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Showing posts from May 30, 2021

Philosophy departments everywhere: sociopathology isn't destiny

  There is an article in the Philosophers Mag that made me laugh outloud. I t is a survey essay by Helen Beebee entitled Women in Philosophy: What’s changed? Beebee lists the things that have pushed back the men’s club atmosphere in Philosophy departments, including less tolerance for sexual harrassment and greater opportunities for women to publish. This is the paragraph, though, that I particularly liked: “One final change I do want to highlight, though, is the atmosphere in philosophy research seminars. Some things that used to happen relatively frequently: questions asked in an incredibly aggressive manner. (I’ve seen people in a state of near apoplexy, so insulted were they by the speaker’s outrageous suggestion that metaphysical realism is false, or that maybe knowledge is justified true belief after all. I mean, what is wrong with the speaker? Is he or she an idiot?) Someone hogging an enormous slab of the Q&A time by asking repeated follow-up questions. (Because their qu

Little France syndrome

  The Little France syndrome Well, at last the NYT emerges from its Macron daze to notice the sheer cretinism of the Macron cultural politics, driven by its far right allies, all swimming happily in their own shit and screaming about Islamo-gauchisme. Meanwhile, the old retired fossils in academe, who made their bones in the 80s and 90s – those decades Francois Cusset labels the great nightmare, due to the proliferation of Nouvelle Philosophes and their wannabe companions, all using leftwing rhetoric to promote right wing economic and foreign policy – are also on the attack against the “Americanization” of the cultural agenda. This movement is in synch with Trump’s 1776 commission and Boris Johnson’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities which last month reported that, hooray, Britain has none, and never did anyway, except during a brief window in May of 1679 when somebody financed somebody else’s slaveboat which we think musta been Dutch – a total anomaly! All of these can be ca

Barthes freudian slip

  “The ship on which Theseus sailed with the youths and returned in safety, the thirty-oared galley, was preserved by the Athenians down to the time of Demetrius Phalereus. 29  They took away the old timbers from time to time, and put new and sound ones in their places, so that the vessel became standing illustration for the philosophers in the mooted question of growth, some declaring that it remained the same, others that it was not the same vessel.” – Plutarch, the Life of Theseus We are like sailors who on the open sea must reconstruct their ship but are never able to start afresh from the bottom. We are like sailors who on the open sea must reconstruct their ship but are never able to start afresh from the bottom. – Otto Neurath There’s a curious error in Barthes by Barthes – something that is like a parapraxis, a Freudian slip. Like the classic instance of the Freudian slip outlined in the Psychopathology of Everyday Life,  this one, too, has to do with a classical allusion. It i

The identity crisis turn

  It was, I believe, the existential psychoanalyst Erik Erickson who first coined the phrase “identity crisis”. In “Young Man Luther”   - a truly Hollywoodish title for a monograph. Erickson defined the term with relation to adolescence   which he naturalized as part of the life cycles that he saw as inherent to the full development of human beings: “I have called the major crisis of adolescence the identity crisis; it occurs in that period of the life cycle when each youth must forge for himself some central perspective and direction, some working unity, ut of the effective remnants of his childhood and the hopes of his anticipated adulthood...” Erickson, in the late fifties, became a celebrated figure, one of those intellectuals that Time Magazine would reference. Perhaps the height of his popular fame came in the early 70s. On April 5, 1970, he made the cover of NYT magazine under the headline: Beyond Freud, which was glory indeed at the height of Freudian psychoanalysis. Tom Wo