Derrida’s Performance

Discussion of articles that appear in the magazine.

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d63
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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by d63 » Sun May 10, 2015 7:38 pm

While I sympathize with your question, Majoram, I think you are imposing analytic criteria on a continental approach which can only end up badly for the continental. You want direct concrete answers (meaning (to a given problem while the continental tends to work in the oblique. You want philosophy to act like a science when Yoni treats it like a poetic engagement with the world. He knows what he means even if he is struggling with articulating it under the operational criteria (based on common doxa (that you are imposing on him.

That said, the following is about Deleuze and Guattarri's What is Philosophy. But hopefully it will shine a little light on the issue:

Before I get into this: just to show you how slow on the uptake I can be, after years of dealing with the phrase "the plane of immanence", I finally got a clear understanding of the term "immanence" in my recent reading of What is Philosophy as the opposite of the transcendent.


Duh!!!!! right? Anyway:


"But it is important to distinguish philosophical from scientific problems. Little is gained by saying that philosophy asks "questions", because question is merely a word for problems that are irreducible to those of science. Since concepts are not propositional, they cannot refer to problems concerning the extensional conditions of propositions assimilable to those of science. If, all the same, we continue to translate their philosophical concept into propositions, this can only be in the form of more-or-less plausible opinions without scientific value." -D&G, What is Philosophy, pg. 79

The main point to be noted here is that philosophy, if it is to be distinguished from science (otherwise, why not just call it science? (must embrace its position as an armchair discipline which lacks the resources of science and therefore must settle for achieving something that seems like more than opinion. Once again: Derrida’s performance and Yoni’s assertion that it is a matter of arguing “as if” what we are saying is true or “the truth” when there is no real way of demonstrating such things in the same way that we can demonstrate that water, at atmospheric pressure, boils at 212 degrees.

Now the analytics might see this as some kind of concession to them. This, of course, is the point of Majoram harping Yoni on what is basically a gotcha moment. While Yoni may instinctively see Performance as a solution to our modern problems (and may well be right in doing so (Majoram has to account for the fact that the analytic approach has been no more useful to science than the continental one has. I mean how many scientists actually make mention of the discoveries of logic? In other words, the analytic approach, for all its fantasies about being so, is no more a science than the continental approach.

As D&G go on to say:

“Philosophy does not consist in knowing and is not inspired by truth. Rather it is categories like Interesting, Remarkable, or Important that determine success or failure…. We will not say of many books of philosophy that they are false, for that is to say nothing, but rather that they lack importance or interest, precisely because they do not create any concept or contribute an image of thought or beget a persona worth the effort. Only teachers can write “false” in the margins, perhaps; but readers doubt the importance and interest, that is to say the novelty of what they are given to read.”

Thinking about it now, Majoram, the answer to your question may well lay in a point that Rorty made: that books are things that change people’s lives. This may have been at the foundation of Yoni’s point. And how do you argue that books written by more analytic approaches are more likely to change lives than continental approaches?

Still, you are perfectly free to think of writers like Derrida as literature. What would it change? You are perfectly free to question if it is actually philosophy. But I am equally free to question if Dennett is philosophy when it feels more like science writing to me. I mean Searle can dismiss Derrida as for people who know nothing about philosophy all he wants. But I’m not sure the same thing can’t be said about Dennett or Searle.

marjoram_blues
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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun May 10, 2015 10:50 pm

Yoni wrote:I think the way Derrida is useful to us is by asking the impossible in full conscience of its impossibility. He purposely goes beyond the limit only to reorganize the limit itself. He knows that there is no world without a certain organization, or in other words, a certain sense in language, but nevertheless he asks for that which is impossible within this configuration, Derrida demands us to think that which is "without conditions" "as if" it was true.

Now there is a series of ways of interpreting this notion of "as if". I propose to read it not as pure fiction (a discourse interpreting the world) or as pure constructivism (a discourse making the world) but as a concept that runs through this distinction. That is, a discourse that plays on the ambiguity of the "without condition": at the same time without conditions of ever being real and as totally free to make whatever it wants. In my opinion if we think in this way, our performance in the world becomes a "profession" in the sense I explained in my text: both a compromise with the current configuration (taking responsibility for it) and a challenging of it.

