Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Manfred Frank makes an important distinction

In The Subject and the Text, currently available only in a shamefully expensive hardcover edition from Cambridge, Manfred Frank tries to show how well Friedrich Schleiermacher "lends himself to getting the dialogue moving" between certain contemporary philosophical movements.
[In a few countries] there have been fruitful discussions between positions of analytical philosophy and of phenomenological hermeneutics. But the few, timorous attempts to initiate a discussion between representatives of these two movements and French post-structuralist semiologists have met with almost no response. [p. 1]
I'm not sure I would characterize What is Neo-structuralism? as "timorous", exactly. Maybe he's referring to attempts other than his own. In any case, a footnote insists on an important distinction to be made here.
My respect for the representatives of this direction of thought calls for a distinction to be made between them and those befuddled opponents of enlightenment (allegedly) following in Foucault's footsteps and above all the intellectual Calibans of the 'Anti-Oedipus', whose garbled 'discourses' one can hardly study without experiencing the sort of pleasure that Schopenhauer felt when reading Hegel.
From my brief perusal of that volume some time ago, I don't remember What is Neo-structuralism? being so harsh on Deleuze. "Intellectual Calibans," phew! I wonder what exactly set him off.

And unfortunately Google Books allows only brief glimpses of The Subject and the Text. So we'll have to leave it at that for now.


Roman Altshuler said...

Maybe he likes Deleuze but can't stand the Anti-Oedipus crowd (or maybe he just can't stand Guattari--I know that feeling!). That would be somewhat analogous to what seems to be going in the previous remark, where he rejects the "alleged" Foucauldians without rejecting Foucault.

Duck said...

Thanks Roman, I'm sure you're right. I'm still not sure who the "Anti-Oedipus crowd" is (thanks to my distance from that general area), but I think we can assume that two (D & G) are not a "crowd."

As for G himself, I can understand that feeling (I don't get AO at all, for one thing), but I think I'd still rather have A Thousand Plateaus than not – there are some good bits in there.