Sunday, September 11, 2005

that's just about right, part II

What the fuck does this mean:

"Mere belief is hostile to the whole idea of thinking. To wear credulity as one's badge of intellect is not to be a thinker as such."

Why hostile? Is there actually some sort of battle going on between 'mere belief' and, assumedly, belief developed based on rigorous critical thinking and/or appropriate empirical investigation? So ok, holding some belief for reasons other than rational ones actually 'hurts' in some sense, the enterprise of 'thinking' in general? How does it hurt it? Does it 'set it back'? What is this 'thinking' anyway? Thinking here seems to be associated with rationality while 'mere belief' is not. But what's the 'whole idea' of thinking? Is this meant to imply that it's more than the 'part idea' of thinking? So perhaps 'thinking' includes both rational and irrational methods of belief formation?

Now onto the second sentence!

Here we seem to have a more strongly worded repetition of the 'claim' made in the first sentence, although it does clear up our confusion about what the term 'thinking' actually means. In the second sentence the author seems to be saying that if one has an overly credulous intellect, then one is not actually thinking at all. So, it appears that thinking is only the rational pursuit because credulity seems to imply non-rational belief formation. But now we are forced to examine the meaning of the term 'intellect'. Apparently 'intellect' will now serve as the more general category, thus replacing 'thinking' as it seems to function in the first sentence. One's 'badge of intellect' can apparently be credulity, so I imagine one can also have a 'rigorously logical badge' or some such thing. Then again we are shown that indeed, 'thinker' refers to 'rational thinker' because if your 'intellect' is 'credulous' then you are not a thinker 'as such'.

Therefore I think this sentence can be rephrased as:

Irrationality is not good for rationality. Irrationality is not rationality.

Wow. These literary critics are blowin' my mind.

And this crap is what I think passes for philosophy amongst the vast majority of the public, not to mention the vast majority of the 'intelligentsia'. While I certainly disagree with the fundamental modes of research in 'literary studies' and 'cultural studies' and whatever, if they have a self sustaining community, than more power to them.

What I don't like is that their crap passes for philosophy.

Derrida was not a philosopher.

Hell, Satre wasn't a philosopher, I mean, let's be honest.

And while I'm at it,how about I dismiss Nietzsche as nothing more than a literary figure?

How bout that bitches.

Why did 'cultural studies' or whatever the hell you want to call it become elevated to the representation of intelligentsia? The example of what intellectual pursuit is? Perhaps because it's kind of easy for people to understand what's going on, no matter how opaque the Derridas and Foucaults try to make it. I mean, people have a hard time sitting down and getting through a real paper in mathematics or physics or biology.

But I suspect it's something else, I suspect that the people who are best social movers and shakers, the ones that have a certain social panache, a certain appealing eccentricity, are also the people who study 'cultural criticism'.

I mean, the sciences and the more rigorous humanities have their fair share of eccentrics, but they are eccentric in a weird sort of creepy way. A way that prohibits them from ever sipping martinis (or whatever drink is now hip), smoking cigarettes in a hip apartment in Williamsburg Brooklyn and chatting with the rich and famous' kids. Let alone starting a hip literary magazine.

No. Rather, the rigorous thinkers are the anti-socials. They can't be around people. They can't make pleasant all. They sit in their lab or in the archives or hunched over their computers producing.

Wow. What a rant. I suppose the science wars are alive and well in my head.

But I have really gotten off topic here. What initially pissed me off is the fact that people think of cultural studies as philosophy. This couldn't be farther from the truth. There has been a rather well defined tradition in philosophy with a set of very well defined problems that is self sustained. Cultural studies is kind of the retarded little sister of philosophy.

Let's just not call 'cultural studies' philosophy and I'll be fucking thrilled.

I mean, I think n+1, the magazine the first quote is from and one of the magazines the NY Times article is about, has some great literary content, but it's not philosophy. This article looks particularly enjoyable:

"The 'friends' on Friends were an ideological group, propagandists for a bland class of the rich in a sibling-incest sitcom. If only Judge Judy could sit in judgment on them, once! If only Cops would break down their door and throw them against the wall! "


cesare pastorino said...

and what about their T-shirts? Not even a large size? What's wrong with those people?

Anonymous said...

Two things. First Matt Dunn I am impressed with how entrenched of an academic you are. I had a long conversation tonight about your role as an academic. Second, blogs are a little masturbatory. Even though it entertains your hedonistic friends.

Matthew D Dunn said...

Ryan (I presume?),

Yes. Blogs are really masturbatory. So is posting comments on them.

Oddly enough, I had a long conversation about the role of sommoleiersers last night.

Cesare (I presume?),

Good point. Apparently pseudo intellectuals are of small physical stature as well.

Ryan said...

Not it. I can't take credit for that anonymous post.

But I do like the idea of sommeliers and think they have a place for those times when you want to drop 400 bones on a dinner for two.

Masturbation is a perfectly healthy activity.

Mac said...

Ok, a couple things:
1st: Dunnbarr! What up sucka!
2nd: I read the n+1 article, and that, from what I took it (although the article 'spun' it a little), is more the opinions of the disenfranchised "too much media, not enough thought" generation - a sociological opinion and not philosphy - and they're not even close to being the first at this shit. Check out vice magazine if you haven't ( for the real disenfranchised/post-post-post whatever philosphy...I think at least.
3rd: If you ever shit on Nietzche or Satre again I will come to Indiana myself and kill you. I mean, read "essays on existentialism" and tell me that shit is not "real philosphy" and is instead the cultural sociology you speak of
4th: You are really an entrenched academic. you are the intelligencia
5th: Masturbation is fun
5th and a half: sommoleiersers are philosophers

Matthew D Dunn said...

No. Not you house. It's hard having two friends named Ryan. This is why you were Ryanbeer in my phone for a while.

And Mac, you're a crazy man. Good to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

I think that says alot about the species of Ryan that both Ryans you know can be logged in a phone, clearly and accurately, as per the booze the prefer