Clearer?

It is me who is thankful for your interest. This is a great exercise for me. Thank you.
I've read this response several times now. And if I were to try and understand it, I would have to ask you to unpack every single sentence. So, best not go there !

Perhaps if we return to one of the example questions you provided earlier to indicate where Derrida's Theory of Language (D.ToL) might help us in understanding and coping with contemporary issues.
"What are the consequences/implications of the concept of "rights"?"

And my question was 'How?'
So, your answer is to say that D.ToL asks us to think 'that which is 'without conditions' 'as if' it were true.
How, then, would this apply to the question re the implications of the concept of 'rights'?

Next, it is your opinion that if we take on board D.ToL - 'our performance in the world becomes a 'profession': both a compromise with the current configuration (taking responsibility for it) and a challenging of it'.

For the benefit of those who cannot access the article and might be following this discussion, here is the the explanation of 'profession', as related to D's idea of performance and production:
Perhaps understanding his idea of production is the key to understanding Derrida’s idea of performance. It is not by chance that Derrida discusses working and production in an article concerned with the university. In the assertive model of language, the act of professing is work only in the limited sense that you talk about something. But this understanding does not consider the truly productive aspect of language. Moreover, if the university considers knowledge only in its static true/false sense, it betrays its responsibility to profess (in its other sense) knowledge. This is why Derrida claims the university does not work. As he writes:
“The declaration of the one who professes is a performative declaration in some way. It pledges like an act of sworn faith, an oath, a testimony, a manifestation, an attestation, or a promise. It is indeed, in the strong sense of the word, an engagement, a commitment. To profess is to make a pledge [gage] while committing one’s responsibility. ‘To make profession of’ is to declare out loud what one is, what one believes, what one wants to be, while asking another to take one’s word and believe the declaration.”
(The University Without Conditions, p.214).
This last sentence appears relevant to my initial question about your stated belief that Derrida's understanding of language could 'help' us in understanding and coping with contemporary issues. That is, you have declared what you believe...'while asking another to take your word and believe in your declaration'.

My question is not of a challenging nature, I simply desire to understand. This I must do before I can either accept or disregard D.ToL.
However, the fact remains that it is possible for me to understand, challenge and cope with 'contemporary issues' without necessarily accepting D.ToL.

To repeat my earlier question:
Your answer is to say that D.ToL asks us to think 'that which is 'without conditions' 'as if' it were true. How would this apply to the question re the implications of the concept of 'rights'?

Thank you for your patience. If I fail to understand your next response, then I think I will have to accept defeat and give D.ToL and the whole Philosophy of Language a wide berth.
Last edited by marjoram_blues on Sun May 10, 2015 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

marjoram_blues
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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun May 10, 2015 10:53 pm

Thanks, d63, for the response. I will have to leave my reply for another time.

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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by marjoram_blues » Mon May 11, 2015 9:12 am

d63: While I sympathize with your question, Majoram, I think you are imposing analytic criteria on a continental approach which can only end up badly for the continental. You want direct concrete answers (meaning (to a given problem while the continental tends to work in the oblique. You want philosophy to act like a science when Yoni treats it like a poetic engagement with the world. He knows what he means even if he is struggling with articulating it under the operational criteria (based on common doxa (that you are imposing on him.

M: Thanks for the sympathy. Oh dear, I don't want anything to end up badly for the continental - that ain't my aim. See response to Yoni for that.
I am not imposing anything on anybody - just need to understand. I have no problems with reading 'poetic engagements' - however, for a theory to be understood, then it needs to be clear with good examples of how it might work... to help us. If unclear, then it is worse than useless.

d63: That said, the following is about Deleuze and Guattarri's What is Philosophy. But hopefully it will shine a little light on the issue:

M: again, thanks, However, distinguishing philosophical from scientific problems is not my 'issue'.

d63: Now the analytics might see this as some kind of concession to them. This, of course, is the point of Majoram harping Yoni on what is basically a gotcha moment. While Yoni may instinctively see Performance as a solution to our modern problems (and may well be right in doing so (Majoram has to account for the fact that the analytic approach has been no more useful to science than the continental one has. I mean how many scientists actually make mention of the discoveries of logic? In other words, the analytic approach, for all its fantasies about being so, is no more a science than the continental approach.

