Monday, June 21, 2021

Take away the sophistication of the language and the argument itself is at the level a bright and very serious 20-year-old.  

Marx and Nietzsche, the two lodestars of modern philosophical anthropology, differ most interestingly not in their moral outlooks--which are indeed contradictory--but in their explanatory methods. Marx has, as it were, no psychology, only an anthropology and economics, while Nietzsche relies almost exclusively on explanation in terms of individual psychology, appearing at times willfully blind to social and economic causes. This difference is most apparent in their contrasting approaches to human suffering. Marx understands suffering to be primarily a consequence of socio-economic circumstances, while Nietzsche traces it primarily to defects in individual psychology and physiology (the latter manifesting themselves at the psychological level). To put it crudely, for Nietzsche, most people are by nature “sick” and thus disposed to suffer, regardless of socio-economic circumstances, while for Marx, people’s suffering is an artifact of their socio-economic circumstances, and thus amenable to amelioration. 

I consider various kinds of evidence for Nietzsche’s thesis—including the existence of religious orthodoxy among the affluent; the social phenomenon of “aggrievement hunters”; and the prevalence of ascetic moralities and of non-guilty means for assuaging suffering—concluding that it does not clearly support Nietzsche’s explanation for suffering against Marx’s. Along the way, I show that Nietzsche (like Marx) views religion as an “opiate,” but (unlike Marx) he deems it a necessary one given the socio-economic prerequisites for great culture. I also examine Nietzsche’s opposition to blame for suffering. I conclude with a diagnosis of Nietzsche’s own antipathy towards the “sick” as a kind of Freudian reaction formation.

Most bright, serious 20-year-olds would disagree with Leiter's claim that "Marx’s general view about suffering... has prevailed in popular culture", but so does Leiter, which is why the paper is marked "not for quotation or citation". It's a draft; the line won't last. 

Nietzsche allows here that some human misery is due to socio-economic causes, but denies, by implicature, that all is--and that would clearly be true if most people suffer because of their innate condition.

Implication  The conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.
Implicature  The action of implying a meaning beyond the literal sense of what is explicitly stated.
Both definition from Oxford Languages.
Re-nouning a verb form. 

Implicature dates from 1975.  (Grice)
What's a distanced understanding of distancing as methodology? Is it Marxist? Nietzschean? Freudian?

repeats, ad infinitum:
Thoughts have become concepts.
Concepts are called objects.
Writers of financial contracts are called financial engineers.
Contracts are called instruments.
Banking has become an industry.
Politics and economics are called science.
Rationalism has become empiricism.
Metaphysics has become physics.

All that is solid melts into air, and all that is ephemeral becomes material.
Late capitalism as 12th century nonsense, without irony.

I shall make a poem out of [about] nothing at all:
It will not speak of me or others,
Of love or youth, or of anything else,
For it was composed while I was asleep
Riding on horseback.

"Capitalism, in an irony Marx would have enjoyed, returns us to the ancient past, the Bronze Age: the age of stories. The Golden Age is the age of kings, or at the very least aristocrats; capitalism at its grandest is gilded. Architects now are stage designers. The museum of capitalism is the shopping mall, our greatest art made from the conversations of observers of the scene, sitting and talking under the palm trees at Starbucks."

Leiter's on a roll.

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