From the L'Immoraliste - Derrida Deconstruction Explained in One Paragraph

seymourblogger's picture
Submitted by seymourblogger on Tue, 2012-02-21 00:37

limmoraliste.tumblr.com
ABOUT
L'IMMORALISTE

These deniers and outsiders of today, these absolutists in a single respect--in their claim to intellectual hygiene--these hard, severe, abstemious, heroic spirits, who constitute the pride of our age, all these pale atheists, anti-Christians, immoralists, nihilists, these spiritual sceptics, ephectics, hectic ones (for this is what they all are in some sense or other); these last idealists of knowledge, these men in whom the intellectual conscience is alone embodied and dwells today--they believe themselves to be as free as possible from the ascetic ideal, these 'free, very free spirits': and yet, if I may reveal to them what they themselves cannot see--for they are too close to themselves--: this self-same ideal is their ideal too, they themselves are perhaps its sole representatives today, they themselves are its most spiritualized product, its most advanced party of warriors and scouts, its most insidious, most delicate, least tangible form of seduction--

if I am in anything a solver of enigmas, then let me be so now with this proposition!... These men are far from free spirits: for they still believe in the truth!...

Leonard Lawlor in his introduction to Jacques Derrida’s Voice and Phenomenon
Welp, so much for that “philosophical obscurantism” I keep hearing everyone level at Derrida…
___________________________________________________________________________________—-
“Obscurantism” is a criticism leveled unthinkingly by people who haven’t bothered to attempt to understand what they read or quote out of context.

Take any oppositional binary (e.g., male/female; spirit/matter; white/black; Christian/Jew; us/them; human/animal). In any binary, one term is always privileged and valorized while the other is marginalized (culturally, religiously, symbolically, linguistically, etc.). This, by the way, is the basic structure of logocentrism.
Deconstruction traces how the privileged “term” is actually predicated upon its necessary supplement (the lower “term”). The problem—or the trick—is to always remember that all of this happens (even) without human intervention: logocentrism always occurs as does deconstruction. The basic structures of meaning erect themselves upon necessarily faulty foundations.

In the first binary, “male” gets culturally privileged while “female” gets marginalized. But to have a male (person) in the first place requires the participation of a female (person). They are not merely opposites but necessary supplements as well.
Nothing could be simpler.

- The Immoralist


I like your father already...

Olivia's picture

She strikes me as what my father would have called "a tough broad." Of course, I would never use a sexist expression like that, so don't kill the messenger.

How I miss sexist expressions! Linz is the only one who dishes them out nowadays. Eye

Scherky:

My liking for people does not always prevent me from getting nasty, mostly in service of satirizing that which offends me. Once I called Olivia Oblivia ... and I never expect to be liked back, not in this ugly world.

That's all fine. Let's just accept then, that name-calling and incivility are not unpardonable sins on Solo. All adds to the theatrical nature of life after-all. Did I not offer to show you around my city when you visit NZ? Even though you referred to me as Oblivia. The offer still stands if you promise not to behave yourself too much, but I must insist on a name-change. Lady Slapper will do.

Close Miss. Janet....

Olivia's picture

I have defended Olivia from you, but reluctantly, as she name calls with the best of them without provocation, her only reason seeming to be that she does not understand what is being said and therefore waves it away like a bothersome insect.

but not quite right.

I do wave you away like a bothersome insect, but that is because you don't make sense to me - you certainly don't write it. I have learned to not even try to understand people who don't make good sense right off the bat - I consider it a waste of my heart and mind to even begin applying myself to poop - and there is just too much of that around now. One only has so much time.

You have far too much intellectual vanity about you (vanity as in emptiness), your studies in post-modernism and the 20th century philosophers have addled your mind, or at least your ability to lay forth a case clearly. There is no reason for me to respect that.

Your vanity will always tell you that people wave you away because "they don't understand" the great intellectual force that is Janet. Truth is darling, you are highly unintelligible. People lose patience with it, except for one George. H. Smith and the one-and-only Scherky, both fresh from the Swamp.

Scherk the Swamp Creature

George H. Smith's picture

Scherk the Swamp Creature wrote:

Though I have tangled with and said nasty things about Olivia, I like her.

I suspect I would like Olivia as well, were I to read some of her substantive posts. She strikes me as what my father would have called "a tough broad." Of course, I would never use a sexist expression like that, so don't kill the messenger. Eye

Ghs

With her pinup..

Jules Troy's picture

She aspires to be the posterchild for Dadaism.

Ne'er ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... was a truer word spoken than these by Mr Smith:

Academic philosophers probably spout more BS per capita than any other intellectual profession, including theology. Academic sociologists are a close competitor, however.

Janet, your pin-ups are charlatans, and you are a defecator of drivel.

Janet

George H. Smith's picture

Janet,

I have worked closely with academics for four decades, and during that time I have probably averaged at least two hours per day reading academic books in philosophy, history, sociology, and economics. There are many fine academics, but there are also many buffoons. (Generally speaking, I would say that academic historians are the best of the lot, by far.)