M: I'm also not concerned with the analytic v continental divide. I take exception to the way you have characterised my real enquiry as a 'harping on'. However, I agree that it is tedious to have to keep repeating the same question, given the lack of clarification. Don't worry, as I indicated to Yoni, I will not pursue this further, if he fails to enlighten me in his next response. I have no idea what you are getting at by 'what is basically a gotcha moment' - please explain.

d63: Thinking about it now, Majoram, the answer to your question may well lay in a point that Rorty made: that books are things that change people’s lives. This may have been at the foundation of Yoni’s point. And how do you argue that books written by more analytic approaches are more likely to change lives than continental approaches?

M: Again, only Yoni can answer my question, given that it is directed to his belief.
[ I agree books can change people's lives; again, this is not relevant to my question. I am not arguing as to the efficacy of either approach.]

d63: Still, you are perfectly free to think of writers like Derrida as literature. What would it change? You are perfectly free to question if it is actually philosophy. But I am equally free to question if Dennett is philosophy when it feels more like science writing to me. I mean Searle can dismiss Derrida as for people who know nothing about philosophy all he wants. But I’m not sure the same thing can’t be said about Dennett or Searle.

M: Yes indeed, we are all free to think, or believe what we like. However, to convince anyone of our position, then we need to back this up with reasons, preferably with illustrative examples. That is all I am asking for here. Too much ?

d63
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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by d63 » Mon May 11, 2015 3:38 pm

I tend to start with a vague idea and see where it takes me, majoram. And the risk involved is that other experiences will get mixed in it and take me off topic.

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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by marjoram_blues » Mon May 11, 2015 3:46 pm

d63 wrote:I tend to start with a vague idea and see where it takes me, majoram. And the risk involved is that other experiences will get mixed in it and take me off topic.
That's good too; I'm all for exploration.
I became interested in Derrida only recently. Following a thread by Pluto: 'papers pervert people', I searched for PN articles and found this one, amongst others: see 'Beware of Truth!'; 'Okey Doke'; 'Derrida on Language'.
If I really want to understand a specific text, I read and re-read; then ask questions...
That's where I'm at right now.
I am easily distracted, often following diverse leads. This time round, I needed an answer to my question before deciding to progress down the Derrida route, or not.
Hope this clears up my intentions.

d63
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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by d63 » Tue May 12, 2015 12:24 am

It wasn't so much a matter of your intentions being clear as my assumptions based on previous experiences and mental concepts contaminating my reading of it. I apologize for that.

But your right: Yoni hasn't really clarified the sentence that you questioned -what I should have said you "hammered on" as compared to "Harped on". Once again, I apologize.

The problem may have come out of Yonathon having a vague sense of how performance might better address contemporary problems without having clarified it. This tends to be a common problem in more continental approaches. And this, too often, serves as a weakspot for more more neo-classicist positions who engage in the operationalism of demanding clear explanations for complex and subtle senses of the relationships involved. In the face of common doxas about what intellectuals should do, it can end up looking like a lot of dancing around. This was the imaginary crossfire you got caught in.

For myself, I'm a little skeptical about the extent to which theory can actually effect day to day matters. Theory is, to me, a pastime and passion with some perhaps serious consequences. And if it is to have any effect on things, it would be in the same manner of the feedback loop between the arts and natural human praxis. And I really don't need every worker in the world to read Das Kapital to know they're being exploited.

So while I'm sympathetic with the SENSE of Yoni's article, and while I cannot speak for him, I would consider that last sentence (that is if I wrote the article (as a throwaway point that the article could do without until I could better articulate it. At the same time, I have spent a lot of time with Deleuze (w/ and w/out Guattarri (and even though I have yet to clearly articulate them, I still see important political implications in what they are doing.

