OP-1 Is the Instrument, Not the Opus
18 hours ago
[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.
[A] single word has the power to alter our whole perception of another person—and possibly sour the relationship before it even begins. When we hear a description of someone, no matter how brief, it inevitably shapes our experience of that person.Fair enough, and of course this result is congenial to anyone suspicious of, say, the neutral Given. Here's their example (pp. 73-4):
Think how often we diagnose a person based on a casual description. Imagine you're set up on a blind date with a friend of a friend. When the big night arrives, you meet your date at a restaurant and make small talk while you wait for the appetizer to arrive. "So," you say, "what do you have planned for this weekend?" "Oh, probably what I do every weekend: stay home and read Hegel," your date responds with a straight face. Because your mutual friend described your date as "smart, funny, and interesting," you laugh, thinking to yourself that your friend was right, this person's deadpan sense of humor is right up your alley. And just like that, the date is off to a promising start. But what if the friend had described your date as "smart, serious, and interesting"? In that light, you might interpret the comment as genuine and instead think "How much Hegel can one person read?" Your entire perception of your date would be clouded; you'd spend the rest of dinner wracking your brain over the difference between Heidegger and Hegel and leave without ordering dessert.Because of course no one who's smart, funny, and interesting could ever spend his or her weekends reading Hegel. That'd be crazy!
Yes, I'm currently rereading Glauben und Wissen – usually translated Faith and Knowledge, but "Glauben" means "belief" as well as "faith" – because I really think Hegel's conception of skepticism, especially early on, before the Phenomenology, is key to any really useful contemporary appropriation of his views.Now I've learned something: she's probably serious (be still, my heart!). It could still be a joke; but even if so, I've learned that a) she knows something about Hegel, so she can't think it would be crazy to spend one's weekends on him; and b) her sense of humor is such as to try to squeeze every last drop of irony from one's facetious suggestions.