I once had a discussion with a professor of economics at a major university -- a guy who had been teaching economics for over 15 years. When I asked him what he thought of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, he replied that he didn't think we had much to learn from 19th century economists. When I gently corrected him, pointing out that Adam Smith lived during the 18th century and that WN was published in 1776, the professor looked very surprised and said, "Really?"

He wasn't joking. Although I don't expect every economist to be an expert on Adam Smith, I do expect them to know the century of the most influential economist who ever lived.

During a summer conference during the 1980s, an economist friend of mine took me to her university and introduced me to a Nobel Laureate in economics. The guy was a pretentious twit. During our conversation, when he repeated an obvious but major error for the second time, I politely corrected him. He turned beet-red, and walked away in a huff.

I have had numerous public debates with the chairmen of various philosophy departments, including those at USC, the University of Arizona, and Cal State Long Beach. None of them was especially formidable. In fact, two of them were relatively easy prey.

If you want to genuflect before credentialed fools, be my guest. But take your reverence for credentials elsewhere, to someone who doesn't know any better.

Ghs

Swamp talk

William Scott Scherk's picture

I gotta say in passing that I like a lot of the personas at SOLO. Though I have tangled with and said nasty things about Olivia, I like her. I like Jameson (though there were nasties). I like Ross and more than a handful of others who have been active here since I first joined -- including some who are active elsewhere but keep in touch. All of the folks I am thinking of have tangled with me one or had their behaviour mocked by me. Some folks can be gritty, mouthy, even nasty, but be quite likeable.

If this is the most open Objectivish site out there (not ranking OL, which patrols against Branden Bashers but has only two bans), as matched with what, I ask? Diana Hsieh, closed. OOnline, closed-ish (Ninth, Diana, me, Jonathan, other swamp people post there, but no open Rand-deniers or whosis folk like Bugsy here would be tolerated). HBL, no question, closed like a sphincter. Betsy Speicher, yeah, tight, pursed (WSS not allowed. Many pre-banned people). RoR, indubitably not more open than SOLO: many are exiled to Dissent or self-purge before deportation. What else is out there with a hint of an audience? The said-to-be-beyond-dire ARCHN has few bans or much moderation save on tolerance of personal attacks but has small audience. Where is the Big Tent these days?

I can get on RoR, but restrict myself to Dissent, I am on OL, banned at Noodlefood, twice banned at SOLO, free to post at OO and ARCHNN, pre-banned at Betsy's. Which is the most open?

SOLO is only as open as its list of banned people, its reviled, its excoriated, those who are assumed to be operating in bad faith or who are assumed to be fully evul, and its own castaways. The reason Barbara does not post here is not interesting in itself, but there is also a lingering mutual ban between Lindsay Perigo and Michael Stuart Kelly. It is not a rivalry, not a hatefest, not a high-school wrestling league, but it does get harsh at times. There are other banned folk intertwined in the long history. Some stayed on the the original liner at RoR, which continues to take water, some swam to OL. Some beached at SOLO and were later booted off. No openness really exists between rival islands of opinion or stance but at the edges. Some are persuaded or fully pledge allegiance to one potentate or another, some never see the next village, or change their sport teams. Sometimes divisions get further nastified. Some dodge sniper fire. Some get mean. Many have walked the plank. (and now of course, the embarrassing Hsieh take-down site, tolerated by ARI, where no comment is allowed at all)

My liking for people does not always prevent me from getting nasty, mostly in service of satirizing that which offends me. Once I called Olivia Oblivia ... and I never expect to be liked back, not in this ugly world.

Janet, thanks for your last comment here. It was terse, but lyrical, and a lovely memoirish entry in itself. You have many voices. This is an interesting part of you, your stories of yourself and your deep engagements.

You got an audience, lady. Select your voice.

As promised, and long overdue, I will return for my Linz-lashing with my objections to Objectivism. Under 599 words.

george you can really only snoot academics

seymourblogger's picture

when you have equal credentials. You don't so it always sounds like sour grapes.

Take my advice on the Simpsons. You have a winner there.

Get a PhD and Janet will follow you anywhere....

George H. Smith's picture

Janet wrote:

You had better tell...profs who teach seminars all across europe and the US that deconstruction is not valid. I am sure they would want to know that, so they can stop giving PhD and tenure to professors who teach it. Golly gee hurry and tell them.

As you may have guessed by now, I am not impressed by academic credentials, especially in the field of philosophy. Academic philosophers probably spout more BS per capita than any other intellectual profession, including theology. Academic sociologists are a close competitor, however.

But if you are so impressed by credentials, then by all means let the profs do your thinking for you. Then you can simply regurgitate whatever you happen to read or hear.

As Bertrand Russell once said, most people would rather die than think; in fact, many do. He had a point.

Ghs

george you had better tell Deleuze and Derrida

seymourblogger's picture

(you can go to hell to tall them) and all their folowers, the profs who teach seminars all across europe and the US that deconstruction is not valid. I am sure they would want to know that, so they can stop giving PhD and tenure to professors who teach it. Golly gee hurry and tell them.

George I have no doubt I would have loved your book

seymourblogger's picture

a very long time ago.

