Page 3 of 3

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:39 pm
by Meno_
Thanks for that d63. I am particularly interested in the concept of embededness, not to be confused with embodiment.

This concept, although seems relatively harmless, declawed as it were, by such as the search for a kind of twilight sleep in philosophy, a sleep akin to the 'relative objectivity' of the required aesthetic distance in art appreciation, is not available to mainstreamers such as Friedman, et al.

However that said, such a stance if taken at face value, would seem to tilt the table toward an abstract representation, or the search for, more in tune with
the Continentals, rather than an anti-fundamentalist like Rorty. So you seem as irreducible as I think you are, and on this level, there appear no inroads to any grey areas.

Not withstanding, I am looking forward to any correspondence toward what appears some sort of normative solution, again only prima facie, and the shift enough to cause mutual misunderstanding and even conflict.

The particular players in today's political arena perhaps, are overlooking subtleties of the kind, where one little oversight can cause large effected and even unintended consequences.

Again, I suggest a format of communication where stuff be left out or included, which in the opinion of the correspondent is insignificant, or relevant, respectively.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:08 pm
by d63
A pleasure jamming with you Jerkey. I'm sorry if I seem neglectful. My limited window tends to be hijacked by my discourses on Facebook as you will see in the next post. I really do hope to go deeper into our discourse here. But your responses tend to be more of an exception (in that I never expect anyone on here to engage with me (than the rule. I will try to fit this in.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:30 pm
by d63
"Earlier I said that theorists like Heidegger saw narrative as always a second best, a propaedeutic to a grasp of something deeper than the visible detail. Novelists like Orwell and Dickens are inclined to see theory as always second-best, never more than a reminder for a particular purpose, the purpose of telling a story better. I suggest that the history of social change in the modern West shows that the latter conception of the relation between narrative and theory is the more fruitful.

"To say that it is more fruitful is to say that, when you weigh the good and the bad the social novelists have done against the good and bad the social theorists have done, you find yourself wishing that there had been more novels and fewer theories. You wish that the leaders of successful revolutions had read fewer books which gave them general ideas and more books which gave them an ability to identify imaginatively with those whom they were to rule." -from Rorty's Essay's on Heidegger and Others

“When you say theory, you mean a totalizing political system which is then implemented. What alternatives to some organizing principle, or theoretical framework are there as an antidote? It seems we are forced to choose one theory or another.” –Chris

“Not necessarily political, Chris. But it is in the political that theory becomes problematic -that is, as I am trying point out, in giving itself privilege over concrete answers to concrete problems. The very paradox you present seems to me to be what the the pragmatic approach is attempting to overcome.” -Me

” I see all theory as political in the final analysis! Also I think, without owning up to the inescapable necessity of ideology we induce the worst form of theory, the 'given' - or as you've put it, the concrete answer. Very non-pragmatic as this presupposes some real, solid politically disinterested neutral foundation that appears to do away with theory and lets in the common sense brigade - BUT it's just another theory!” –Chris again

With all due respect Chris (you have made some insightful and challenging points (I would argue that you are neglecting the recognition that ideologies do nothing while people, on the other hand, do everything. Ideologies (as are often expressed through theories (tend to be expressions of our basic impulses and desires and therefore tend to follow human praxis. For instance, neither Communism nor Marx exterminated 6 million plus people; Stalin (a paranoid narcissist with a Christ complex (remind you of anyone? (did.

And I would point out, as Rorty did in the book I am quoting, that under Stalin’s regime there was always someone (a kind ascetic priest (appointed to interpret Marxist theory in the “correct way”. And that person was always the second most feared person in the Stalinist regime and may be the foundation of a phenomenon that Zizek correctly noted: that Hitler’s regime was relatively rational in that, unless you were a Jew or rocked the boat, you were reasonably safe, while under Stalin’s regime there was no way of knowing, regardless of what you did, if the men in dark suits might come knocking at your door.

This is not to say that theory is evil, but rather that it is a mixed package much as the pragmatic approach is. As you impressively point out:

“But the breakdown in social systems that have a classical polis, ie a control and command centre, networks, common legal overview etc, has given rise to de-centred neo-liberal capitalism which thrives on a certain anarchy that allows money to free flow according to market forces with no "god' to adjudicate - or collect the taxes.”

I would compliment your point with mine concerning the sociopathic response to the nihilistic perspective in relation to the symbolic: that in which, having no other criteria of right action, turns to the criteria of power:

“I have power because I am right; therefore, I am right because I have power.”

