it makes no sense to alienate those who don’t share our disposition especially when some of those people may be people we love. I mean we are always more than the ideologies we adopt.

Now this may seem to put us in a hopeless situation in that any language game or reasoning we might offer the other can only fail, which means there may come points or walls at which, reason having failed, all that is left is force. But then doesn’t this support the possibility that if force is the means to the end, wouldn’t it be far better to resort to the force of the democratic system and law that Rorty and Dewey champion? Whatever frustration we may experience with it?

Still, people can change. And in the essay “Philosophy as Science, Metaphor, Politics” in the section (pg. 12) “Metaphor as the growing point of Language”, Rorty points to three means by which a belief can be added to other beliefs, thereby offering the possibility of change: perception, inference, and metaphor. Perception is a matter of seeing something that acts outside of our systems of belief. Inference is the product of our mental concepts building off of themselves. Here we get some overlap with Deleuze and Guattarri’s assertion in What is Philosophy that philosophy is about conceptual play with the endgame of creating yet more concepts or beliefs in Rorty’s terminology. But as Rorty says:

“Both perception and inference leave our language, our way of dividing up the realm of possibility, unchanged. They alter the truth-values of sentences, but not our repertoire of sentences.”

It is in the realm of metaphor that Rorty goes the deepest into Deleuzian territory. It is in this domain that conceptual play and creation is most comfortable. Sartre’s being-for-itself and being-in-itself? Baudrillard’s Simulacrum? D&G’s rhizomatic network? Rorty’s mirror of reality? What are they if not metaphors: a new way of talking about things that forces us to change our repertoire of sentences?
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PostSubject: Re: Study: Pragmatism   Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:45 pm

I want to meander and fumble around on my last point a little more. But I would start with another quote from Rorty’s essay “Philosophy as Metaphor, Science, Politics” in Essays on Heidegger and Others:

“The latter are better metaphors for metaphor, because they suggest that cognition is not always recognition, that the acquisition of truth is not always a matter of fitting data into a preestablished scheme. A metaphor is, so to speak, a voice from outside logical space, rather than an empirical filling-up of a portion of that space, or a logical-philosophical clarification of the structure of that space. It is a call to change one’s language and one’s life, rather than a proposal about how to systemize either.”

What we are getting at here is not just the important role that metaphor plays in post-Neitzscheian philosophy (once again:

“Sartre’s being-for-itself and being-in-itself? Baudrillard’s Simulacrum? D&G’s rhizomatic network? Rorty’s mirror of reality? What are they if not metaphors: a new way of talking about things that forces us to change our repertoire of sentences?”

(but the very real pragmatic function it can serve. Anyone who has come to know Deleuze to any degree can appreciate the role that osmosis (via free indirect discourse (can play in that process: that vague sense of having been altered. And like free indirect discourse, metaphor works in an oblique manner. The pragmatic/practical potential of it goes back to a point I made about conflict or what Layotard referred to as differends: the way opposing views can break down to assumptions that, from the nihilistic perspective, ultimately, float on thin air. Once again:

“I would first point out what may be one the consequences of recent discoveries of neuroscience and the data that increasingly leans towards a more materialistic description of the relationship between the meat of the brain and what we experience as mind. Now don’t get me wrong: I still hold out for the possibility of participation in defining mind as an interface between the body (and its brain (and its environment via a non-linear feedback loop between the two. But as neuroscience shows more and more that we are who we are because of the physiological structure of the brain (and in the sense that Chomsky asserted (you start to recognize the futility of different dispositions fighting (that between left and right or that between continental and analytic approaches to philosophy (and the silliness of it given that, as neuroscience learns how hard-wired these dispositions are in us, it makes no sense to alienate those who don’t share our disposition especially when some of those people may be people we love. I mean we are always more than the ideologies we adopt.”

The point here is that given how hardwired ideologies may be in the minds of people who risk our destruction through man-made climate change or our enslavement through global capitalism, direct confrontation through reason may not only be futile, but actually counter-productive in that it will only alienate them and push them deeper into their system of beliefs. And outside of Rorty’s other two means of adding beliefs, perception and inference (both of which are means the other must go through on their own, metaphor or indirect poetic methods are the only means by which we can hope to resonate with, seduce, and participate in adding to those systems of beliefs.