I never had a problem with god versus atheism. I was never in the throes of indecision. I rarely went to Sunday school and then only to be with my friends. My grandparents were Unitarians. My father sat on the fence of agnosticism, but when I would almost die of asthma he would recite the 23rd psalm until I can never forget it.

Here's how it went down for me:

I went to Denison University my freshman year. My Western civilization professor was a young doctorate lecturer then, Robert Seeger, out of World War II having studied with Burns at Rutgers. We used Burns' text which I never read. It was too hard for me and I wasn't motivated.

He was such a wonderful and charismatic lecturer that his students today still mention him in the alumni zine.
I was completely in love, enthralled with his every word.

One day in the fall, a warm day, he got to Christianity and its quality of eclecticism. It incorporated the best of mystery religions, and paganism to so amalgamate all of them to appeal to the widest demographic in the Roman Empire.

Ah so, I thought. It was a manufactured religion. How clever. So that is what the god stuff is really all about. It's all just made up.

Of course my logic was terribly screwed up and erroneous. But what happened was that my beliefs went pouf! I came back to my dorm and sitting on the lawn outside was a friend and her boyfriend from Grosse Point MI, the son of a prominent minister there, which I didn't know at the time.

I sat down and with great aplomb said I didn't believe in god anymore and proceeded to say why. Whereupon my friend and her bf began to argue with me about my reasoning.

They were probably correct, but it was my belief that had changed, and no logic was going to put a chink in that.

That was the end of it for me.

I did go to church for a short while in Philadelphia to hear the charismatic minister of the Presbyterian church, the old Seaman's Church in Philly where so many famous people are buried. He was marvelous starting with about 8 people in the pews for his first sermon and when I went, at the end of his tenure there, hanging from the rafters. He was wooed away by a Fifth Avenue church in NYC who offered him the moon to come. He had repeatedly turned them down. He decided to go because they had a traditional Christmas Eve service where everyone brought their animals to be blessed.

While he was phasing out it was there I heard a beautiful young woman from Princeton seminary give an extraordinary sermon on the saving of the British soldiers in the evacuation of Dunkirk.

How could I not love someone like that. When he first came his children bathed nude in their outside swimming pool. When he preached of the homeless and the hypocrisy of his members, they turned the church into a place for sleeping on cold winter nights. He was a much loved man.

What does this have to do with a belief in god or atheism? I just loved listening to them. and the one who took his place temporarily was an old bore.

Just like me, eh George. Not a question.

george excellent excellent link

seymourblogger's picture

Yes yes yes through the Simpsons. Perfect.

This is the beginning of the way to do it. The linked pages in the book are wonderful.

What I have problem with is the style. It is all in the dialectic of comparison and contrast.

Looking at it through a post modern lens, we see that it says one thing while implying the opposite. So it can be taken as subversive or as upholding family and religious values. In Lacanian language it is full of "floating signs" masking reality that shifts and changes in the viewer's perception of it.

As Guy de Maupassant said over 100 years ago in Bel Ami as a seasoned journalist gives adive to the neophyte Georges Duroy:

Following Baudrillard in the instructions given to him for his journalism:

Things should be hinted at in such a manner as to allow of any construction being placed on them, refuted in a manner that confirms the rumor, or affirmed in such a way that no one believes them. (BA 120 1910 ed)

Here's the link: http://moviesandfilm.blogspot....

If you want a big new blockbuster seller of atheism vs religion "reading through the Simpsons" you've got it. By George, you've got it. Perfect.

It would make a wonderful blog with youtube excerpts showing the oscillating "floating signs" affirming, denying, masking, etc of atheism and religion. Work it out on blogspot and I bet you get a hefty book offer.

Nice going.

I feel so much better now...

George H. Smith's picture

Janet wrote:

I am not engaging you within the dialectic.

Thanks for clearing that up. You really had me confused for a while.

Ghs

Janet's Grand Plan

George H. Smith's picture

BTW I know exactly why you are stalking me. I congratulate you on being the only one with enough intelligence to know where I am going with this.

Uh, you are planning to take over the world. Right? If you succeed, however, you will need a lot of shopping carts to carry all your stuff.

Ghs

Maybe this will impress Janet....

George H. Smith's picture

You keep name dropping all the people who liked your book. My back is starting to hurt as I have to pick them up off the floor.

Oh, but you misunderstand! As evidenced by your posting of a lukewarm Amazon review of ATCAG -- a book you have not even read -- you are a person who obviously doesn't know what to think until you find someone to tell you. I am therefore attempting to help both of us out by finding some "authorities" who will impress you enough to like rather than dislike a book you have never read. I have told you how much your opinion means to me; and if I succeed in my mission, you will be able to praise my book without straining your fragile brain by reading it.

If what I have posted so far didn't impress you enough to change your second-hand opinion of a book you have never read, maybe this will work better. Some years ago I was interviewed by Mark Pinsky, who then quoted me in his best-seller, The Gospel According to the Simpsons. See:

http://books.google.com/books?...

Now it is virtually self-evident that only a world-class intellectual would be quoted in a book on The Simpsons. Are you not impressed? If not, I know of some YouTube endorsements that might do the trick.

Social metaphysicans of the world, unite!