Also, I have, in my discourses with Yoni, read his article about 5 times and there are still parts that are inpenatrable to me. For instance, I have yet to figure out how it is that arguing "as if" can contribute to philosophical discourse. But that may well be because I haven't had the philosophical experiences that Yoni has. There is always the matter of resonance and seduction through which we extract meaning from any given work -including Yoni's article.

And because of this, I think you have to be careful about going into French philosophy (especially Derrida (with any expectations of a direct exchange of meaning. As I am realizing with my recent reading of Deleuze and Guattari's What is Philosophy, you have to treat it more like a poem: let it flow through you and take what works for you and what you can use, then explain it for yourself. And this is where Yoni's article actually participated in revision of my own process. I use to think that it was a matter of using secondary text as steppingstones to original text, that I could get a clearer sense of the meaning imparted through secondary text then arrive comfortably at the original text. But I'm realizing now, partially because of Yoni's emphasis on Performance, that secondary text is actually supplementary to the performance of the original text -especially when you consider that the secondary text is often a performance that can be every bit as elusive as the primary text itself.

marjoram_blues
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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by marjoram_blues » Tue May 12, 2015 11:40 am

d63: It wasn't so much a matter of your intentions being clear as my assumptions based on previous experiences and mental concepts contaminating my reading of it. I apologize for that.

M: Either way, I enjoyed explaining the background to my place in the discussion. No need to apologise; we all come to readings with current thoughts in mind, based on experience. The thing is to keep an open but critical mind so as to analyse and make connections, I think. Amongst other things it requires focus, patience and flexibility - not easy for me, but I keep trying.

d63: But your right: Yoni hasn't really clarified the sentence that you questioned -what I should have said you "hammered on" as compared to "Harped on". Once again, I apologize.

M: Apology accepted. However, I prefer 'positively persistent problem processing' to 'hammering on' :wink:

d63: The problem may have come out of Yonathon having a vague sense of how performance might better address contemporary problems without having clarified it. This tends to be a common problem in more continental approaches. And this, too often, serves as a weakspot for more more neo-classicist positions who engage in the operationalism of demanding clear explanations for complex and subtle senses of the relationships involved. In the face of common doxas about what intellectuals should do, it can end up looking like a lot of dancing around. This was the imaginary crossfire you got caught in.

M: I have not studied continental approaches but am aware of the analytical v continental divide. Can't say I want to get into that battle; I will duck the flying arrows.

d63: For myself, I'm a little skeptical about the extent to which theory can actually effect day to day matters. Theory is, to me, a pastime and passion with some perhaps serious consequences. And if it is to have any effect on things, it would be in the same manner of the feedback loop between the arts and natural human praxis. And I really don't need every worker in the world to read Das Kapital to know they're being exploited.

M: I too have problems with what I consider unhelpful academic theoretical divisions. But that's the name of the game in philo, is it not? People might not be aware of economic, political or philosophical theories, but they are at the receiving end of current policies/issues ( the consequences). As such, can push for change, even if the theorists might not. Any theory/belief which makes a strong claim to enable understanding, coping with contemporary issues must be able to say how.
I believe Derrida’s performative understanding of language represents a significant change in the structure of knowledge that has not yet been fully considered, yet could serve us in understanding and coping with contemporary issues.
© Yonathan Listik 2015
d63: So while I'm sympathetic with the SENSE of Yoni's article, and while I cannot speak for him, I would consider that last sentence (that is if I wrote the article (as a throwaway point that the article could do without until I could better articulate it. At the same time, I have spent a lot of time with Deleuze (w/ and w/out Guattarri (and even though I have yet to clearly articulate them, I still see important political implications in what they are doing.

M: If Yoni has a strong belief in D.ToL, then I would love to know how he arrived at the conclusion. There must be a story; another perhaps more straight forward 'performance'?

d63: Also, I have, in my discourses with Yoni, read his article about 5 times and there are still parts that are inpenatrable to me. For instance, I have yet to figure out how it is that arguing "as if" can contribute to philosophical discourse. But that may well be because I haven't had the philosophical experiences that Yoni has. There is always the matter of resonance and seduction through which we extract meaning from any given work -including Yoni's article.

