• Maw
    5
    I've been on a cinema binge since the beginning of the pandemic so might I recommend Mulholland Drive
  • Joshs
    21
    If some of our great minds, who are sympathetic to the French writers, don't get it right, what chance for the rest of us? You can see how people come to a view that this is an exclusive cultural activity for those in academe whose business it often is to pars the ostensibly inscrutable and talk to each other about it.Tom Storm

    No one should worry about getting a philosopher right. A great philosopher is able to reach a wide variety of readers on many different levels. One’s goal should be to learn from a philosopher something that shows the world in a new light.
  • Joshs
    21
    I put most effort in trying to understand Deleuze.Manuel

    If you were to ask me what Derrida books to read to get the most consistent and clear sense of what he is trying to tell us , I would immediately answer , skip the formal works and go for the interviews( Points, Positions , Limited, Inc, Arguing with Derrida) . Here he was forced to do what he hated most, to summarize in a succinct sentence or two his major themes. With Deleuze I’d be hard pressed to come up with anything similar. I’d be inclined to suggest the early books without Guattari (there’s no way two abstract thinkers were on exactly the same page in their thinking. I’m convinced their collaborations are deliberately designed to give us a collage of two minds that frequently strains against itself).
  • Manuel
    7


    That's the way it should be with any author. Just like you did, offer some way into someone's thought and proceed.

    But I have to say, I'm just not inclined to like Derrida. I don't like his followers, I've read a few of his essays and I didn't think them to be particularly interesting. Just like some people dislike or don't think much of Hegel, Heidegger or anyone else.

    It's just not the type of philosophy I'm attracted to. But thanks for the pointers.
  • Tom Storm
    10
    No one should worry about getting a philosopher right. A great philosopher is able to reach a wide variety of readers on many different levels.Joshs

    There's different levels and then there's wrong? No? If we say Derrida says nothing is true and nothing matters, do we not challenge and to some extent scorn that reading?

    Or do you think the point is found in having the contretemps?

    If you were to ask me what Derrida books to read to get the most consistent and clear sense of what he is trying to tell us , I would immediately answer , skip the formal works and go for the interviews( Points, Positions , Limited, Inc, Arguing with Derrida) . Here he was forced to do what he hated most, to summarize in a succinct sentence or two his major themes.Joshs

    That was certainly my experience. It was kind of a relief actually.
  • Olivier5
    9
    I am saying that Foucault didnt understand Derrida based on my own reading of both Foucault and Derrida.Joshs

    I never read Derrida so I cannot really comment. Just wanted to point out that Pomo should not be taken a coherent doctrine or school of thought, as evidenced by this opposition between him and Foucault.

    Would you have an example of a specific point that Derrida made and Foucault misunderstood?

    Also, would you mind pointing me to a Derrida text that you find clear and insightful?
  • Kenosha Kid
    18
    He goes on to say that science is "imperialistic".Manuel

    He says similar of all grand narratives, that they're "terrorising" and "totalitarian", "silencing" other discourses.

    My view on this, and Lyotard did later recant some of the stuff on science, is that his error was mistaking the scientific method for a narrative when it's an algorithm. The real narrative in question is a narrative _about_ the scientific method which was a fertile area of study (Kuhn before, Latour after).

    My personal belief is that we should take a bit more care not to deceive others and ourselves when it comes to communicating science to the outside world. Scientists tend to confuse models with reality, which amounts to perpetuating the myth that science is basically divine revelation, some set of incantations that opens a portal through the walls of our subjectivity that gives us direct access to nude reality itself. We're smart people, we don't believe this, but others do.

    Feynman was a great layperson's pedagogue: no bullshit in his books. He's a good model for how other scientists should talk about their work and science in general.
  • Kenosha Kid
    18
    I'm no scientistic person by any means, but if I were to start saying something like masculine power can be seen to be manifested in general relativity, I would be ridiculed, rightly so.Manuel

    Would you say that, at the time, masculine bias was manifest in medicinal science?
  • 180 Proof
    41
    My personal belief is that we should take a bit more care not to deceive others and ourselves when it comes to communicating science to the outside world. Scientists tend to confuse models with reality, which amounts to perpetuating the myth that science is basically divine revelation, some set of incantations that opens a portal through the walls of our subjectivity that gives us direct access to nude reality itself. We're smart people, we don't believe this, but others do.

    Feynman was a great layperson's pedagogue: no bullshit in his books. He's a good model for how other scientists should talk about their work and science in general.
    Kenosha Kid
    :clap: :100:
  • Kenosha Kid
    18
    I've been on a cinema binge since the beginning of the pandemic so might I recommend Mulholland DriveMaw

    I've recently rewatched Inland Empire for the first time since it came out and was inspired to write a draft thread about it. Lynch is amazing!

