Saturday, December 19, 2009

From 2004
On Rorty. The problem isn't anti-foundationalism it's anti-foundationalist philosophy. Philosophy is foundationalist by nature. Anti-foundationalist philosophy as an independent study as opposed to a philosophy of other subjects, of law, history, literature etc. is predicated on a return to control of an illusory enlightened awareness, as if the recognition somehow resolves the loss. The commingling of rationalism and anti-foundationalism is at the root -is the foundation, relatively speaking- of all the violent metaphysics of the European avant garde, both left and right. And Habermas is a nice guy, but so what?

Charlie Chaplin stands on a stage made of ice. He slips and falls. He gets up. He slips and falls again. He loses control. He negotiates with the inevitable. We laugh at him and at ourselves. Theater is anti-foundationalist, a winking lie. Common law like democracy itself is anti-foundationalist. It's not based on 'Truth' but on getting along.
So why the ridgidity of the British class system? That's for history and literature not philosophy.
The anti-foundationalism of craft is manifest only in practice. The facts of Avatar are the practice of corporate capitalism, high technology and personal (and vindictive) authoritarian individualism in the production of images of the tragic loss of a (fictitious) natural collectivist utopia. The film's ideas are as bound together with the means of their dissemination as those in any book by a professional philosopher. If only the reviewers of such books were as self-aware as film critics.

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