Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Crisis in the Market and in the Academy

"The question here is what better describes the current situation.
Is it A: A lack of data which science and bla bla bla will help us to bla bla bla until we are able to bla bla bla to a new scientific understanding?
Or is it B: The population of his fucking country is so divided among delusional Lay-Z-Boy riding frontiersmen, a reactionary peasantry, and condescending intellectual pseudo-aristocrats with fixations on Bloomsbury (without the sex) that nothing is going to get done?"
A comment -since removed- made here.
I made others that were better received, at least by readers.

Writing, rewriting. Too sloppy, too slick. Too casual, too tight. Later.
A good time or better to revisit my problems with academic political discussions. Ingrid Robeyns' bookish anxiety is really annoying.
It's a discussion of political ideas held in the context of a very real crisis. But the crisis concerns less a lack of ideas -the majority of economists seem to be in agreement- than the fact that our political class is divided between the corrupt and the cowardly. The crisis becomes an excuse to have a discussion of academic interests that bear only secondary relation to the situation on the ground. Yet the tone is panicked. This discussion replaces a discussion of political maturity that will not happen because maturity is too amorphous an idea for a philosopher to grasp. Formalist academics are fundamentally immature -formalism is childish- and since such a discussion is off limits they're unable to recognize what they represent.
There are two kinds of narcissism, The narcissism of those who do nothing but stare in the mirror, and the narcissism of those who never have and never will.

Discussions of ideas constructed from ideas are the discussions of specialists. Discussions of cowardice and courage, discussion of ideas built on acts, can use the common language. The common language is where this discussion belongs. This isn't a defense of "theory" as opposed to "analysis" but as I said in another comment, at least Althusser came clean in the end.
Precision is desirable to most people only as the capacity for precise description, but precisionism is a value system: a moral esthetic, and a brittle one.
All conversation is social bonding. New threats need to be responded to by the existing social/linguistic order. That's the root of Robeyns' anxious questions.

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