    There's different levels and then there's wrong? No? If we say Derrida says nothing is true and nothing matters, do we not challenge and to some extent scorn that reading?Tom Storm

    Does Derrida say nothing is true? There is a difference between something being true and us knowing it or, if we know it, knowing that it's true. Let's say some philosophical theory happens to be true... How would we know? As per Wittgenstein, the theory cannot legitimise itself, nor can a theory outside of that theory legitimise it.

    For example, we believe (rightly imo) that a scientific theory is legitimised by empiricism, but what legitimises empiricism? Somewhere along the line, you hit an overt or covert preference for one thing over another and find that, if you prefer the other instead, you get a different narrative. This doesn't mean that the other is better or that the first is necessarily untrue. If you compare a scientific review of climate change to a Trump rant about climate change, one does come off better than the other. But you can't elevate the former to the status of truth that way either, otherwise you're doing this:

    Scientists tend to confuse models with reality, which amounts to perpetuating the myth that science is basically divine revelation, some set of incantations that opens a portal through the walls of our subjectivity that gives us direct access to nude reality itself.Kenosha Kid

    Every theory basks in the glow of truth only until it's successor arrives.
  • Olivier5
    9
    Sokal got his paper rejected from several journals before finding one stupid enough to publish it.Kenosha Kid
    Do you have evidence of that?

    I don't think it says much of anything at all other than Sokal was an arsehole with a conservative axe to grind and Social Text had trouble unpacking his paper and ill-advisedly published it anyway.
    Sokal is a leftist, and he's not an arsehole.

    Such hoaxes are useful, if only to put reviewers and publishers on notice that they'd better work diligently.

    A list of academic hoaxes:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scholarly_publishing_stings
  • Tom Storm
    10
    For example, we believe (rightly imo) that a scientific theory is legitimised by empiricism, but what legitimises empiricism? Somewhere along the line, you hit an overt or covert preference for one thing over another and find that, if you prefer the other instead, you get a different narrative. This doesn't mean that the other is better or that the first is necessarily untrue. If you compare a scientific review of climate change to a Trump rant about climate change, one does come off better than the other. But you can't elevate the former to the status of truth that way either, otherwise you're doing this:Kenosha Kid

    I agree but I was just quoting what some might say about Derrida. I personally have no position on Derrida.

    Epistemology is tricky. This would matter more to you than to me since I am not a scientist or a theorist. I really don't need much more than experience or judgement to get by in my world. You need a lot more. I'm also not in the search for truth business either; what brought me here is to understand what others think and why. It's been very interesting.

    I take it for granted that we all hold presuppositions that undergird our belief systems and personal epistemes. Justifying these presuppositions is tricky and in some cases impossible. If God had meant us to apply philosophy to all things he would have made us clever.
  • Kenosha Kid
    18
    Such hoaxes are useful, if only to put reviewers and publishers on notice that they'd better work diligently.Olivier5

    I can agree with that: it's like a security or penetration test, it's better to not have the shortcomings but second best is to at least be aware of them.

    However:

    a) This is not what Sokal was doing. He wasn't providing a useful service to Social Text or academic publication in general. His hoax was a bludgeon to attack a very particular kind of target, one that he felt threatened the status of science. In that regard, yes, he was an arsehole with a conservative axe to grind.

    b) We can't be hypocrites about this. We can't support Sokal's effort to discredit a particular journal on the one hand and then, when the same happens to science journals, go 'Well that just shows how useful hoaxes are' and let science off the hook. What's bad for the goose is bad for the gander.

    Do you have evidence of that?Olivier5

    I think I misremembered, apologies. It was Social Text that rejected the paper several times, not different journals. They didn't think it was philosophically very strong.
  • Olivier5
    9
    I'm not against Pomo as a whole, just curious about what constitute quality standards in a Pomo framework. I'd be at a total loss if I was asked to peer review something as freewheeling as what passes for good 'queer studies' or what not. Maybe you know by what standards Pomo texts are assessed?
  • Kenosha Kid
    18
    Social Text was non-peer-reviewed. I don't know which journals are and aren't peer-reviewed. Any reputable science journal is but I'm not sure whether it's better that nonsense papers get through peer-reviewed scientific journals or non-peer-reviewed humanities ones. Either way, it doesn't seem a very strong basis to attack a particular field. The end result is, irrespective of the platform, Sokal authored a nonsense paper, which is what he's remembered for. And rightly so.
  • Kenosha Kid
    18


    P S. I feel that, because the Sokal affair inevitably comes up, too much time is probably spent by me defending postmodernism from hypocritical ad hominem, when I have much stronger allegiances to science than to postmodernism. Truth is, there are also bad anti-scientific postmodernists and protopomos, such as Feyerabend and his ilk. Bruno Latour ended up pointing some really useful things out, things that are taught at least in my old physics department, but he mostly talked crap and was a hypocrite.