Ghs

george I am not

seymourblogger's picture

engaging you within the dialectic.

george I have no doubt you want to impress me

seymourblogger's picture

Are you impressed yet? I want to impress you oh-so-very-very-much. My life will not be complete until I impress you.

You keep name dropping all the people who liked your book. My back is starting to hurt as I have to pick them up off the floor.

Please understand that I am not pro-atheism nor anti-atheism.

I am simply indifferent. I never think about it. It is not on my radar at all. I made up my mind a long time ago about the existence of god. Now I don't think about it.

Do you think about brushing your teeth every day?

Yeh. I guess you do.

BTW I know exactly why you are stalking me. I congratulate you on being the only one with enough intelligence to know where I am going with this.

Another attempt to impress Janet

George H. Smith's picture

Janet wrote:

not impressed with those credentials. He holds no credibility for me.

ATCAG got a favorable review in the Christian Century. The reviewer was Professor Donald G. Bloesch, author of the two-volume Essentials of Evangelical Theology and the author or editor of many other books. Bloesch was Professor of Evangelical Theology at Dubuque Theological Seminary, and president of the Midwest Division of the American Theological Society. The Wiki article on Bloesch calls him a "noted American evangelical theologian." You can also find a list of his many published writings in that article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D...

Bloesch concluded his review by saying that ATCAG "should be taken seriously by Christian theologians."

Are you impressed yet? I want to impress you oh-so-very-very-much. My life will not be complete until I impress you.

Ghs

Ghs's reply to Janet

Xray's picture

George H. Smith wrote (on Wed, 2012-02-22 10:50):
[replying to Janet]: You have zero understanding of Rand -- as evidenced by your comparison of remarks by her and Burroughs -- so you have no business comparing her ideas to anyone else's. (end quote)

Janet,
What do you think Rand would have replied to the statement "An object does not exist until and unless it is observed?"
Don't you realize that this is diametrically opposed to Objectivist thought?

george already checked him out

seymourblogger's picture

not impressed with those credentials. He holds no credibility for me. I an sure he does for you. Now if it had been the late great Paul Tillich............

I'm not discounting your influence with struggling newbies.

Marcus

George H. Smith's picture

Marcus,

You are right, of course.

Deconstructionists typically have no respect for definitions and clarity of expression. They wander all over the place, and it can be nearly impossible to pin them down. Their supposedly profound insights are typically nothing more than illicit conclusions drawn from trite, commonplace observations about language. Along the same lines, but much better in many ways, was the "ordinary language philosophy" (or "linguistic analysis") inspired by the later Wittgenstein. What deconstructionists called "oppositional binaries," the analysts sometimes called "polar concepts." Moreover, a point made by ordinary language philosophers in 10 words took deconstructionists 100 words to say -- and even then the latter could barely write a coherent sentence.

Anyone who takes a few seconds to look at the "oppositional binaries" mentioned in the headline post of this thread will quickly discover than some are contradictories (e.g., us/them), some are contraries (e.g., Christian/Jew -- one presumably cannot be a Christian and a Jew at the same time, but one needn't be either), whereas at least one does not consist of mutually exclusive terms at all (human/animal -- something can be be both).

Nothing useful will emerge from an analysis of a mongrel list of this sort. And as you pointed out, some of these distinctions are not value-laden at all. The whole thing is a mess.

Ghs

How about...

Marcus's picture

...these oppositional binaries.... Standing/ Seated, Clothed/ Naked, Careful/ Carefree, Alert/ Calm.

There doesn't seem to be one more privileged “term” than the other.

Hey, Janet!Since you are so

George H. Smith's picture

Hey, Janet!

Since you are so impressed with secondary source evaluations, how about this from the Wiki article on Dr. Greg Bahnsen. The article begins:

Greg L. Bahnsen (September 17, 1948 – December 11, 1995) was an influential Calvinist philosopher, apologist, and debater. He was an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and a full time Scholar in Residence for the Southern California Center for Christian Studies.

Later, the article continues:

Bahnsen is perhaps best known for his debates with such leading atheists as George H. Smith, Gordon Stein, and Edward Tabash.

Wow! According to this Wiki article -- and I will trade you 10 Amazon reviews for one Wiki article any day -- I am not only an atheist, but also a "leading" atheist. Indeed, Bahnsen, who was very well known in theological circles, was "perhaps best known" for three debates, one of which he had with wondeful me!

Are you not mightily impressed with the evaluation of some writer you have never heard of? I sure am, especially when it works in my favor. Eye

Ghs

Awe man!!

Jules Troy's picture

Just when I thought there would be intelligent conversation on a Janet blog, Janet had to ruin it by posting on it!

George H. Smith has not

seymourblogger's picture

George H. Smith has not created any blog entries.

You should make a little effort to get your facts straight, e.g.: I actually posted quite a bit on SOLO prior to my recent appearance, though not for a long time.

Perhaps I should have said blog posts. You are using posts when you mean comments. Yes you have in the past commented and have just returned to stalk me. But you have made no blog posts.

My facts are correct and you are spinning on definitions.

Anyone can check your profile and see that you have done nothing here of any original value except make comments and primarily nasty ones.

Janet wrote:The late Dr.