And this, to me, is the underlying alibi of the abuses of Neo-liberalism. In this sense, your description seems perfectly accurate to me. At the same time, I would ask you to consider Deleuze and Guatarri’s point that Capitalism should act as a deterritorializing force, but always seems to return to territorializing ones or what I refer to as the tyranny of the functional. Neo-Liberal Capitalism is the wolf of perfect control (it can never be implemented through democratic means as examples like Pinochet show us (dressed in the sheep’s clothing of freedom. It does have fossilized ways of thinking that require that we break free of them via concrete solutions to concrete problems. Therefore, it makes sense to follow the D & G nomadic prescription of pushing Capitalism's tendency towards deterritorialization further than it, itself, would want to go. Rorty's pragmatism is just a less abrasive approach to it.

Revolution is not theory. It is a series of concrete acts.And in the process of revolution, it would make no sense for any of us to ask: what would Rorty or Plato or any other theorist do?

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:24 pm
by d63
The following is a continuation of discourse between me and a respected jam-mate, Chris, on the relationship between and preference for the theoretical or the day to day pragmatic:

"As Habermas puts it [about Heidegger], "under the leveling gaze of the philosopher of Being even the extermination of the Jews seems merely an event seems merely an event equivalent to many others." Heidegger specializes in rising above the need to calculate relative quantities of human happiness, in taking a larger view. For him, successful and unsuccessful adventures -Gandhi's success and Dubcek's failure, for example -are just surface perturburations, distractions from essence by accidents, hindrances to an understanding of what is REALLY going on.

"Heidegger's refusal to take much interest in the Holocaust typifies the urge to look beneath or behind the narrative of the West for the 'essence' of the West, the urge which separates the philosophers from the novelists. Someone dominated by this urge will tell a story only as part of the process of clearing away appearance in order to reveal reality." -from Rorty's Essays on Heidegger and Others

And I apologize, as always, for my wordy (rhizomatic (bricolage, but I would also like to connect this to (and, in the process, pay tribute to (a point made by a jam-mate, Lewis and fold in a response:

“I almost agree that ideologies do nothing while people do. Was thinking about William of Occam this morning and his condemnation of over-complexity.”

I mainly fold this in to today’s rhizome, Lewis, because it parallel’s the issue at hand: the relationship between theory and the pragmatic and which is preferable. While I agree with your point as concerns Ockham’s razor, I would define it in terms of our always being caught in the push and pull between theoretical overreach (that which results from the radical purely for the sake of the radical (and theoretical stagnation: that which results from failing to think or inquire beyond our immediate intuitions. While I agree that in many cases the simpler solution to a problem is the better one, we have to be real careful about oversimplified perceptions of what the problem actually is.

That said, I want to make a couple of observations about Rorty’s quote. The first is about composition and style. The above quote, to me, is a good example of what makes Rorty as good a writer as he is a philosopher. He fulfills my criteria of resonance and seduction the most when he goes into these kind of satiric descriptions of other philosophers such as he does here with Heidegger. To me, it fits in with that image of the of the generous teacher (much like Jaspers (which he props up with a healthy sense of humor, but a sense of humor that flatters you since you would have had to do the footwork necessary in order to find it funny.

But on a more serious note, we can see here in Heidegger (as ascetic priest (how theory can go awry. As another Jam-mate, Steve Orsli points out:

“'Theoria'--what is the essence of the original idea. It's related to the word 'theatre' and the sense of looking at things 'at a distance' a visual, detached understanding. Western man looking down from above--the objective, 'Gods-eye' view.”

Here, we see my main difference with Chris in that while he rightly points to how the scattered, chaotic (rhizomatic even), approach to thought contributes to the tyranny of Neo-Liberalism:

“But the breakdown in social systems that have a classical polis, ie a control and command centre, networks, common legal overview etc, has given rise to de-centred neo-liberal capitalism which thrives on a certain anarchy that allows money to free flow according to market forces with no "god' to adjudicate - or collect the taxes.”

:the God’s-eye view, propped up by corporate financing, is as implicit in it as the lack of theory might be.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:35 pm
by d63
I want to lay down some quotes from a I Love Philosophy Jam-mate, Jerky, and see what I can do with them:

“Do you think our understanding (Rorty's), of an eventual incompatibility between foundations of Capitalism and Democracy are regional to the extent, that limits of conflict have not been met in the United States; whereas Habermas, a Continental, would be more prone with the kind of impatience you are talking about?