Brian Massumi , in his User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia, approaches this when he points out the import of camouflage in his Deleuze and Guattarri based manifesto. And who better to undermine a king (a tyrant (than a joker saying pretty and entertaining things?
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PostSubject: Re: Study: Pragmatism   Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:15 pm

So in the hopes of sounding like I’m writing a real philosophical exposition, my intention here is to zero in and expand on a previous quote from Rorty’s essay “Philosophy as Science, Metaphor, Politics” in Essays on Heidegger and Others and hopefully push further into the nuances of metaphor in philosophy. Anyway:

“Both perception and inference leave our language, our way of dividing up the realm of possibility, unchanged. They alter the truth-values of sentences, but not our repertoire of sentences. To assume that perception and inference are the only ways in which beliefs ought to be changed is to adopt what Heidegger identified as the “mathematical” attitude. It is to assume that the language we presently speak is, as it were, all the language there is, all the language we shall ever need.”

Now the thing to note here is that Heidegger is noted as taking the “poetic” lean in philosophy –that is as compared to the scientific or political. However, as Rorty points out in a later essay (and that is if I understand him right (Heidegger fell short of his promise by turning his emphasis on the poetic approach into a mandate towards the obscure and esoteric language of the priest or shaman. In other words, Heidegger, by giving the poetic privilege over the political (that which is about social justice (showed the very elitist colors that may have been flying when he so blatantly subscribed to Nazism. This, as Rorty points out elsewhere, was the result of Heidegger’s reactionary disposition in the face of technology. And we should note here Heidegger’s rather eccentric choice of appearing before his classes garbed in the traditional German outfit you often see on polka bands.

Rorty then turns to Davidson’s take on metaphor (something I will have to drive into after I understand it better, but what it ultimately comes to is a quote from pg. 14:

“Another way of putting this point is to say, with Davidson, that “the irrational” is essential to intellectual progress. In a paper on Freud, Davidson notes that “mental causes which are not reasons” –that is, beliefs and desires which play a role in our behavior but which do not fit into the scheme of beliefs and desires which we would claim as ours- are needed not only to explain “deviant” behavior (as Freudian psychoanalytic theory employs them) but also to “explain our salutary efforts, and occasional successes, at self criticism and self improvement.”

(First of all, note to self: need to dig deeper into Davidson.)

That said, we can see here a bridge or overlap (or maybe even a premonition of (with modern discoveries in neuroscience and, contrary to the bah-humbug attitude of more scientific approaches such as that of Dennett or Searle, the import of the metaphoric/ poetic (that which Heidegger failed to follow through with (that, despite their seemingly irrational nature, can add to our evolution in terms of brain plasticity. (And it allows for a connection that can eventually be made with Deleuze.)

My window is almost out, so I have to do this quick and elaborate later. But as J. Allan Hobson points out in Dreaming: A Very Short Introduction, dreaming (that which we would normally think of as an irrational experience (actually may play a vital role in the process of brain plasticity….

Unfortunately, I have to let this go for now. But elaborating on that last point gives me my rhizome for tomorrow.
*
Appendix (something I had time to write earlier that goes to the pragmatic point:

“(Biological evolution can be defined as change with modification over a period of time.)
In the context of the past, the past tense of change is changed. This implies that the fossil records are about things that have changed. And subsequently, (this implies) that we cannot know they have changed. For the knowing of change is contingent on our past experiences of what those things looked like before. Therefore, with reference to the past, biological evolution cannot be confirmed.” –David Salako: https://www.facebook.com/groups/philosophy1/10152895379910889/?notif_t=group_comment_reply

I think we can consider evolution as having passed the pragmatic truth test of warranted assertability. In ways described by Eren, as well in other ways, it just works.

But to tentatively jump on David's side of the fence, we could resort to the inductive limit and argue reasonably that there is no way of knowing that some guy with cloven hooves and horns didn't plant this evidence to throw us off his tracks. And the best one could do is snort, "yeah, but it isn't likely" and walk away leaving the argument pretty much unchallenged.