George H. Smith's picture

Janet wrote:

I must say extremely valuable and insightful to whom? Not to any people I know.

The late Dr. Gordon Stein -- editor of The Encyclopedia of Unbelief and author of numerous academic books on the history of freethought, once said of ATCAG that it was probably the most influential book on atheism published in the 20th century. It also convinced many, many people to read Rand.

I will settle for these pluses, especially since I wrote most of ATCAG at age 23.

Ghs

Well janet

Jules Troy's picture

Seeing as I read it when I was 17 I would say that I was indeed a newbie and soon after a fledgling atheist who shortly after also introduced myself to reading many other good books such as..Atlas Shrugged!

Re: George it's a misogynist

George H. Smith's picture

Re: George it's a misogynist name calling remark

I seem to have hit a nerve with the resident bag-lady-in-training.

You should make a little effort to get your facts straight, e.g.: I actually posted quite a bit on SOLO prior to my recent appearance, though not for a long time.

You have zero understanding of Rand -- as evidenced by your comparison of remarks by her and Burroughs -- so you have no business comparing her ideas to anyone else's.

About the sexual impotence thing. I suspect you know quite a bit about male impotence, since you doubtless have encountered many impotent men in your life. Did the reason for this ever occur to you?

Playing the sexism card won't work with me. For one thing, I have rarely been involved in nasty polemical exchanges with women. Generally speaking, I have always found women more complex and interesting than men.

Please write as many pages about me as you like. I am enough of an egomaniac to enjoy this sort of thing.

Ghs

Troy I liked tis comment

seymourblogger's picture

but extremely valuable and insightful books I must say extremely valuable and insightful to whom? Not to any people I know. As the reviewer said it addresses atheism for a naive audience in a naive way very well. They were written for the newbie, the naive atheist coming into being, midwifed by Georgie boy.

Well george hon

seymourblogger's picture

I chose the most intelligent review. The number one of all the critical reviews, not rave reviews from Randian acolytes or friends or those thinking about atheism for the first time, i.e. newbies to atheism.

I thought what he said was fair and balanced to quote FOX news. But he was perceptive enough to hone in on your abrasive verbal expression.

You simply reveal your lack of academic stature and poise that goes with that confidence. You are a big fish in a small pond. Only you think you are in the ocean.

George it's a misogynist name calling remark

seymourblogger's picture

Kind of like if I started in on you with a clinical profile, the way dancer did me on objectivist living.

You indicate a man, who dropped out of college before graduating, who became enthralled by Ayn Rand, who wrote a pop book on atheism which sold well, and not much else that I can discover, but then I haven't looked too hard either. Your ego strength is deficient requiring you to attack others who disagree with you rather than assert what you want to say and explain. You are particularly nasty to women, and this fits the profile of the man who tends to be sexually impotent.

Would you like me to continue? I can write a couple of pages more on you. You have said you intend to stalk me for not presenting Rand as you think I should and that is creepy. You have enjoyed VIP status at objectivist living and do not have the credibility here that you have there. I know that must be difficult for you.

You brag that you are not following me and have been on solo for 5 years, is it?

And you have not posted even one blog. So my guess is that all you have done here is comment and be your usual nasty self. Rand does not need enemies when she has friends like you.

As for my post on objectivist living Ayn Rand Through a Nietzsche Filter, it is quite possible people coming to objectivist living might want to know something about the Nietzsche/Rand relation. They will get a couple of posts and then harangue and ranting and the poster defending and defending then accusing hackerism and being called a liar.

Someone over there must know something about PR. This is very poor PR for Rand. The inability to consider Rand and Nietzsche in an intellectual way. Instead resulting in name-calling, limiting posts, laughing about it, insulting the writer, etc etc etc.

I have defended Olivia from you, but reluctantly, as she name calls with the best of them without provocation, her only reason seeming to be that she does not understand what is being said and therefore waves it away like a bothersome insect. I am sorry she knows nothing about post modern thinking, but she makes herself ridiculous, as do you, by ridiculing it.

All that does is drive away any people wh might be intelligent, up to date in philosophy and science, away from such a silly site about Ayn Rand.

Nietzsche: Beware of disciples. Rand has not been served well by her disciples. Neither has Foucault.

Janet,Out of 262 Amazon

George H. Smith's picture

Janet,

Out of 262 Amazon reviews of a book defending atheism, the worst you could come up with is one that says "okay as far as it goes"?

You can be a real hoot, hon.

Ghs

Jules,I understand your

George H. Smith's picture

Jules,

I understand your concern, but it is not a concern of mine. For over forty years, without so much as a high-school diploma, I have made my living by freelance writing and teaching in the fields of philosophy and history. One cannot survive in an academic world with no credentials without learning not to take shit from people. I will give as good as I get -- better, in fact.

I do not attack people without provocation, but neither will I be lectured by someone I don't know about what qualifies as "real philosophy," or sit still when given unsolicited, condescending advice by someone who exhibits little understanding of philosophy.

Given my professional background, I can appreciate, perhaps better than most O'ist types, why Rand developed a highly polemical style and did not tolerate fools. Please don't misunderstand me here -- in no way am I comparing myself intellectually to Rand, who was one of the great geniuses of the 20th century. All I wish to point out is that I understand on a very personal level some of what it took for Rand to survive in a highly competitive and frequently hostile environment.

