Friday, May 01, 2009

What does it mean when someone talks about their practice?
What's the psychology, or the sensibility, behind the use of that term? I won't call it a logic because it doesn't originate in logic but in a preference for a relation of thought to action (and preference precedes logic). It comes off as a worried, Pythonesque, defense of one's own autonomy: "This theory which is mine!" It's symptom of a sort of cramped bureaucratism. Organization man as the mass man of the educated middle class, and from there to the academy.

I found Org Theory from a discussion at CT. That the header has a quote from Tocqueville is just amazing to me. He would have been appalled.

What does it mean that universities now have professors of "Management"?
"Performativity is the idea that theories or models bring about the very conditions that they attempt to explain."
The wish to see intelligence as unified instead of conflicted, to see "the principle of bivalence, as the best guide we have in philosophy," is to choose rationalism and idealism over empiricism and the facts.
I was aware of vagueness as a challenging issue from my undergraduate days. It seemed to present the strongest challenge to the classical, realist picture that has always rung true to me, on which the world is largely independent of us, and the principle of bivalence holds ― every proposition is either true or false (and not both), even if we do not and perhaps cannot know which ― and other standard principles of logic hold too.
So idiot, from one naturalist to another, tell me, are Jews white or black?

Performativity affects the way we see things, not things themselves, but pathological externalism is a symptom of autism not a form of reason. The last 200 years of intellectual history is a record of the attempt to put the cart before the horse. The more we've come to understand the patterns of predetermination that ruled our past, and the more we've tried to see ourselves as free from them, the more we've become addicted to the logic of determinism. If we're aware more than ever of how much we have in common, is it therefore somehow natural and 'scientific' that we conspire to limit ourselves to just those aspects that are most common? "Management science" and its progenitors treat individuals not as types but tokens.

Where the art of the past has been considered the highest product of a culture, and referred to as descriptive, our social scientists now see themselves as architects, their method as prescriptive, and their model as the hive.
"So, too, our Collegiate Gothic, which may be seen in its most resolutely picturesque (and expensive) phase at Yale, is more relentlessly Gothic than Chartres, whose builders didn't even know they were Gothic and missed so many chances for quaint effect."
Dwight Macdonald
History will always tell us what we were. Our descendants will understand us better than we understand ourselves. That's the "Nightmare of Modernism"

A description does not have the rhetorical force of a proposition. A proposition is no more than a hope packaged as fact.
"I’m only about half way through it myself, and am reading in the chaotic way that I tend to read collections (moving randomly between chapters at whim—though to be honest I read just about everything other than detective stories the same way)..."
"He reads for "ideas", not for tone and implication, or the possibility of subtext. An author's form, manner, temperament, always colors and often contradicts their surface argument. The inability to engage subtext in others comes from an unwillingness to engage it in yourself. HB has a mind as flat as a pancake.

I meander through good books because I'm afraid of drowning in implication, but since implication is all I'm interested in I hope that makes up for it. I'm browsing Tocqueville and Dwight Macdonald. They'd both be horrified by the rise of Academic Organization Man.

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