Friday, August 27, 2004

I've dropped my links to Harry's Place and Johann Hari. I have no patience with the kind of moralizing leftism that that says everyone else should be as logical and objective as a moralizing leftist. It'll never happen, so what's the point other than to feel superior?
I want to write more on the CT post I linked to yesterday, under the title: "Fun with intellectuals":

All joking aside I find it odd that the choices offered here are between those who like Foucault and who therefore try to find ways to make him sound logically consistent, and those who do not like him, and feel the need to do the same.
I find that odd, and worse, I find it silly. The modern world brings with it a number of conflicts. Foucault responds to these and tries to face them.
By the logic put forth here, Shakespeare would be deemed a failure because he did not offer a logically consistent vision.
But oh yes, Foucault was an ‘intellectual’ and Shakespeare merely a playwright.

I've never read C.P. Snow's "The Two Cultures" nor F.R. Leavis' response, though I'm familiar with the territory, enough so to cringe in embarrassment when the subject comes up. I've read enough Steven Weinberg and Allan Sokal and I've had fun reading the debates between R.C. Lewontin and M.F. Perutz in the N.Y. Review.

Science is constructed out of mathematics and logical form; our legal system is constructed out of rigorously formal structures and and role-playing games. I have as much patience for fuzzy defenses of literary truth as I do for the programmatic banalities of science, but has anyone recently bothered to mount a defense of humanism not by way of the questionable logic of literature and dreams but by the almost universally accepted -but theatrical and ridiculous- logic of law?

I have no interest in and make no defense of literary truth. There is no such thing. But our idea of justice is predicated on a regulated and monitored -refereed- struggle between two formally, artificially, opposed and therefore rhetorical and literary proclamations of truth. In a very real sense it doesn't matter if one side represents the truth or not. That's why we describe it as the right to "due process." There's no way to escape the the category of literary presentation as it applies to law. The literary sensibility trumps the scientific, not because the literary truth is a higher truth, but because the only truth -as we can know it- is the result of the struggle between opposing semi-fictions. The system defines truth, trumping the individual consciousness- individual truth- in the process. I no of no scientist who has ever argued against our legal system on the grounds of its illogical methodology.

Science is alinguistic, it can be performed by individuals.  Law -and the communication of scientific principles by way of language- is a collective activity.
enough for now. But I'm still annoyed by the modernist tendency to think of objects and things, concepts and ideas, as opposed to the struggle between/among them. Even consciousness is a defined as a 'thing,' but it's not: it's the state -the moment- of struggle beween logic (empirically justified) and conditioned response. It's not a thing it's a space between things, a process in time.
For me it all begins here.

I've also added a link to Fafblog.

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