If you read my last post to Olivia, you will note that I explicitly advised her to drop the name-calling ("dummy," etc), and I added that I would ratchet-up my polemicism, should she persist. The ball is in her court. If she chooses to remain civil, then I will reciprocate. If not, then I will also reciprocate in kind.

Rand was an able polemicist, and she could get very, very nasty. Would you have given the same advice to her that you gave to me?

Ghs

olivia - support from a silly woman

seymourblogger's picture

from amazon a review of George's book:

excerpt you will appreciate:

The entire intelligent most highly rated critical review of George's book on amazon:

48 of 59 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars okay as far as it goes, January 17, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Atheism: The Case Against God (Skeptic's Bookshelf) (Paperback)
Smith does a good job of attacking the more naive forms of theism. After reading his book, it is difficult to see how one could believe in an anthropomorphic god who rewards his friends and punishes his enemies. Unfortunately, Smith is not content to savor this victory, but presses forward to occupy less stable ground by claiming that naturalistic materialism does away with the need for any god concept.

When I was in law school, I learned that one should not use words like "clearly" to bolster an argument. Use of such words is a dead give-away that the point is anything but clear. But that is exactly what Smith all too often does here. When he comes to a point where he wants to press forward far beyond what his argument will support, he begins using vituperative language and hand-waving to imply that anyone who disagrees with him is dishonest or an idiot.

There is nothing intellectually dishonest with believing in a god, so long as your god concept is not internally incoherent or inconsistent with itself or other evidence. And there is ample warrant to employ a god-concept to account for certain unexplained features of the universe. What is intellectually dishonest, in my mind, is to pretend that there CAN BE no ultimately unexplained features in the universe because atheistic materialism MUST account for all of them. I have read dozens of science and philosophy books by authors like Dawkins, Dennett, Blackmore, etc. and while they are useful as far as they go, it is very dishonest to pretend that Darwinism has resolved such problems as the origin of life, the existence of human consciousness, the existence of human traits that cannot reasonably be attributed solely to survival value, and the surprising ability of the human mind to understand features of the universe far beyond anything encountered in our long march out of the warm pond where we began billions of years ago. Perhaps some day these things will be explained, and I mean CREDIBLY explained, without the need for a god concept at all. Until that day, however, and it may never come, it is dishonest to pretend that there is no warrant for belief in some sort of unexplained force other than the "atomic swerve" so dear to atomists from the time of Lucretius onwards.

We all have been recipients of VIP George's vituperative anguage and name calling. I bet hand waving also. Maybe he's used to calling dogs that way.

Of course I did..

Jules Troy's picture

Well you got that right she is tough as nails and can take care of herself.

All I meant is as an author of some extremely valuable and insightful books one would hope you would be above mudslinging whether you felt it was warranted or not.

For one such as yourself objectivists would like to see that you hold yourself to a higher standard.

 

Mr Troy:Did you happen to

George H. Smith's picture

Mr Troy:

Did you happen to read the condescending and insulting remarks by Olivia that she posted prior to my "Bimbo" comment?

If Olivia wants any respect from me, then she will need to earn it. All I have seen so far are posts with no substance. If she doesn't wish to be called a "Bimbo," then she should stop acting like one.

Btw, I suspect that my "Bimbo" remark bothered you a lot more than it did Olivia. She strikes me as a pretty tough woman, so I doubt if she will wilt like a delicate flower.

Ghs

As much as i like your books..

Jules Troy's picture

Mr.Smith you are acting far beneath any modicum of respect you might have earned by resorting to name calling. Leave name calling out of it (you did call Olivia a bimbo which is very much undeserved).

Many might actually enjoy listening what you have to say if you would uphold yourself in a dignified manner. (even if it is a janet thread).

Olivia wrote: You do need my

George H. Smith's picture

Olivia wrote:

You do need my advice - you're here on Solo, tailing that silly woman!

A conversation about make-up would be far more real than engaging with a Janet. At least make-up actually serves a useful purpose, and many (including me) are fine with spending money on it. Janet doesn't. She just wants loads and loads of attention. Dummy.

If my posts are of no interest to you, then don't read them. Or ignore this thread altogether. Very simple.

I freely concede that, with a possible exception here and there, nothing of philosophical value will be gained by responding to Janet, but I have other reasons for engaging in polemical exchanges of this sort. I have explained my reasons many times on OL.

Lastly, I suggest that you drop the name-calling. With the exception of my last post, I have been far more patient and civil with you than you deserve. If you want me to pump up the polemical volume of my replies to you, then I will gladly do so. But, trust me, you won't like it.

Ghs

Jesus. H. Christ.

Olivia's picture

You may have no interest in such material, which is understandable, but I don't need any advice from a foul-mouthed bimbo. After all, I don't give you advice about make-up, now do I?

You do need my advice - you're here on Solo, tailing that silly woman!

A conversation about make-up would be far more real than engaging with a Janet. At least make-up actually serves a useful purpose, and many (including me) are fine with spending money on it. Janet doesn't. She just wants loads and loads of attention. Dummy.