And is not something missing here, the approach of a conservative religious approach to the Truth, whatever that might be; -as in the mainly Germanic-Lutheran tradition , there is a conflation between political principles and religious ones.

Does the eventual functional approach of a US based pragmatism not exhibit the kind of impatience that Europe should, because of the above, therefore the Absolute Universal Principles which inspire an anarchy, not universally useful in Rorty's functionalism?

Can the above start as a guide in seeing a change in perception, as a universal or regionally dominating trend, in light of these dissimilarities -in a positive re-presentational sense in EU- and in a regional socially accepted modus operant in the US?”

“I don't mean to overload this train of thought, but my reason for asking is multiform: the embededness which Polanyi thinks of as determinative toward Rorty's sense of the more Kantian intuitive approach of Habermas seem irreconcilable, almost to the extent of the relative conflict between those camps who have a conflicting understanding of what delineates conscious and sub conscious material.

This is important, but seems insignificant from a utilitarian, pragmatic perspective.

What do you think?”

Okay, Jerkey: the best I can do here is cherry-pick what I can respond to. I hope I don’t wander off topic.

“And is not something missing here, the approach of a conservative religious approach to the Truth, whatever that might be; -as in the mainly Germanic-Lutheran tradition , there is a conflation between political principles and religious ones.”

There is always a conflation, Jerkey. This is because people will always be people. And it is why we have to look at history in order to understand what we are doing now. In this sense, it would be useful to apply Saussure’s paradigmatic concept of language. As I like to joke (in reference to Weber’s book on protestant ethics and Capitalism:

It use to be: pray hard and follow these principles and you too may enter the kingdom of heaven.

Now it’s: work hard and follow these principles and you too may enter the kingdom of success.

In fact, if you look at it, Jerkey, there is nothing new about Capitalism. It comes down to the same old thing: the fact that there has always been a handful of people who thought they deserved more than everyone else, even if it came at the expense of everyone else. And if you think about it, the “market” that justifies the high pay of corporate CEOs, that god-like invisible hand, is not that different than the “divine right” that justified monarchs in older days.

And in both cases, as you rightly point out, we see a conflation (thanks for that word BTW) between the political and the religious.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:30 pm
by d63
“This chapter defines three terms: information, knowledge, competence, and their relationships to one another. Here is a list of the chapter’s main lessons:” -Lupia, Arthur. Uninformed: Why People Seem to Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It (p. 25). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Now, had I approached this more logically, and methodically, I would have started this discourse with these terms as the model lies at the core of Lupia’s approach (definition attached). But I mainly bring it up because of the parallel and somewhat perfect compatibility with my own model of facts, data, and truths.

Facts (the almost equivalent of information) involves those things we can hardly deny. 1+1=2, for instance. Or say we are standing together in front of cat on a mat. We could safely say that it is a fact that there is a cat on a mat. Data (which holds a loose equivalence with knowledge) is an accumulation of facts put together to get a sense of how individual facts are acting together. A poll, for instance, is a collection of the individual facts of how people answered the pollsters. Several things are interesting here. First of all, data is always as interesting for the facts it leaves out as it is those it includes. This is a product of the finite nature of the human mind in the face of the infinite. And it was clearly demonstrated in the Dewey/Truman campaign in which pollsters did a phone survey that showed Dewey winning while leaving out the fact that most people who had the money to own a phone at the time generally voted republican. Secondly (and to make things more complicated), we have to recognize two kinds of data: formal and informal. While the formal is the domain of the scientifically trained, the informal is what we all engage in. We can see the informal at work in prejudices in that they consist of repeated experiences (facts in themselves) of a certain category of person that results in a general conclusion about the category as a whole. Finally, it is at the level of data that the parallel between my model and Lupia’s starts to loosen a little. In Lupia’s model, we can see how both facts and data can play a role in information while also playing a role in knowledge: that which is the cumulative effect of facts and data (both formal and informal). But that doesn’t make them incompatible.

