Monday, June 01, 2009

Was John Mortimer an Irrationalist?

Elsewhere, in response to a question.
Make it Idiot-proof V:

I would say what needs to happen, and what is happening, is a return to an idea of social self-fashioning. How do we define our relationship to one another? Are we monads or do we exist, as we measure ourselves, only through others?
We're moving away from the modern fixation on 'truth' and back towards a more humanist attention to doubt and its pleasures. This has nothing to do with religion per se
Doing these cases,” he wrote, “I began to find myself in a dangerous situation as an advocate. I came to believe in the truth of what I was saying. I was no longer entirely what my professional duties demanded, the old taxi on the rank waiting for the client to open the door and give his instruction, prepared to drive off in any direction, with the disbelief suspended."
[previously linked here]
John Mortimer was a craftsman, as a lawyer and a novelist. Truth wasn't his job, more than to play a part in revealing its approximation, for the moment.
I'm not going to go out of my way to give credit to John Holbo and Belle Waring for their geeks fondness for craftsmanship, but they're winding his way in Mortimer's direction (as in one way we all are)

I'm not interested in solving questions once and for all, that's a Liberal's fixation. I'm more interested in trying to make sure that future generations will have the flexible imaginations to think clearly and deal with ambiguities as they arrive.
The classic defense of the free market is that its openness and vulgarity act as an astringent, testing and tightening thought what would otherwise risk becoming arid blather. But now that the market has reached the academy it wants to escape its roots. So we have an academy predicated not on the hopes of the humanities and of democracy but on the technocratic logic of reactionary schoolmen.
The second age of the schoolmen is ending.

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