However (to jump back to the other side), were we to follow that argument with an assertion that, because of that, evolution must be false, we would be making a clear turn into bad reasoning. But then all we would have to do is change one word (a mere qualifier (and argue that because of the previous point, evolution could be wrong. But then we would just be saying the same thing as the first: simply converting our premise into a conclusion.

But this is all a lot of semantic play with minor references to existential reality. But once we move from the semantic to the existential, we return to the pragmatic force of warranted assertability in front of which semantic arguments fall limp.
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PostSubject: Re: Study: Pragmatism   Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:32 pm

“Baudrillard took the theory of simulacra from Deleuze. But he was a fierce enemy of Deleuze and Foucault - he wrote the critical: Forget Foucault (“Oublier Foucault” in French). Though he was a colleague of Deleuze in Nanterre as a professor and sociologist, one of his "Hobbies" seems to have been to undermine the influence of Deleuze, the Althusser school,  and a lot more. Perhaps he was being antagonistic to provoke discourse.” –Harald Harald Helmut Wenk​: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2232336063/10153218610796064/?notif_t=group_comment

Actually, as I understand it, the concept of simulacra goes back to Plato or maybe is applied to him.  And while Baudrillard may have gotten wind of the concept via Deleuze, the two approaches are quite different. Deleuze’s sense of it seems to be in what he called the virtual which, as I understand it, has to do with the way time works in the presence of consciousness: the way the present is always some unknowable transition point (if you could call it a point (between an approaching future and a receding past. This comes up a lot in my readings on Deleuze in terms of the “past present that was never truly present”.  This is why Deleuze is said to have argued (perhaps in opposition to Baudrillard (that it makes no sense to pine for the good old days when everything was more real when we have always worked in the virtual: a flashback, perhaps, to Kant’s distinction between noumenon and phenomenon.

Baudrillard’s approach to it, on the other hand, shines on his being described as a Sci-fi writer who happened to be writing philosophy. In his case, we have to make the distinction between simulacra and the Simulacrum. Besides the having to recognize “simulacra” as the plural of the singular “simulacrum”, in the case of Baudrillard, we have to recognize the almost paranoid connotations of The Simulacrum: the entity that, via media, puts a delusional and hegemonic sheen on the Capitalistic machinery we all live with, that which we cannot point to in the same way we might that water at atmospheric pressure boils at 212 degrees, but nevertheless seems to have a very real effect on our lives.

But you’re right: Baudrillard was an arrogant character. As I remember reading him, he reminds me of an old board nemesis of mine who seemed to punctuate every statement with a triumphant “Hah!!!!”. Still, he is fuel for the fire and I hope to eventually get back to him. And he was a major influence on movies such as The Matrix –even though most of them miss the point as concerns Capitalism. And Baudrillard did have a Marxist cynicism when it came to Capitalism. He just (a lot like Zizek (felt like we were resisting it in ways that only contributed to the Capitalist cause.

“So, while Baudrllard is a fierce enemy of Deleuze, Rorty is not very Deleuzian.”

Yes! There is a clear difference between Rorty and Deleuze. And as you suggest, that difference of sensibility was not nearly as hostile as it was between Baudrillard and Deleuze. Rorty, as far as I know, mainly expressed that difference through indifference. I’m really not sure if he ever acknowledged or even knew of Deleuze’s existence. And all I have seen from Deleuze on Rorty was a funny little aside referring to bourgeoisie nature of Rorty’s style (that which Rorty himself jokingly referred to in interviews (in What is Philosophy: dinner and conversation at the Rorty’s.  

And we have to consider here that most of Deleuze’s works were starting to get translated in the 90’s while Rorty’s salad days were in the 80’s. And Deleuze died around 95. Had the timelines been different, there is every possibility that the two might have developed a better appreciation of what the other was doing.