But the parallel gets even looser at the level of truth (with a small “t”) which I define in terms of Rorty’s pragmatism: that which seems (via facts and data (both formal and informal)) sufficiently justified. At the same time, I would confidently parallel truth with Lupia’s competence in that competence (via information (is about what serves a given end much as pragmatism is about what works.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:35 pm
by d63
“Given this interpretation of how Derrida thinks he can do what Heidegger failed to do, how he hopes to move outside of the tradition instead of being mired within it as Heidegger was, I want to make two criticisms of his attempt. First, it is just not true that the sequence of texts which make up the canon of the ontotheological tradition has been imprisoned within a metaphorics which have remained unchanged since the Greeks. That sequence of texts, like that which makes up the history of astronomical treatises, or of the epic, or of political discourse, has been marked by the usual alternation between “revolutionary”, “literary”, “poetic” moments and normal, banal, constructive interludes. Speaking several languages and writing several texts at once is just what all important, revolutionary, original thinkers have done. Revolutionary physicists, politicians, and philosophers have always taken words and beaten into new shapes. They have thereby given their angry conservative opponents reason to charge them with introducing strange new senses of familiar expressions, frivolously punning, no longer playing by the rules, using rhetoric rather than logic, imagery rather than argument.” –from Rorty’s Essays on Heidegger and Others (pg. 98….

First of all, for those who might not have seen it, I would note the reference to Walter Kuhn in:

“That sequence of texts, like that which makes up the history of astronomical treatises, or of the epic, or of political discourse, has been marked by the usual alternation between “revolutionary”, “literary”, “poetic” moments and normal, banal, constructive interludes. Speaking several languages and writing several texts at once is just what all important, revolutionary, original thinkers have done.”

That said, I should provide a little context. It came out of a comparison of Derrida and Heidegger in terms of their shared sense that the history of philosophy had been stuck in the trap of the old Platonic hierarchy. Out of this came a common ambition: to create a new language that could break out of that rut. However, as Rorty points out, Derrida (being further down the line than Heidegger (was no more likely to pull it off than Heidegger. This is because Derrida was working under the same false assumption Heidegger was. As Rorty put it:

“First, it is just not true that the sequence of texts which make up the canon of the ontotheological tradition has been imprisoned within a metaphorics which have remained unchanged since the Greeks.”

That said, I would offer my own theory as to how this kind of thing happens. It comes down to Hermeneutics which is an unfolding process in which content becomes form via form. Ultimately, what this results in is reducing our cultural artifacts to simple cores and assumptions. I, for instance, have come to a core of chaos and order which is reflected in Kuhn’s distinction between normal and revolutionary science. And I would argue this has to do with us whittling our mental activities down to basic functions in our brains: those that result from evolutionary adaptations. Therefore, it stands to reason that people like Heidegger or Derrida might see our cultural history as just repeating the same old thing. But as Rorty said later:

“So it is not clear that we need a “new sort of writing.”

This is because, given the deeply buried nature of these basic motifs, there is no guarantee that a “new sort of writing” will truly break from that tradition. It's always too personal to do so. Still, it can change things: make us see them in new ways. And as a culture, we are nowhere near the same as we were when we started.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:25 am
by d63
"Insofar as a left becomes spectatorial and retrospective, it ceases to be a Left. I shall be claiming in these lectures that the American Left, once the old alliance between the intellectuals and the unions broke-down in the course of the Sixties, began to sink into an attitude like Henry Adams'. Leftists in the academy have permitted cultural politics to supplant real politics, and have collaborated with the Right in making cultural issues central to public debate... The academic Left has no projects to propose to America, no vision of a country to be achieved by building a consensus on the need for specific reforms." –a quote from Rorty’s Achieving Our Country via Eduardo Mendieta’s intro to Take Care of Freedom and Truth Will Take Care of Itself: a collection of Rorty interviews….

Mendieta then goes on to say:

“For this reason, Rorty calls for a “moratorium” on theory. Rorty admonishes that the academic and cultural left “kick its philosophy habit.” Just as importantly, Rorty urges the left to abandon its apocalyptic self-loathing and to become emotionally engaged in the nation by feeling, at the very least, shame.”

I have other thoughts. But I have, in the process of writing out the quotes, noticed a connection between the issues taken with Rorty and those taken with Bernie Sanders in their northeastern provincial and bourgeoisie liberalism. Being something like that myself, I have noted that the main thing that cock-blocked Bernie was his tendency to assume that if he addressed the issue of neo-liberalism, the problems addressed by multi-culturalism would take care of themselves. And Rorty has been attacked on this very issue. This is not to say that either Rorty or Sanders are indifferent to the plight of minorities. I would argue that (as I would for myself since I am a lot like them (that they are perfectly sympathetic to the plights of the less fortunate.