M: Yep, and I hope that Yoni can explain this in his next reply.

d63: And because of this, I think you have to be careful about going into French philosophy (especially Derrida (with any expectations of a direct exchange of meaning. As I am realizing with my recent reading of Deleuze and Guattari's What is Philosophy, you have to treat it more like a poem: let it flow through you and take what works for you and what you can use, then explain it for yourself. And this is where Yoni's article actually participated in revision of my own process. I use to think that it was a matter of using secondary text as steppingstones to original text, that I could get a clearer sense of the meaning imparted through secondary text then arrive comfortably at the original text. But I'm realizing now, partially because of Yoni's emphasis on Performance, that secondary text is actually supplementary to the performance of the original text -especially when you consider that the secondary text is often a performance that can be every bit as elusive as the primary text itself.

M: Interesting take, thanks. I do both ( primary and secondary) in any order. I used to avoid the Preface or Introductions in a book because I wanted to 'hear' the author's voice first-hand. However, some prove very helpful - others not so much. Again, you have to keep in mind that secondary views usually have inherent bias, so you need more than one...
I have come to Derrida via the PN forum and articles. Before I expend any time, money and energy on the original, I want to know more.
As things stand, I doubt that I will have the patience :(

Thanks for taking the trouble to reply; appreciated :)

Yoni
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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by Yoni » Tue May 12, 2015 6:52 pm

First thing never give up and never surrender. If Derrida teaches anything is to not care and just insist of doing philosophy even if people don't really understand what you asking of them. All your questions are very interesting and I recommend that you challenge me on my answers and go straight to Derrida for responses. As I insist on saying, I am also trying to think with Derrida and propose something. I am not completely sure of what I am saying and therefore I like to propose questions rather than actual definite answer. On that note I really appreciate the interest of everyone reading and participating here and recommend you not to wait for my responses. I will try to follow you as best as I can.

Before I can answer I just find it vital to point out that the "asking others to believe" element of the performative is more complicated than the intuitive attempt to convince. I tried to explain that in my previous post so I would not return to it.

Now to the question of "rights". In the question of rights there is a very interesting phenomenon that they are at the same the most basic thing a person can have (human rights) and the things that is most absent when they are needed (in a human rights crisis). So if we think of rights in a purely descriptive way they don't seem to work because they do not describe the actual human condition. If we think of them as purely normative they are not really setting any rules because they have no normative power in places where people don't actually have rights. So what are rights (and I am taking human rights as the most basic right)? Well, they are an attempt at truth, they are a value (a property) associated to something but that by definition are not part of something. You either have rights or you don't just like sentence can have a truth value (false of true). There is not real commitment to the subjects involved. There is no "profession" of the humanity behind human rights. Derrida's argument asks us to think of another configuration, an impossible one (in the most superficial sense because to question human rights is very politically incorrect), one where we think of humans via their productive/performative presence (and not just in the marxist way). He asks for another structure of knowledge concerning the being human and its relation to the human being. Not one where the whole meaning of being human is just a right/property external to the actual human being. The notion of right itself appears problematic once you think of it as just another property (in all senses of the word) of humanity. It is asking to rethink the concept of right and remove it from problematic configuration where it is part of the properties of something. Again, there is not practical alternative since as mentioned before its is impossible to do it, still there is a value in attempting and finding out what it gives us. In simple words, there is no practical solution because in order to propose something practical (that makes sense, that works, that is reasonable) we would need to use the current configuration and the demand is precisely to break with it.

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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by marjoram_blues » Wed May 13, 2015 9:03 am

Y: First thing never give up and never surrender. If Derrida teaches anything is to not care and just insist of doing philosophy even if people don't really understand what you asking of them. All your questions are very interesting and I recommend that you challenge me on my answers and go straight to Derrida for responses. As I insist on saying, I am also trying to think with Derrida and propose something. I am not completely sure of what I am saying and therefore I like to propose questions rather than actual definite answer. On that note I really appreciate the interest of everyone reading and participating here and recommend you not to wait for my responses. I will try to follow you as best as I can.