    I think a lot of dubious people of little worth flocked to postmodernism, but I guess that's what postmodernism is about: if you want diverse discourse, you're going to get dipshits. Question is whether the freedom to be utterly wrong is a reasonable price to avoid things like medicine for women falling well behind that for men, or getting stuck in an orthodox rut.

    In another, less popular recent thread of mine, I suggested that memetic inbreeding -- echo chambers -- are actually a really good way of rapidly generating new thought, so long as the emerging ideas are allowed to grow up and defend themselves in the big wide world.

    After the Sokal affair, Sokal himself was a regular contributor to efforts to bring humanities and science together. Latour changed his position on science and latterly dedicated himself to awareness-raising. By the above criteria, I'd say we came out okay.
  • StreetlightX
    58
    Social Text was non-peer-reviewedKenosha Kid

    Literally the only thing worth mentioning about the whole "affair", before moving on to discuss literally anything else. Or to quote Adam Kotsko:

    "It was a total set-up — he proved what he wanted to prove because he totally set up the conditions so that only one answer was possible. A charitable reading of the situation from the journal’s perspective is that they ran the article because they were hungry for dialogue with scientists and were thrilled that Sokal was engaging in it. He lied to them, abused their trust, and then publicly mocked them — and somehow he’s a hero. It’s utter idiocy. And the fact of having been misused in a purposefully nonsensical article has no possible bearing on the value of the “postmodern theory” he pastiched."
  • Olivier5
    9
    The end result is, irrespective of the platform, Sokal authored a nonsense paper, which is what he's remembered for. And rightly so.Kenosha Kid

    Still, the question remains: what passes for nonsense and what doesn't, in a Pomo frame?
  • Manuel
    7


    Well put. Sagan was also quite good. Dawkins, on the other hand, goes a bit overboard when he speaks of science.



    Absolutely. There's no problem at all with saying this. But it's easy to state, one doesn't need to say strange things to get the point across.
  • Kenosha Kid
    18
    Still, the question remains: what passes for nonsense and what doesn't, in a Pomo frame?Olivier5

    Are you asking my opinion or the criteria of journals? Because as I said there's no reason I'd have in-depth knowledge of the latter.
  • Olivier5
    9
    I am asking for your opinion on the matter. Or anybody else's for that matter.

    Can a distinction be made between nonsense and sense in a postmodernist framework? Because it's not clear to me that there can be such a thing.
  • Joshs
    21
    I'm just not inclined to like Derrida. I don't like his followers, I've read a few of his essays and I didn't think them to be particularly interesting. Just like some people dislike or don't think much of Hegel, Heidegger or anyone else.

    It's just not the type of philosophy I'm attracted to. But thanks for the pointers.
    Manuel

    I want to point out that philosophical work is both utterly particular , in its style and language , and an exemplar of a broader approach to thinking. I see Derrida’s thought as closely ties to Heidegger. If you enjoy Heidegger I’d say you are already in touch with much that is central to Derrida. I could widen that scope a bit to include current thinkers associated with the cognitive sciences who have attempted to naturalize Heidegger and Husserl( Gallagher, Varela, Thompson, Fuchs, Slaby, Ratcliffe). If you like their work, you have moved some distance towards Derrida.
  • Manuel
    7


    I used to like Heidegger more than I do so now, though I still find parts of him interesting.

    Husserl I like a bit more, though I personally am learning from Dan Zahavi how to approach him. If you have more suggestions for Husserl, I'll happily look. But not Derrida.

    I'm not a believer in the whole "naturalization" business, I think it can be misleading. I tend to follow the rationalist/innatist/nativist camp of Chomsky and McGinn.
  • Joshs
    21
    There's different levels and then there's wrong? No? If we say Derrida says nothing is true and nothing matters, do we not challenge and to some extent scorn that reading?Tom Storm

    Sorry to trot this out again if you’ve already read it, but I think it demonstrates the difficulty of attempting to distill deconstruction down to ‘ nothing is true’. it neither can we err in the opposite direction and interpret the comments below to mean that truth transcends local normative contexts.

    “ For of course there is a "right track" [une 'bonne voie "] , a better way, and let it be said in passing how surprised I have often been, how amused or discouraged, depending on my humor, by the use or abuse of the following argument: Since the deconstructionist (which is to say, isn't it, the skeptic-relativist-nihilist!) is supposed not to believe in truth, stability, or the unity of meaning, in intention or "meaning-to-say, " how can he demand of us that we read him with pertinence, preciSion, rigor? How can he demand that his own text be interpreted correctly? How can he accuse anyone else of having misunderstood, simplified, deformed it, etc.? In other words, how can he discuss, and discuss the reading of what he writes? The answer is simple enough: this definition of the deconstructionist is false (that's right: false, not true) and feeble; it supposes a bad (that's right: bad, not good) and feeble reading of numerous texts, first of all mine, which therefore must finally be read or reread.