Where I see the overlap is in their common desire to facilitate (via creativity (our evolution as a species and their recognition of the kind of blockages that come from traditional and neo-classicist dogma’s concerning what constitutes a legitimate assertion. And it would be a lot easier for me if I could distinguish the style of Rorty and Deleuze by noting Rorty’s emphasis on discourse (a social thing (as compared to Deleuze’s emphasis on the individual process. But I would argue that Deleuze (while earlier emphasizing personal evolution in such books as Difference and Repetition (w/ the influence of Guattarri (was approaching Rorty’s appreciation of discourse in The Anti-Oedipus and all its talk about things like machines and social production.

Maybe it’s just me. But I’m finding it real easy to consolidate the two.
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PostSubject: Re: Study: Pragmatism   Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:59 pm

This will be my next letter for Philosophy Now and I’m hoping to get some input before I start working on it my next workweek:

But I’m starting to note an aspect of the neo-classicist approach that turns on itself. And while it may not be a paradox, it may be every bit as detrimental to it as the skeptic’s paradox thrown at non-classicist positions -pragmatism, Post modern and structuralist approaches like that of Deleuze’s –or, at least, to the extent that the neo-classicists seem to think they are undermining the non-classicists with it.

It comes down to a conflict between neo classicism’s agenda’s of finding some kind of absolute truth about the nature of reality while seeking an objective basis for ethical claims. On the ethical side, it attempts to undermine the non-classicist/anti-platonic with the sweeping generalization of relativism and an application of the skeptic’s paradox (that which I hope I have undermined in previous posts (by arguing that the progressive position cannot be supported by a sensibility that sees no solid foundation for any ethical or moral assertion they might make. According to them, their way must be better since they are in a position to establish a solid and objective foundation to their moral and ethical assertions in such a way that no one can deny them. They see their way as the only real way, the only real solution to all the problems in the world. As long as there are those nasty relativists in the world (those nihilists (we cannot possibly hope for people to behave as they should.

The problem is that the neo-classist ethicist is inherently, in its claims to an objective criterion of the ethical and moral, beholden to the scientific method which, via neuroscience, is showing that our actual participation in our choices are, at best, minimal. Beyond that, all they really have is a Kantian de-ontic appeal to duty which is an assumption that clearly floats on thin air: that which the nihilistic perspective thrives on. In other words, they’re making their ethical claims as if they were scientific assertions. At the same time, they’re arguing that their way is the only way we can counter bad behavior based on a scientific method (objectivity (that shows that no matter what objective basis they might actually find, no one is somehow certain to follow their principles just because they know of them. This would require that the neo-classicist ethicist accept the old ghost in the machine which is about as counter to their scientific peers as could be. And they can’t just pick and choose since the so-called objective world they are claiming to exist can only be of one nature that all of them (at least the neo-classicists (must share.

At the same time, those on the scientific side of the neo-classicist equation are equally beholden to their ethical/moral peers since they are arguing as if our duty to the scientific method and objectivity is a moral and ethical one. Why else would they put so much effort into dismissing thinkers like Rorty or Derrida? That is rather than take a live and let live position?

To sum it up: you have to ask what is it that would be changed if we arbitrarily (and it would be arbitrary (accepted the neo-classicist position and it’s claims to objectivity and the authority of the scientific method; you have to ask if the so-called objective argument for an ethical claim would be so powerful and undeniable that it would over-ride the wiring that neuroscience describes. You have to ask what it is they expect to gain by winning the debate and the fascism of somehow undermining all other approaches to understanding.
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PostSubject: Re: Study: Pragmatism   Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:07 pm

Some responses to yesterday’s rhizome:

"...the wiring that neuroscience describes." What specifically does that wiring look like according to neuroscience?” Steven Orslini: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1385673718356968/1592563821001289/?notif_t=group_comment

“The wiring huh? okay. well wiring isn't psychological destiny….

Well neurons get built by the genes(or by proteins that are taking direction of genes) that proscribe much of that, and much of epigenetic forces that do much else, and the rest is set up by experience. I don't know what over-ride here means?” –Anthonia Garcia: Ibid

And from Yanis Brikis on the Deleuze board (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2232336063/10153238610771064/?comment_id=10153240154921064&notif_t=group_comment:

“Different structures that are related and create difference, difference is the nature, ethics of difference is the absolute ethics.”

