Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Of peppers, grapes, and philosophy

Continental Writing from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects

One of the problems with Continental writing is that it is unreadable to anyone who lacks an extensive background in the history of philosophy. It is difficult, for example, to pick up a copy of Derrida’s Speech and Phenomena without already having a deep familiarity with the work of Husserl, and it is difficult to pick up Husserl without already having a background in a whole host of philosophical texts. Increasingly I have students approach me remarking that they have bought my book, Difference and Givenness. Every time I hear this I cringe with shame and embarrassment. What value could this book possibly have for them outside of a deep acquaintance with the work of Deleuze and familiarity with Kant, Bergson, Hegel, etc? I feel as if I’m wasting their money and the money of anyone who is not steeped in Deleuze.

I would like to write a book that anyone could pick up, regardless of whether or not they have a philosophical background. When I fantasize about writing such a book I am not fantasizing about writing a book that is “easy” or “clear”. Rather I am fantasizing about a book that could function as an element of other assemblages or networks without the reader already having to be linked in to a pre-existent and extensive network characterized by the history of philosophy... Is it possible, today, to write in the fashion of a Descartes, Spinoza, or Hume?

from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects

Husserl begins with an obvious thesis – “look at the things themselves!” – yet in executing this project he unsettles our assumptions about what it is to experience the world and objects, opening a vast domain that continues to challenge central assumptions in cognitive science, psychology, the social sciences, etc. [5:27 AM]

From: Jitendra Nath Mohanty - Phenomenology. Between essentialism and transcendental philosophy - Chapter 3: Nicolai Hartmann's phenomenological ontology - Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 1997 pp. 26-27. [6:40 PM]

One of the errors of phenomenology — including both Husserl's and Scheler's — is that when it regards itself as investigation into essences, as distinguished from existence (as a consequence of eidetic reduction), it forgets that essences also have their Dasein (existence) and their Sosein, that Dasein is not as such real existence. There is also, as with essences and mathematical idealities such as numbers, and values, ideal Dasein.

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