    Then perhaps it will be understood that the value of truth (and all those values associated with it) is never contested or destroyed in my writings, but only reinscribed in more powerful, larger, more stratified contexts. And that within interpretive contexts (that is, within relations of force that are always differential-for example, socio-political-institutional-but even beyond these determinations) that are relatively stable, sometimes apparently almost unshakeable, it should be possible to invoke rules of competence, criteria of discussion and of consensus, good faith, lucidity, rigor, criticism, and pedagogy.”

    Derrida, Limited, inc.
  • 180 Proof
    41
    Can a distinction be made between nonsense and sense in a postmodernist framework? Because it's not clear to me that there can be such a thing.Olivier5
    This seems to have always been p0m0's raison d'etre to occult, or obfuscate (i.e. "defer"), any distinctions, most explicitly between nonsense and sense. Distinctions as such are imposed, so the meta-subtext goes, by the self-serving biases (bigotry, domination) of 'the author' – system-embedded 'subject' (regime) – and therefore can be 'deconstructed' (subverted? transgressed?) ... with Dada-like, obscurant gibberish?! :sweat:
  • Joshs
    21


    st wanted to point out that Pomo should not be taken a coherent doctrine or school of thought, as evidenced by this opposition between him and Foucault.Olivier5


    I can’t speak to pomo culture, but pomo philosophy, or more specifically poststructuralist philosophy is a range of ideas united by a common overarching set of themes. You make it sound as though Derrida and Foucault’s ideas are utterly incompatible, which just isnt the case. Derrida often pointed out commalities between his work and those he deconstructed. For instance, in this comment Derrida both knowledges a shared focus on force in general and and a specific difference in articulation this concept.

    2. The words "force" and "power" also pose, as you can well imagine, enormous problems. I never resort to these words without a sense of uneasiness, even if I believe myself obligated to use them in order to designate something irreducible. What worries me is that in them which resembles an obscure substance that could, in a discourse, give rise to a zone of obscurantism and of dogmatism. Even if, as Foucault seems to suggest, one no longer speaks of Power with a capital P, but of a scattered multiplicity of micro­powers, the question remains of knowing what the unity of signification is that
    still permits us to call these decentralized and heterogeneous microphenomena
    "powers. " For my part, without being able to go much further here, I do not believe that one should agree to speak of "force" or of "power" except under
    three conditions, at least.”

    Would you have an example of a specific point that Derrida made and Foucault misunderstood?

    Also, would you mind pointing me to a Derrida text that you find clear and insightful?
    Olivier5

    Here’s what I suggested to Manuel:


    If you were to ask me what Derrida books to read to get the most consistent and clear sense of what he is trying to tell us , I would immediately answer , skip the formal works and go for the interviews( Points, Positions , Limited, Inc, Arguing with Derrida) . Here he was forced to do what he hated most, to summarize in a succinct sentence or two his major themes.
  • StreetlightX
    58
    Man those who whine about 'postmodern obscurantism' at this point are just telling on themselves. Like, there is so much amazing literature and helpful guides and resources to this stuff that if you still can't figure it out in 2021, the common denominator is you. Not even a debate, just a straight confession.
  • 180 Proof
    41
    Yeah, well, I gave up on that 'fashionable nonsense' more than three decades ago on my first pass through many of primary sources and even a few lectures by the likes of Derrida and Rorty and who the fuck else remembers now. Back then, p0m0 novels got my attention, but the only thing worse than the philosophers were the derivative, secondary, introductions and academic clarifiers who made p0m0 texts even more obscure. Maybe you're right about the resources available today, SLX, but the fact that so much additional 'infrastructure' is needed to excavate the few scattered diamond-splinters from mountains of frenchified turds indicates that one's time will be better spent shoveling up the muck prospecting for precious gems in the other "movements" "schools" "traditions" of philosophy & critical theory.
  • Manuel
    7


    :100:

    That's been exactly my experience too. Again, exceptions, Foucault and the edge case of Deleuze.

    The novelists, on the other hand, I think were (and are) quite good. That's a matter of taste.
  • Kenosha Kid
    18
    :up:

    I am asking for your opinion on the matter. Or anybody else for that matter.

    Can a distinction be made between nonsense and sense in a postmodernist framework?
    Olivier5

    Then yes, in my opinion. I haven't read much in the way of pomo journals, and probably a weirdly high proportion of that is social psychology which really is rubbish (but click-bait in a Guardian sort of way). Other than that, the odd article about science (natch) and literature or cinema. Nothing too pseuds-corner compared to your common or garden English literature thesis. (For some reason, I had a string of English lit student girlfriends and always ended up reading their theses.)
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