First of all, I can’t help but interpret Yanis’ as an appeal to the multiculturalism that many thinkers derived from Deleuze. But I’m not sure Deleuze would be comfortable with being adopted for the sake of any “absolute ethics”.

As concerns the former points, I would secondly point out that in no way was I endorsing a purely materialist view. I was pointing to the contradiction within the neo-classicist sensibility of, on one hand, arguing for a strict objective criteria for ethics while being beholden to the scientific method that increasingly shows, via neuroscience, that our choices are not as much our own as we would like to think. I was describing their take on the possibility of participation. Not mine.

That said, I did a lot of struggling over that rhizome last night at work. It felt like a lot of gerrymandering and I was seeing a lot of holes that the neo-classicists could easily insert their gotcha moments into. I especially felt it in my attempt to connect the scientistic side of it back with the ethical:

“At the same time, those on the scientific side of the neo-classicist equation are equally beholden to their ethical/moral peers since they are arguing as if our duty to the scientific method and objectivity is a moral and ethical one. Why else would they put so much effort into dismissing thinkers like Rorty or Derrida? That is rather than take a live and let live position?”

It just felt like gerrymandering. So let me first say that I may have spoken a little too soon when I said this was my next letter to Philosophy Now (I put my week of just writing off (and take another stab at it:

First we have to ask what it is that the neo-classicist expects to happen if they win the war they seem to be in with non-classicist approaches which they categorize with the sweeping generalization of relativism. What will it actually change if the neo-classicist establishes an objective criteria for ethical and moral assertions? That is when we really don’t need a solid foundation or objective argument to know, for instance, that murder or theft or rape is wrong? Why can’t we just feel it? Their argument, of course, is that the non-classicist position is a moral failure in that it lacks the solid foundation to counter the beliefs of murderers, thieves, or rapists.

Enter the scientific side of the neo-classicist sensibility that, via neuroscience, cannot accept the Cartesian Ghost in the Machine that the neo-classicist ethicist builds its argument on: these objective moral assertions that we must choose (as perfectly free beings (in order to save the world. I mean how do you make such an argument when you are ideologically obligated to accept the possibility that we aren’t actually (and from an “objective” perspective (making choices. How do the neo-classicist ethicists assume that if they win, the murderers, thieves, and rapists will just change their minds when the scientific neo-classicist shows that such behaviors are basically wired into us?

I know I’m fumbling around here guys. But I can’t help but feel I’m working towards a contradiction that I can drive, like a stake, into the heart of neo-classicism and its intellectual arrogance, like that of Steven Pinker’s –as much as I admire the man.
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PostSubject: Re: Study: Pragmatism   Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:16 pm

"Also: isn’t the idea of performance rooted in Ayers who recognized that language never actually gets outside of its performative function? I think Rorty was heavily influenced by that given his faith in discourse –what you refer to as performance and Wittgenstein as language games." -me:http://forum.philosophynow.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=15253


"I must confess I am not that acquainted with Ayer's work but from the limited range of contact I had I did not find the performative there. In fact I think he represents the exact opposite perspective on language (but I might be wrong). As to Wittgenstein I think he is a big influence and he does call our attention to some performative aspects of language but I wouldn't go as far as to say that all there is not the performative is language-games or the other way around. I think the obvious source of the performative is Austin's theory. There I think we have a serious challenge of the purely descriptive aspect of language and the argument that we actually "do things with words"." -Yoni: Ibid....


Actually, Yoni, mine was a throwaway sentence that sometimes occur in the on the fly manner in which we work on the boards. I would put my money on Austin. But I'm not altogether sure we can separate the performative aspect of language from the language game. But I'll have to think about that and reserve it for another rhizome.


“I like to talk of a more aesthetic use of language. Language as fiction, as an attempt to create a narrative and therefore as a performance of a profession. Every use of language is an "as if..." but not in a sense of being untrue, rather in the sense of being a an action in the world so as to not have any truth value (or at least this value not playing a central role). So Rorty's question of pragmatic interpretation is relevant but it does not cope with what I am trying to argue about language.”

