Head Transplant. Whoa.
If there’s anything that I agree with in this repost it is his last sentence. It is the short of what I call “modern scholasticism”.
The 21st Century Whitehead Will Be Deleuzian
Originally posted on Becoming Integral: I often find myself thinking with Alfred North Whitehead. I recall that today is his birthday, Feburary 15 (1861-1947). I don’t remember many birthdays of philosophers, but that is one of them. It’s Galileo’s birthday too, so maybe that has something to do with this date sticking in my memory.…
Here’s a little quote that I picked up from wiki that I think really is at the center of the problem of contemporary philosophy:
“The principle that the logical clarification of thoughts can be achieved only by analysis of the logical form of philosophical propositions. The logical form of a proposition is a way of representing it (often using the formal grammar and symbolism of a logical system), to reduce it to simpler components if necessary, and to display its similarity with all other propositions of the same type. However, analytic philosophers disagree widely about the correct logical form of ordinary language.”
The key problem is “logical form of philosophical propositions”. I suggested in the last post that this problem seems to involve and be addressed by both analytical and continental schools.
We might even see that of late the problem of “correlationalism”, most recently coined by the philosopher Quentin Miellassoux, is the problem that I identify of philosophy; to wit, that regardless of how they want to frame the problem and it’s solution, regardless of how they want to discursively situate such a problem and solution, The method by which they both form the problem and propose to address the solution is essentially the same, ie. The logical form of philosophical propositions.
The simple answer that distinguishes analytical from Continental schools is that a few early 20th century philosophers found it nearly impossible to employ logical distinctions to what we can generally categorize as the Idealists, namely Kant, Hegel, and others. But yet many philosophers that consider themselves of the continental tradition seem to be able to apply a sort of logical analysis of propositional forms to these noted Idealist philosophers. as I said in the earlier post, this shows that there are those who understand and those who don’t.
Due to this we are left with a couple questions that seem never to be asked, and for one we have to ask why is this question never asked. The problem inherent of these questions has to do with, not so much the attack by the analytical’s upon the Idealists– that is fairly clear. One of the questions has to do with the effort involved by the continentals to prove to what we can generalize as analytical’s that there is validity and a veracity of the continental tradition that the former is not understanding; it seems like there’s an incessant effort for those of the continental tradition to prove themselves into the analytical sort. They do this by first arguing amongst themselves incessantly over various terms, which are really logical forms of propositions, but then also on different fronts they take the same discussion and adjust it to the various logical forms of the analytical. the question is: Why are the Continentals thinking they can convince, describe, or otherwise prove to those who don’t understand in a manner that they will understand? I suggest in the earlier post that this is because the basic (conventional) philosophical ideal is that everything is teachable. And the other question, which first must be conditioned by the first question to see that this latter is really a trick question because in is inherent and closely circular so as to throw off investigation into the basis of what might be continental: What is the distinction between Analytical and Continental philosophy?
What? The question that is eternally suspended is what is distinguishing between the analytical in the continental?? Here how it lays out, which really offends and frustrates every sort of philosophy that supposes to be getting somewhere along the same lines (which is why these questions are never asked): The analytical has formed the shape of the problem, and the continentals attempt to argue themselves into that shape. But if we have found anything over the past hundred years it has to be that this effort is failing. We have to then see that what the postmodern really is; It is the general form of apology that functions to decide itself into another analytical form “In itself”. This is where we get the idea that postmodern extrapolations and continuations are so redundant, because they create a situation where by they can argue circularities as if they get somewhere and uncover something, to their by establish a valid form. They argue that discourse is the fundamental (omniscient, omnipotent) determinate of reality; they argue that there is an empty set, that it somehow determines reality through the intuitive involvement with discourse, that this void can never be expounded upon (even while they expound upon what this empty set may be); they even expound upon what may be involved as a constituent of this null set, for example the literate fictional forms that various authors like to talk about involving Lovecraft.
But the fundamental question that is avoided concerns the failure across the analytical and the Continental. The distinction and the difference that was so nobly and magically posited has found its self a seat at the table and is really giving up on anything that can be different or distinguish from what is analytical because in the first place they were always using the analytical model by which to establish themselves as a different philosophical feature.
This is why we say the postmodern is a religious apology for what is the modern. And this is also why we have to say that what is continental has failed, and this is why a divergent version of philosophical discourse arises.
What has occurred in contemporary continental philosophy is that even while they propose to be talking about how to displace the central phenomenalist Cartesian (and whatever other adjectival casual object-state they want to use) subject, or how that might be a faulty conception, they are really talking about how the whole tradition of continental philosophy as a different sort of philosophical emanation it’s self is a faulty conception, and attempting to rectify that the effort they are involved in is an effort founded in fallacy, an idea that was incorrect from its start, insomuch as it supposed to displace what is modern. The blatant and bare fact of the truth of this last statement is that I can use the term ‘modern’ and it still means something. We are still talking about it because through the postmodern we close the loop of the modern real religious justification. We establish a catholic (unitary) foundation for the discussion of a totally and absolute, omnipotent and omni-present, inescapable, real arena.