Janet wrote: Stop following

George H. Smith's picture

Janet wrote:

Stop following me.

I have been a member of SOLO for over 5 1/2 years, whereas you joined a little over four months ago. I thought you were following me.

Look at the bright side: If I didn't make fun of your posts you would barely get any attention at all.

More seriously: As I told you on OL, if you persist in your absurd misrepresentations of Rand's ideas, then I will haunt you like a bad dream. Get used to it, hon.

Ghs

Olivia,The post in question

George H. Smith's picture

Olivia,

The post in question discussed hermeneutics (which is valid), deconstructionism (which is not), and Foucault's opposition to the latter (which is true). Believe it or not, this is "actual philosophy." You may have no interest in such material, which is understandable, but I don't need any advice from a foul-mouthed bimbo. After all, I don't give you advice about make-up, now do I?

Ghs

Ya know George hon

seymourblogger's picture

You really are an awful bore. go back to the swamp from whence you came. They like you over there. They think you are oh so smart over there. Stop following me.

And I never said no one could reply to my posts. I told Brant not to reply.

Now I'm telling you to quit. You just wanna fight, that's all.

I'm cut out for them...

Olivia's picture

if they're true.

Processing Janet's convoluted wankerism in not philosophy, it's shit. Learn to know the difference and then maybe you'll be able to apply yourself to actual philosophy, Jesus. H. Christ.

Janet wrote: Go argue with

George H. Smith's picture

Janet wrote:

Go argue with Foucault. I am sure your VIP atheist erudition could leave Foucault in the dust.

I hate to be the one to tell you the tragic news, but Foucault died in 1984. He is already dust, so leaving him in the dust would be an absurdly easy task.

Did you have anything interesting or even comprehensible to say about Derrida and deconstructionism? Or is this thread, like all your others, nothing but bluff and bluster? You don't understand Foucault, and you don't understand Nietzsche, so I seriously doubt if you understand Derrida. As much you dislike the fascism of standards, including standards of coherence, accuracy, and truth, no one will take you seriously when you are obviously making this shit up as you go along.

Perhaps you should make up a fictional French post-modernist --say, Professor Pepe Le Pew, a brilliant deconstructionist who tragically died at a young age and bequeathed all of his unpublished works to you -- and then ramble on about his ideas. That way no could challenge the accuracy of your remarks.

Ghs

Well George I took it straight out of the mouth of

seymourblogger's picture

Foucault. Go argue with Foucault. I am sure your VIP atheist erudition could leave Foucault in the dust.

I wrote: But there needs to

George H. Smith's picture

I wrote:

But there needs to be a standard -- namely, the intention of the writer,

Janet replied:

Of course. All authoritarians need an authoritarian standard on their way to growing up fascist.

Do you have any conception -- any self-awareness at all -- of how nutty you come across? Or have you passed the point of no return?

Here is a simple test: If you haven't yet found yourself walking the streets while pushing a a shopping cart, there may still be hope.

Ghs

?

Brant Gaede's picture

SOLO is a philosophical site?

--Brant
(jus havin' fun)

George, Paglia is not the go to person to quote

seymourblogger's picture

She is already over, as in finished as a celebrity reviewer, writer, etc. I know she aspired to be the next Susan Sontag. But really George, really.

Olivia, My post had little to

George H. Smith's picture

Olivia,

My post had little to do with Janet and a lot to do with philosophy. You are obviously not cut out for discussions of philosophy, so I suggest you focus on other things.

Ghs

Um..

Jules Troy's picture

Janet who??

Thanks Olivia that was very peaceful.

George if I need meds

seymourblogger's picture

then you better drive by with a truckoad as most of the serious academics also deal in post modern thinking.

The first and most important responsibility of a responsible reader is to make a serious effort to understand a text as the writer himself understood it. After that, it might be possible to use various interpretative perspectives to tease out presuppositions and implications that the writer himself may not have been aware of. But there needs to be a standard -- namely, the intention of the writer -- against which variant readings can be compared and evaluated. Without that standard, hermeneutics becomes a silly and pointless game of Humpty-Dumptyism, in which a text means anything you want it to mean. This, in essence, is Janet's approach.

The first and most important responsibility of a responsible reader is to make a serious effort to understand a text as the writer himself understood it.

Nietzsche's aphoristic style precludes this and puts the reader in the "power" seat. If you want more info then see Babette Babitch -delicious name out of Finnegan's Wake eh?

BTW George do you know how Shakespere wrote Hamlet? Please tell us as no one has realy been abe to figure it out. Neither critics or actors. do enlighten them because I am sure you know whether Hamloet was mad or pretending to be mad. Which was it? Come se dici.

After that, it might be possible to use various interpretative perspectives to tease out presuppositions and implications that the writer himself may not have been aware of.

Of course. Hermeneutics interpretation of deeper or deepest meaning is the feeding trough for all good reviewers, critics, Biblical commentariasts, from whence tis all started, in religion O My! How many theses, dissertations, tenure tract and medical and retirement benefits have resulted from this practice?

