Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Okay, maybe I was guilty of obfuscation in my last blog. I gave a shout-out to Marx and Socialism, but it was also meant as a sly tip of the hat to Hegel, my preferred 19th-century German metaphysical Idealist, and Hilary Putnam, my preferred 20th-century metaphysical "non-realist" and philospher of language and science. I'm not prepared to say I am a dyed-in-the-wool Socialist, but it sure beats free markets.

The very notion of "free markets" is nonsensical. As if each unique "actor" in the economic world exists in the same uniform physical, cultural, and language vacuum as every other! Each market is better conceived as a set of living ideas and principles, a breath of fresh logic, and a unique ecosystem, one manifold of limitations and shortages, but certainly not something that can escape its own laws. Those laws are no more susceptible to nullification than thermodynamics is in a physical system.

What does it mean when we are at odds with our "influences"? Do deconstructionists really hate structuralists?! Did old-school Marxists revile Hegel, even as they borrowed and tweaked many of his ideas?! Do contemporary leftists hate socialism?! Do those guys who spin dubstep now hate junglists? Hell no. The dialogue continues, new ideas are born, but we give respect to our influences.

Of course, some people miss the boat completely (e.g., free market people, social conservatives). These people are NOT part of our school!!! They are NOT our homeys!!!

In the name of cutting down on obfuscation, allow me to cite a Hegel quote singled out by the boys at Wikipedia (from Part One of the Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences):

"... a much misunderstood phenomenon in the history of philosophy — the refutation of one system by another, of an earlier by a later. Most commonly the refutation is taken in a purely negative sense to mean that the system refuted has ceased to count for anything, has been set aside and done for. Were it so, the history of philosophy would be, of all studies, most saddening, displaying, as it does, the refutation of every system which time has brought forth. Now although it may be admitted that every philosophy has been refuted, it must be in an equal degree maintained that no philosophy has been refuted. And that in two ways. For first, every philosophy that deserves the name always embodies the Idea: and secondly, every system represents one particular factor or particular stage in the evolution of the Idea. The refutation of a philosophy, therefore, only means that its barriers are crossed, and its special principle reduced to a factor in the completer principle that follows"

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

You are too smart for your own good.

P.S. I adore you. xx