M: First thing, never say never. It is a pity that 'giving up' and 'surrender' are used in such a negative way. In this context, if I wished to leave the discussion it would be to 'move on' and use my time and energy more effectively. OK, I understand that you are not completely sure of what you are saying and that you point to Derrida for any answers to questions. However, my question was directed at you; an apparently certain belief that you espoused at the end of this article. So, not so sure and certain. Understood.

Y: Before I can answer I just find it vital to point out that the "asking others to believe" element of the performative is more complicated than the intuitive attempt to convince. I tried to explain that in my previous post so I would not return to it.

M: I am writing this without returning to previous posts, so I can't remember your attempt at explanation. I do remember being confused. If such a concept is 'vital', then I would expect you to further explicate - and not 'give up'.

Y: Now to the question of "rights". In the question of rights there is a very interesting phenomenon that they are at the same the most basic thing a person can have (human rights) and the things that is most absent when they are needed (in a human rights crisis).
So if we think of rights in a purely descriptive way they don't seem to work because they do not describe the actual human condition. If we think of them as purely normative they are not really setting any rules because they have no normative power in places where people don't actually have rights. So what are rights (and I am taking human rights as the most basic right)? Well, they are an attempt at truth, they are a value (a property) associated to something but that by definition are not part of something. You either have rights or you don't just like sentence can have a truth value (false of true). There is not real commitment to the subjects involved.

M: To be honest, this does not make any sense to me. I think human rights is an issue of great complexity which does have commitment to the subjects involved. I really don't understand your: ' [Human rights] are an attempt at truth...are a value ( a property) associated to something but that by definition are not part of something'. It might be an idea if another thread was started on the subject. Would you mind if I copied and pasted your response elsewhere on the PN forum, so as to give it the time and energy required?

***Edit to add: I've started a thread which includes some of your quotes, please let me know if you object or if I have misrepresented you and I will remove/change. See: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=15502

Y: There is no "profession" of the humanity behind human rights. Derrida's argument asks us to think of another configuration, an impossible one (in the most superficial sense because to question human rights is very politically incorrect), one where we think of humans via their productive/performative presence (and not just in the marxist way).

M: Why do you think there is no 'profession' here, in the sense already discussed ? I don't think it is true that it is 'very politically incorrect' to question human rights. We can think of human rights in any 'configuration' we like. As for thinking of humans -and their rights - via 'productive/performative presence' - I'm not sure that you are capable of explaining this to me, so I won't ask my tedious question of 'How...does this [other configuration] work to improve understanding and coping?'

Y: He asks for another structure of knowledge concerning the being human and its relation to the human being. Not one where the whole meaning of being human is just a right/property external to the actual human being.

M: So, he asked - did he receive - and what does it look like today? When... and who [which structure/configuration ] ever said that the 'whole meaning of being human was a right/property external to the actual human being'?

Y: The notion of right itself appears problematic once you think of it as just another property (in all senses of the word) of humanity. It is asking to rethink the concept of right and remove it from problematic configuration where it is part of the properties of something. Again, there is not practical alternative since as mentioned before its is impossible to do it, still there is a value in attempting and finding out what it gives us. In simple words, there is no practical solution because in order to propose something practical (that makes sense, that works, that is reasonable) we would need to use the current configuration and the demand is precisely to break with it.

M: I agree that the notion of 'rights' is problematic. Full stop. Of course, there is value in discussing what it means/gives us but not purely in an academic world. If we wish to break from the 'current configuration' of human rights - if that means legal/political structures - in a practical way, this is not impossible. In fact, it is happening - people are more than ever challenging the decisions of politicians and becoming more aware of their power in action.
I think this reconfiguration is not down to Derrida and any talk of 'impossibilities' (although he might have played his historical part).
The knowledge structure is dynamic - due to human progress.

Right now, I don't need Derrida. Thanks anyway for providing a thought-provoking article. I hope others will continue the discussion...
Over to you d63 :)

d63
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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by d63 » Wed May 13, 2015 9:56 pm

“Right now, I don't need Derrida. Thanks anyway for providing a thought-provoking article. I hope others will continue the discussion...
Over to you d63:” Majoram Blues: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=15253&start=30

First of all, brother: that’s a lot of pressure, especially given the caliber of intellect and training I’m dealing with here. But I will do my best.