But there needs to be a standard -- namely, the intention of the writer

Of course. All authoritarians need an authoritarian standard on their way to growing up fascist.

hermeneutics becomes a silly and pointless game of Humpty-Dumptyism, in which a text means anything you want it to mean.

????Wait a minute. I am the one who resists endless interpretation now you are accusing me of it.I am simply juxtaposing texts so readers can read through, learn to read through for themselves, learn to free themselves from the imposed authorities who tell them what the text is about, and that this is what Shakespeare meant so listen to me tell you.

Which of course was exactly what Lewis Carroll was telling daddies and mommies who were reading ALICE to their children.

I eagerly await your interpretation of my interpretation of your interpretation of my interpretive writing. Gee I bet we could publish this George. and you could stop being the VIP who published a good selling book 30 years ago was it?

Time to move on. I know BB is still responding to questions in the exact same way she responded to Q and A 50 years ago. Maybe she has been in an isolation tank pondering the true meaning of objectivism.

If I bother you so much why do you keep coming here to complain and pick nits. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Yawn.

Olivia's picture

I just posted the following on OL, in a thread started by Janet titled "Rand Through a Nietzsche Filter." I am reposting it here because of its obvious relevance to this thread, and because Janet's remarks are so scattered and incomprehensible as to leave many readers scratching their heads, wondering what "deconstructionism" is all about.

Who the fuck cares? Reject it for its title alone.... what's wrong with Rand through a George. H. Smith filter? (Jesus. H . Christ!) And then listen to this: I promise you, if your heart is true, all thoughts of Janet will cease.

Janet..

Jules Troy's picture

Janet is clearly in need of going back on her meds...or getting new ones.

I just posted the following

George H. Smith's picture

I just posted the following on OL, in a thread started by Janet titled "Rand Through a Nietzsche Filter." I am reposting it here because of its obvious relevance to this thread, and because Janet's remarks are so scattered and incomprehensible as to leave many readers scratching their heads, wondering what "deconstructionism" is all about.

So here it is, fresh from The Swamp:

I want to make something clear: I have no objection per se to reading Rand (or any other writer) from various perspectives, whether Nietzschean or otherwise. Hermeneutics (the theory and methodology of interpretation) goes back centuries and was first applied to biblical texts. (John Locke had some very perceptive comments on this subject in his Commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul. ) But many of the post-modernists -- especially Derrida and his deconstructionist followers, such as Stanley Fish (whom Camille Paglia once called "a totalitarian Tinkerbell") -- have made a mockery out of hermeneutics.

Once, while teaching at an IHS conference on the East Coast, I attended a lecture by Fish in which he proclaimed, in effect, that the author's intentions in writing a text have no more relevance to its meaning than the interpretation of any other person. During the Q&A, one of the students who attended the lecture with me asked Fish an awkward and obvious question viz: Did deconstructionism apply to Fish's own defense of deconstructionism? If so, then would he object if listeners interpreted his lecture as an ironic criticism of deconstructionism? Fish bumbled around for a while but could not come up with a coherent answer. Surprise, surprise!

The first and most important responsibility of a responsible reader is to make a serious effort to understand a text as the writer himself understood it. After that, it might be possible to use various interpretative perspectives to tease out presuppositions and implications that the writer himself may not have been aware of. But there needs to be a standard -- namely, the intention of the writer -- against which variant readings can be compared and evaluated. Without that standard, hermeneutics becomes a silly and pointless game of Humpty-Dumptyism, in which a text means anything you want it to mean. This, in essence, is Janet's approach.

As I noted in a previous post, Foucault was not a deconstructionist. His interest in the "archeology" of knowledge, which includes an investigation of the cognitive schemes by which people from different cultures and different eras categorize their perceptions and ideas, had nothing to do with deconstructionism. As I also noted, when Derrida took an isolated passage from one of Foucault's texts and deconstructed it, thereby arriving at an interpretation that differed radically from Foucualt's intended meaning, Foucault became so angry that he refused to speak to Derrida for ten years, or thereabouts.

Ghs

The Roots of State Education, Part 2: Plato's Case Against Free-Market Education
http://www.libertarianism.org/...

Sickens me too...

Olivia's picture

but there you go... I guess Objectivism's two greatest ememies hunt us down and seek us out. Pomowankerism and Religion. There it is in all its anti-glory. Now's your chance, Don, to let them have it, as tedious as you might find that to be. It's the West come to a head.

Oh Don perfect

seymourblogger's picture

They are stuck in the Dominating Discourse of polemics. This is why it is as dead a the dinosaurs. It makes you shut down just reading it. Listening is worse.

I am indifferent. To all of them.

What on earth?

Don E. Klein's picture

What's all this business doing on an Objectivist site? Between this and all the god talk this place is really gone to hell.

However, this made me think of a video I saw recently. There's a deep connection to the thesis of this essay if you watch carefully enough.

Foucault Answered Derrida

seymourblogger's picture

With - roll of drums - The power/knowledge GRID

Which is the dominant term? Then extend it to: power/knowledge/capital and which is the dominant term?

And so Foucault moves from deconstruction to Nietzsche's genealogy.

At last I get it

seymourblogger's picture

I too had decided I would never understand Derrida.

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