Actually, you’re talking to someone who started out as a musician then moved on through poetry, fiction, and art to my present fixation on philosophy. In fact, my first encounter with philosophy was Will Durrant’s The Story of Philosophy which I picked up in a second hand store in order see how Aristotle’s Categorical Imperative would affect my music –which goes to show how much I knew about it back then. At that time, I thought it my manifest destiny to be a rock star. And I’m not sure I ever got over that. Like everything else I have gotten in to, I have pretty much approached philosophy with the purpose of making it rock and roll. So your point concerning performance and Derrida has always been waiting for me to arrive. Which brings me to zero in on a particular point:

“Language as fiction, as an attempt to create a narrative and therefore as a performance of a profession.”

Until I caught this, I had thought that the difference between my sense of performance and yours was that you (via Derrida (had generalized it into discourse in general. And that makes perfect sense to me given that discourse is ultimately a creative act. One person strings a sentence together based on previous sentences they have strung together. Then the other responds with a sentence built off of other sentences they have previously strung together. The above sentence, however, makes it seem like it is strictly a matter of how we talk about philosophy or any other discipline, like it’s strictly a matter of nomenclature or technical jargon.

?

That said, I had previously arrived at a conclusion or conceptional construction that might roughly correlate to yours. When it comes to writing, there are two pole in a spectrum of approaches: the functional (roughly correlating to Austin’s performative function you attribute to Derrida (and the aesthetic (roughly correlating to the performance aspect of your point. The functional is that which merely attempts to get a point across and can be as simple as a grocery list. The aesthetic is that which attempts to resonate and seduce as well as impress. And when it comes to writing, the functional is that which me must turn to when we’re working on-the-fly until the momentum of it pushes us into the aesthetic. The two are intimately entwined and I’m not sure that either can exist in any pure state anymore than craft and art can.

Once again: it’s like your article and Derrida was waiting for me to arrive. But then I’m always several steps behind the wave in front of me.

Where your article took me a step further was in the imperative presented by the double meaning of Performance in Derrida: performance itself and the performative function. What I saw was a sturdy response to a common neo-classicist dismissal (as well as a lot of other continental approaches which they group together in the erroneous category of relativism –that is along with Rorty and Pragmatism: this fantasy they seem to entertain that anyone who follows Derrida’s lead is just sitting around and reading texts only to come up with any interpretation that suits their fancy. As I understand it, Derrida encourages us to analyze text which is a lot different than just reading them. The idea, as you describe, is to follow the aesthetic through, respond as you will, then play that response against the reality of Derrida’s text. As you point out, Derrida is not just being pretty for the sake of being pretty, he is doing it to mean something. I would suggest that we have to approach it a little like the last lines of Donald Finkle’s poem Hands:

Lean back and let its [the poem] hands play freely on you:
there comes a moment, lifted and aroused,
when the two of you are equally beautiful.
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PostSubject: Re: Study: Pragmatism   Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:19 pm

"I like your question about "work" because I feel it is deeply connected to to point I am trying to make. You are right, for me the performative is part of something much bigger. It is impossible to talk about profession and knowledge production without transiting into this central topic. So the question of what works is central here and Derrida is aware of this, when he talks about the "University without condition" he is talking about the university that is free of capitalism at the same time that it has no condition of ever existing in our current social structure. In a sense what I trying to say is that I disagree with you when you say that capitalism is not "working". In fact it is working perfectly because that is how it works, there is no capitalism that is not the 1% over the 99%. I believe that is precisely the problem in front of us, how to break with what works in the name of that which lacks any conditions of existing. In simple words, how can we perform the impossible and still get away with it? That is, to think that which is absurd in our current division of the world and therefore unpragmatic/unreal. So to some extent the criticism towards Derrida you mentioned does make sense, he is talking about something unreal but exactly for that reason we should listen to him. He is proposing that knowledge function differently. The question for me is not pragmatically coping with the situation but breaking it. Your proposal of an infinite discourse creating evolution is not enough for me because it would be just the infinite return of the same discourse, the same order appearing in different angles (Derrida's iterability in a sense). To perform must be to propose something different. It must demands a new reality "as if" it was possible/real (I believe current philosophers such as Ranciere and Nancy formulate this question).