But that’s not why I quoted this. What I mainly want to address here is that while I am perfectly sympathetic with Rorty’s recognition of the disconnect between theory and day to day practice, I’m not sure that is cause for demanding that those engaged in theory stop doing so. But then I’m not sure Rorty demanded that either –that is given his admiration for Derrida. I’m perfectly on board with his desire to take philosophy to the streets. But I don’t see that as justification to condemn those who prefer to work in their scholastic ivory towers. They are basically engaged in a form of Play. And the only problem occurs when they act like it is anything more than that: such as the only way to describe reality as is.

The thing is, it is going to take a lot of different people doing a lot of different things to fix this. And no one of us (no matter how clever our technologies (is going to do it alone. But when we do fix it, it will be a matter of a lot of different people engaged in different acts and doing so at the right time.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:21 pm
by d63
Always the tough and twisting path with you guys. And God (whatever it is (love you for it. Still, it faces me with a tough negotiation. So I'll simplify things by going through it first quote to last and hope to get to John's. The catch is that I'll have focus on compression at the expense of fully explaining what I'm getting at. That said:

"Meaningful debates over policy - that is, politics, in the old sense of constructive collaboration - presumes a certain amount of agreement on basic values and commitments. That's what the 60's deprived us of. The presence or absence of that agreement, however it is accounted for, described, or regarded, is itself a sociological fact of tremendous importance.

The Atlantic ran an interesting article the other day. ... th/517785/" -John Cassein

It’s a little like a recent scandal in which an American poet, after trying to publish a poem, resorted to submitting it under a Chinese name and got it published and saw it go on to be published in the Best American poetry series. But as Kurt Anderson, of Studio 360 fame, pointed out: we’re trying to right past wrongs; so mistakes will be made. And I would argue, against Rorty, that the mistakes of the cultural left were just the products of dealing with a rigid status quo.

I agree with you, John. But here’s the problem: the republican platform (as it stands now dominated by the hard right (basically comes into the discourse from the perspective of immediate self interest. The problem for them is that political discourses, by their inherent nature, are about hashing out a plan that will work for everyone even if it doesn’t perfectly work for everyone. This is why the right has had to resort to the cheap tactics they do such as harping on the failures of the 60’s academic culture. They cannot make a core argument for their position; therefore, they have to eat at the edges.

"Go Mendieta and Rorty. Yes, I've begun to feel shame about how my tribe (the left) has been shaming the other tribes. And yes, as a result I've become more emotionally engaged with more citizens of my country. Along with kicking the philosophy habit, I wish my brothers and sisters from the left would kick the moralizing habit. I mean honestly, the tales spun by the left about evil in hearts of the right get positively gothic. If we could say instead, "If I was in their shoes, I'd be doing the same things" and really believe it about ourselves, then we'd be more apt to focus on what really matters politically: "What kind society do we want and how do we get it?" -TJ Crow

The thing to understand about the 60's, is that it was the decade in which America first considered giving African Americans voting rights and women more rights than they had. Now you really have to consider what that says about the sensibility of most white male Americans before that point. So we can see why American universities felt they had to go to the ideological extremes they did. Granted, it was reactionary in nature, but given the situation of minorities and women at the time, it seems natural that academics would turn to the theoretical overreach that they did. And I consider this an oversight on Rorty's part as concerns his distinction between the reformist left and the cultural left which he disdains. I'm not saying it was right. I'm just saying it was a perfectly natural response to the circumstances and status quo of the time.

That said, John Butler:

“I don't think it is quite right to say that Rorty wanted a moratorium on "theory" or "philosophy" and leave it at that. I think Rorty wanted a moratorium on "Philosophy" and debates about "Truth" where the capitalization is designed, and used by Rorty, to signify the search for immutable answers, the Plato Kant tradition, as he called it. He also did want the Left to move beyond its focus on identity politics and move back to "lunch pail" politics, but where old theory needed updating for such an effort I don't get the sense that he would oppose that.”

Actually, I agree with you here, John. I would argue that he was about a more holistic or, as described in the philosophy textbook The Art of Wondering, synoptic approach that blurs the lines between various disciplines and allows them to do what they do without any consideration of what categories they are working in.

That said, guys: thanks for the brain strain and headache. You bastards!!!!!!!