That said, I think you bring up an important issue when you say:

“Right now, I don't need Derrida.”

:in that you suggest the import of use over interpretation (a point brought up in Rorty’s Philosophy and Social Hope. If I read you right, what you are basically saying is that, at this point, you are not seeing anything you can use in Derrida, therefore, you choose to move on to other things. And you should since the process we are engaged in is more about what we can use in any writer than it is exact interpretation of that writer. And this, I believe, is because no matter how well we come to know another writer, the process is always our own. Like a mechanic reading a repair manual, the act of reading other great writers can, at best, be supplementary to that process.

To give a personal and anecdotal example, I find that, as an American, I tend to turn more to the French propensity towards poetics and abstraction when there is a Democrat in the Whitehouse. This is because, being a committed progressive, having that allows me a kind of bourgeoisie complacency that having a Republican in the house doesn’t. In that situation, I find myself drawn to more concrete things like the social criticism of a Naomi Klein in order to undermine the popular dogma and hegemony at work in popular culture.

But even in times when I’m allowed that complacency, I still sometimes find myself wondering if I’m not a little too immersed in abstraction. I find myself wanting to get back to something a little more concrete and direct. This is why, for instance, this week’s experiment is committed to Ha Joon-Chang’s Economics: A User’s Guide. At the same time, to give you a sense of what it is about French abstraction and etherspeak that draws me and Yoni in, I do so with the same unease I would feel going back from the subtlety of a poet like Phillip Levine to the accessibility of Ginsberg’s Howl. This may seem strange, but the experience is always haunted by the feeling of it being given to me too easily and directly. I always liked Umberto Eco’s take on it (and I am paraphrasing here: the analytic approach works by a concrete step by step process based on its tradition while the continental works through saying the same old things in such a novel way that it seems like they’re saying something totally new. At the same time, I stand with Yoni when he says:

“First thing never give up and never surrender. If Derrida teaches anything is to not care and just insist of doing philosophy even if people don't really understand what you asking of them.”

This is because doing what we do is dependent on focusing on our process and letting what results result and not letting it interfere in that. But by the same token, you would be equally justified in walking away from it. You simply cannot use what you cannot use. And it is your process and yours alone.

For myself, it’s as I said: I’m drawn to French concepts while being equally drawn to the Anglo-American style of exposition. It is my hope that this will define my style of intellectual pursuit and process. I want to see the hybrids that form between the two gravitations. For instance, I see an overlap in Deleuze’s doctrine of the faculties (based on Kant (and Dennett’s multiple drafts model of consciousness.

It’s all fuel for the fire. And there is a lot of it: way more than any individual can capture in a lifetime or process. What else can we do but lay out our own path through it?

marjoram_blues
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Re: Derrida’s Performance

Post by marjoram_blues » Thu May 14, 2015 10:58 am

d63: First of all, brother: that’s a lot of pressure, especially given the caliber of intellect and training I’m dealing with here. But I will do my best.

M: Lol - I'm not your brother or a Major; and 'no pressure' just pleasure - as the reward for any pain :)

d63: That said, I think you bring up an important issue when you say:
“Right now, I don't need Derrida.”
:in that you suggest the import of use over interpretation (a point brought up in Rorty’s Philosophy and Social Hope. If I read you right, what you are basically saying is that, at this point, you are not seeing anything you can use in Derrida, therefore, you choose to move on to other things. And you should since the process we are engaged in is more about what we can use in any writer than it is exact interpretation of that writer. And this, I believe, is because no matter how well we come to know another writer, the process is always our own. Like a mechanic reading a repair manual, the act of reading other great writers can, at best, be supplementary to that process.

M: I don't want to be stuck in a quagmire that's all. The mud sticks to my eyes, gets up my nose and in my ears; there is no clear 'sense' of value.

d63: It’s all fuel for the fire. And there is a lot of it: way more than any individual can capture in a lifetime or process. What else can we do but lay out our own path through it.

M: Heat and light - always welcome in a cold world of dark. Just as well there are seasons in the sun... 8)
Derrida just don't do it for me...
Enjoy.

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