I would like to add that function and aesthetics are not separate (I know you never said they were but I just want to reinforce a point). The function of something is its aesthetic function. Aesthetic in the sense of being the organization of the sensible, the determination of the visible at the same time as the meaning associated to it. To talk about aesthetics is to talk about the functional organization of knowledge/power." Yonathon Listik (A.K.A Yoni: http://forum.philosophynow.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=15253


Once again, I apologize for posting what you already know -that is since you wrote it. But as I said before, as I am writing this, I am always prepping it for cross-polination. Plus that, I think some of my other jam-mates might be interested in what you have to say. It's certainly interesting to me. That said:


"So the question of what works is central here and Derrida is aware of this, when he talks about the "University without condition" he is talking about the university that is free of capitalism at the same time that it has no condition of ever existing in our current social structure. In a sense what I am trying to say is that I disagree with you when you say that capitalism is not "working". In fact it is working perfectly because that is how it works, there is no capitalism that is not the 1% over the 99%. I believe that is precisely the problem in front of us, how to break with what works in the name of that which lacks any conditions of existing. In simple words, how can we perform the impossible and still get away with it? That is, to think that which is absurd in our current division of the world and therefore unpragmatic/unreal."


First of all, I am perfectly in sympathy with the political aspect implied in the first part. The increasing influence of corporate financing in universities that corresponds with decreasing state financing is clearly a concern: that which is the reason for Marx’s exile out of the economic departments into the Humanities and the dominance of analytic approaches (that in which clear expression is assumed to be a sign of clear thought (in philosophy departments. And outside of the fact (and may the wrath of Strunk rest in its grave (that universities were created to be a bastion of democratic enlightenment, while that may seem a superficial issue, in terms of what we’re getting at here, it still seems like a worthy segway when you consider that what seems to dominate a lot of the training (especially when you look at its products like Searle, Dennett, and Pinker (is the idea of being able to sell books. You suggest (at least to me (this concern in:

“I believe that is precisely the problem in front of us, how to break with what works in the name of that which lacks any conditions of existing. In simple words, how can we perform the impossible and still get away with it? That is, to think that which is absurd in our current division of the world and therefore unpragmatic/unreal. So to some extent the criticism towards Derrida you mentioned does make sense, he is talking about something unreal but exactly for that reason we should listen to him. He is proposing that knowledge function differently.”

If I am anywhere in the ballpark with you, I see a loose connection to a point made by Layotard in the Appendix to The Postmodern Connection in which he points to the terroristic aspect of the accessible and easily communicable and offers, as an antidote, the Avant Garde. This resonates with and seduces me in that I see the fascistic pockets that are emerging everywhere in America (that is thanks to producer/consumer Capitalism and the adolescent phallogocentrism that drives it (and propping themselves up through the accessible and easily communicable. To give you an example, I once watched a debate on C-Span between Cal Thomas (a hardcore conservative (and Lewis Lapham (the progressive editor of The Harper’s Review. Cal Thomas went through this smooth exposition that ended with that smack of the lips I too often sense in conservative editorials as if to say: that’s just the way it is. Lewis Lapham, on the other hand, kind of fumbled around and struggled to make his point which, of course, did not come off as nearly as impressive (in the sense of common doxa (as Thomas did –even though Lewis has shown himself to be highly intelligent in his writings.

Now the lean towards the accessible and the easily communicable would see this as a victory for Thomas. But all it really reflected was the stunted intellectual process of Thomas and the endless process of self deconstruction (the this, but that (that Lapham (as a true progressive (worked from. Thomas worked from the finite position of common Capitalist doxa. Lapham, on the other hand, was struggling to define the infinite much as I believe Derrida and Deleuze (and to a limited extent: Rorty and Pragmatism (was .

Anyway, like Lapham, I am always dealing with an infinite network of connections that come up with your points. It’s a little like an expanding universe with various big bangs creating their own expanding universes. It’s just too much to capture in any one sitting. Got to rest my head before I go on. And I didn’t even get to the points I started out with!!!!!
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