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:01 pm
by Meno_
Hi d63

Rorty' s suggestion is that , in post modern terms, there is no demonstrable sealing between identity politics and social theories, and the hermeunatic progression which needs nofurther elaboration.

But that's just the point, there seems a counter positioning of
identifying the politics of subversion against the supposed
leakage therefore to an extent acquiring a need to deal them.

That is if identifying sources of leakage proves either impossible or, undesirable.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:24 pm
by d63
jerkey wrote:Hi d63

Rorty' s suggestion is that , in post modern terms, there is no demonstrable sealing between identity politics and social theories, and the hermeunatic progression which needs nofurther elaboration.

But that's just the point, there seems a counter positioning of
identifying the politics of subversion against the supposed
leakage therefore to an extent acquiring a need to deal them.

That is if identifying sources of leakage proves either impossible or, undesirable.

Wish this was facebook. Then I could give you a like. Always a pleasure, Jerkey. Thanks for participating. Look forward to further input. I'm not being sarcastic. I encourage you to keep doing so. If nothing else, you can explain your point here further as if I were a 7 year old.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:34 pm
by Meno_
Regardless of age, we can all learn something, g63.
Thanks for responding. However,I was implying for a response, rather then offering one.

It is equally a pleasure to occasionally involve in your work.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:41 pm
by d63
"Rorty sympathizes with those -like Thomas Kuhn, to take a prominent example- who have pleaded with him not to characterize their work in ways they find distorting or misleading.”It's a natural reaction," he says. "They think of themselves as having made a quite specific point, and with a wave of my hand I seem to subsume their specific point as part of great cultural, or something like that. They think that it's a way of putting them in bad company and ignoring the really interesting thing they said, which my net is too gross to capture." Still, Rorty defends this tendency: "I don't see anything wrong with doing that. Regardless of how they feel about it, if you think there's a common denominator or a trend, then why not say so?" –from James Ryerson’s “The Quest for Uncertainty: Richard Rorty’s Pilgrimage” in Take Care of Freedom and the Truth Will Take Care of Itself: Interviews with Richard Rorty….

At the risk of doing to Rorty what Rorty is accused of doing to Kuhn, here we see Rorty taking on a perspective similar to that of Roland Barthes “writerly text” in which the text is (either inherently or purposely (there for the reader to, more or less, extract their own meaning from. Now this is not to say that it is license for the reader to just read whatever they want into it –although that is what they will naturally do. It is always a matter of the reader continuing to play their interpretation against the reality of the text itself until their meaning more approximately (and that is all we can expect (coordinates with that of the writer's. But people will always steal what they can use. And I would “buttress (a word Rorty liked to use)” my connection with a point made in a later interview:

“Just as there were sixteen different ways of reacting to Hegel in his day, there were sixteen different ways of reacting to Heidegger; and I think it pointless to ask what was the “true” message of either Hegel or Heidegger –they were just people to bounce one’s thoughts off of.”

And I would further buttress Rorty’s point with the answer Hegel gave to questions about what The Phenomenology of Spirit meant (and I am paraphrasing here:

“When I wrote that book, only God and I knew what I meant. Now, I’m sad to say, only God knows.”

We can further read into this an overlap with Deleuze & Guatarri’s machinic production in which the various systems of the text interact with the various systems of the reader.

“A book does not mirror the world. It forms a rhizome with it.”

So I would argue that Rorty had every right to be cavalier about how he used the writings of others. It’s just the way it works. As we all learn in writing classes, what we write must mainly serve as a kind of screenplay for the reader’s imagination. It’s why we’re discouraged from over-description such as too many adjectives or adverbs. So if Kuhn had a problem with Rorty’s use of his thought, it was up to Kuhn to keep writing or speaking to correct the problem he saw.

Plus that, it seems to me that Kuhn’s main problem with Rorty’s interpretation was a suspicion that Rorty had twisted Kuhn’s point into anti-scientism. The thing is that all indications from the interviews I have read show that Rorty was anything but. His only concern was the idea of the scientific discourse dominating the discourse. The only thing that Rorty did was take Kuhn’s distinction between revolutionary and normal science (and the cultural rhythm’s they followed) and apply it to general intellectual inquiry. Plus that, he was a philosopher that understood and appreciated how we tend to work in the overlaps between various thinkers and movements.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:44 pm
by d63
jerkey wrote:Regardless of age, we can all learn something, g63.
Thanks for responding. However,I was implying for a response, rather then offering one.

It is equally a pleasure to occasionally involve in your work.

