Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A commentor at Crooked Timber, damning me with faint praise
But he’s also basically right on a fairly standard account. Works-of-art involve “ideas” in the Kantian sense, but not in the sense that their “ideas” can be cashed out or encapsulated in standardly cognitive concepts. (And the extent to which they can be so encapsulated counts against the quality of such works, renders them mechanical rather than “organic”,- which, incidentally, is part of the standard objection to allegory). Yes, their reading/reception involves a “play” of our cognitive faculties, but in the mode of reflective and not determinate judgment, as purposeful purposelessness, not subservient to referential functioning.
"Works of art" as opposed to other things, like the Constitution?
Does Nino Scalia lie to himself or only to others?
Repeats: Brad DeLong fundamentalist.
More recently: Richard Taruskin and Jack Balkin.

If it's not written in numerical form, you can't cash it. Nothing "means" now what it "meant" in the past. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, absent later amendments, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, and Beethoven's Eroica are not now what they were in 1805. Nothing in the future will "mean" what it does now.

I'm not going to leave this up for long. It's not worth it.
Maybe I will.

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