Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Maybe it all begins with dualism: the continuation of religion by other means. The humanist materialism of the Renaissance wasn't enough.

Lawyers have/use/act through "Metis," scientists do not. Lawyers act half blind pursuing not truth but a secondary goal and using every rhetorical trick they can muster, with imperfect justice/"truth" the result of interaction. Artists and critics act in concert and opposition as the intellectual reflections of historians are founded on the actions of those who often do not share their interests. What happens when the importance of this opposition is denied? When critics talk only to critics it's called "philosophy", which has its purpose, but is then in danger of becoming merely scholastic. Scholasticism in technique, in craft, is one thing—you can't deny subjective influence in a process that is based on doubt—but scholasticism in the pursuit of absolutes another. An aggressive Kasparov will always end up having to be meet a cautious and patient Karpov; a player with a two handed backhand will always face a slice; foundations will always be tested. Fear of a Gordian knot isn't secret or hidden: it's the only fear that matters.

History is the intellectualism of insecure foundations. Academic philosophy is the intellectualism of dubious foundationalism, part and parcel of American self-absorption and naivete.

How do you recognize when a system has become little more than self-perpetuating formalism? When does the rule of reason become the rule of the reasonable?

The rhetoric of objectivity begins with dualism, with anti-determinism being not a goal but a moral necessity, an act of faith.

My comments Crooked Timber were sloppy.

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