I agree. Thanks again. I really need to take some time out and come back to my old stomping grounds.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:01 pm
by d63
“I think that attempts to get a political message out of Heidegger, Derrida, or Nietzsche are ill-fated. We’ve seen what these attempts look like, and they don’t succeed very well. Hitler tried to get a message out of Nietzsche, and Nietzsche would have been appalled by it. And people who try to get a political message out of Derrida produce something perfectly banal. I suspect it isn’t worth bothering.

But that’s not to say these figures will always be publically useless. Having a great imagination and altering the imagination in insensible ways is going to make a difference in public affairs somewhere down the line. We just don’t know how.” –Rorty in an interview from Take Care of Freedom and Truth Will Take Care of Itself….

Here, again, we see the disconnect between theory and the day to day, but with possible trickle down effects. And as has also been said: theory tends to follow praxis. And to add my own little slant:

Theory is a form of play with some perhaps serious consequences.

Rorty’s description of the political is lot like my experience with writing fiction or poetry while having read philosophy: I always had to forget I knew anything about it in order to not interfere with the creative process. At best, it came in as a commentator on the scenarios and lines (in the case of poetry) after the fact. As Joyce advised writers: avoid the didactic. Pound warned poets to go in fear of the abstract. And we can see the same dynamic at work with the political. The political is a matter of looking at real problems and coming up with real solutions for them. A good example here is Roosevelt’s New Deal and its actual relationship to the theories of Keynes. It did actually affect it. But Roosevelt had no patience for theory. All he got out of Keynes was the idea of government spending in order to stimulate the economy. And it worked. Even when WW2 took over (contrary to neo-liberalism’s argument (and created a strong economy, it was still a practice of Keynesian economics.

Re: Pragmatic Studies:

PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:57 pm
by d63
From, once again: Take Care of Freedom and the Truth Will Care of Itself (Conversations w/ Rorty :

“Q: After the collapse of communism, do you see any new trend emerging, something that would constitute a political basis for the coming century?

RR: Just ordinary liberal democracy is all the ideology anybody needs. Yet, liberal democracy works in times of economic prosperity and doesn’t in times of economic insecurity and, since I think we’re entering a time of economic insecurity, I don’t have much faith that we can keep liberal democracy going. But that’s not for lack of ideas, that’s for lack of money. When there is prosperity, there is not that much distance between the people and the intellectuals –the liberal democratic liberals. When things are bad, then you get cults, fundamentalists, churches, fascist movements, all kinds of weird things.”

Now I would first note how prescient this is, given that the interview occurred in 1997. But what I mainly want to note here is the validation and promise I take for myself in this, being self taught as concerns philosophy. And this is not to blow my own horn or engage in the reverse snobbery of acting as if being self taught somehow gives me an advantage over formally trained pursuants of understanding. And I’ve thought a lot about this. My conclusion was that both have advantages. And keep in mind that, once I realized I had an interest in knowledge, not being formally trained was not a choice on my part. Being self taught tends to be more efficient as concerns the task at hand in that the individual is free to pursue knowledge relevant to their personal goal. Think here of Einstein’s relationship to mathematics in that he posed certain problems to himself and sought out the mathematics that were directly relevant –that is as compared to a university curriculum which forces you to learn a lot of mathematics that may or may not be relevant to what an individual wants do. But the other side of this is that you never know what knowledge you will need. And in this sense, a formal education has a decided advantage.

Plus that, things like philosophy, art, poetry, etc., are basically industries with corporate hierarchies that you have to work your way up like any other pursuit you might go into. It's why most people you see getting published or finding success tend to have some kind of degree behind them. This is why, for instance, I have had to consolidate myself with the possibility that I will, for all my commitment to what I am doing (I’ve basically turned it into a religious practice), I will not likely achieve anything through the mainstream mechanisms.

But here’s where the coin flips back to me. As the mechanisms that Rorty describes kick in (as intellectuals distance themselves from the people via the corporate owned universities( it may well come down to self taught guys (and gals (like me to (through the resonance and seduction that cosmopolitan intellects can’t offer (to articulate the experiences of and mobilize those who feel alienated by all this. And I would note here the parallel with the possibility that as corporate funding and the tyranny of functional drives the humanities out of the universities, the humanities may well have to turn to workshops which will create access to our cultural pool for those of lesser means. We may well see the irony of the corporate culture creating its own worst enemy: an underground.