In the endeavor of philosophy many have made a distinction. In general,and aside from the more colloquial “philosophy of…[place category here]” (like “my philosophy of writing blogs is…”), people have noticed that there are two types of philosophy going on. These have been termed on one hand “analytical”, which tends to be associated with ‘New world’, American or (can we be so general) what we might call ‘Colonial’ (to include the United Kingdom) brand, and on the other “continental” ( can we say “post-colonial”? ), which tends to be associated with German and French authors.
Keep in mind, though, that this distinction is highly contentious and my version here is just Another Stab at Distinguishing Analytical and Continental Approaches. In fact, the distinction is so contentious that some would say that there is no distinction that can be made beyond a crass and superficial, first impression glance.
But I am one who does see a difference in approaches; but I am not sure if the categories of the distinction really serve us anymore; hence this post.
Also, keep in mind that in my time I have done the very utmost to not read anything anyone has said about this debate, and yet somehow I have not only come to know about it, but have formed my opinion on the most lean pieces of information about it. So, take it as you will. But it does do me some credit, as well as my strange ability to grasp philosophy with the slightest prompts, that I like what AGENT SWARM has said about it.
Mine begins from the other side of it, what we can call logical formalism. . If you look at the Wiki for Analytic Philosophy, the first bullet point lists ‘formal logic’. If one were to look at just a few of the authors noted in Wiki to be associated with the respective schools, often enough she would not have difficulty in noticing a difference that is more than individual style, one that seems to fall along lines that we can generally associate in ways that we can come to call Analytical and Continental.
The issue then is not one of proving that such a distinction may be real or true, it falls more in the apparent distinction. I will come out in defiance to the standard method and say that there is very little anyone could argue to me to prove that there is no distinction, but likewise there is little one could do to prove to me that there is a distinction. It is apparent to me and there is no amount nor type of logical argument that could show me the light either way. Similarly, while I would not challenge myself nor anyone else to take a randomly presented author and categorize her into one of these two schools, I would take the challenge to explain why that author should be included or excluded from being of a Continental type. Yet further, in so much as I would gain an exceedingly large amount of flak (or none, as in the case of those so intellectually gifted who would set my rumination aside) for such a challenge and its results, that I should have more integrity in my proposals if I were to set aside the classifications altogether, and say that the distinction itself is an anachronism that serves now only to decide, for example, that this is a table and that is a nightstand. This is to say that not only the whole discussion about the distinction, but indeed those philosophies that would place themselves in such of two categories are but of the same kind and nature, which I would then regretfully have to classify both as analytical. My reasons are described in my books, which, in the end, will lay out the whole of the issue that permeates philosophy today.
For now, this whole thing has to do with what we can call experience. It is apparent to me that what motivates Bertrand Russel, say, to elaborate upon the flaws of what we tend to know as Continental is his utter inability to understand, say, Hegel. It is not that Hegal is vague or unclear; it is more that Russel sees him as such. So it is clear to me that it is not Hegel that is vague, but that Russel, for all his great methodological and critical thinking skills, is unable to penetrate the meaning of Hegel (just as an example). This is so much that case that those early 20th century philosophers who called out the (in general) German Idealists should be seen as have more fortitude, integrity and just plain balls for doing so, while to later continentals pussy-foot around by attempting to remain fidelitous to whatever principle they are trying to uphold in the defense of the Continental.
So it is that I simply say that those Analytical just plain do not understand and are incapable of understanding. It does not follow, though, that their philosophical endeavors are lacking. It merely means that what is Continental is not derivative of the Analytical. It might appear that it is using the same method (logic), but I do not have a capacity to build a house just because I can use a ruler. I might be able to build a table, but the lengths of experience that is needed to build a house, I simply do not have.Where the analogy ends, though, is in the implicit teachability that accompanies the length of the ruler, from drawing measures squares on paper, to building a stable and secure structure.
Philosophy would have it that everything that is able to be experienced may be conveyed in a manner that is teachable. This is to say that while some ‘essential’ experience of being human may not be conveyable, the meaning, method and aspects of the experience can be conveyed in a meaningful format that retains the’important’ elements of the experience, which is to say, the humanity. Yet the distinction of Analytical and Continental would have it that both type of philosophy can be taught and conveyed in their essential meaning. But, didn’t I hear somewhere that Continental philosophy tends away from ‘essentials’?
I disagree with this maxim that we can teach everything. And the reason is as simple as how clear Hegel, Kierkegaard and others are to me, and at that with little formal instruction on the matter. I would even go so far as to say the formal instruction merely reified to me that not only do the instructors often have a degraded version of what some Continental authors are saying, but also that what and how they teach them merely reinforces the analytical method with which the continentals are supposed to be in contrast.
Philosophy teaches that logic is a tool to apply to situations, but in the main, and for teaching in general, it is taken and used as The method for discovering and uncovering what may be. Logic is taught and used commonly as a method that lay underneath all things. This is why those who we might consider Continental are always in the defensive: Because they are covertly using the ‘tool’ of logic as a ‘method’, but without the re-cognition of their mistake.
To be fair: Many of the analytical philosophers to me seem dry and unappealing, nearly to the point that their philosophies seem insignificant and unimportant. Yet, almost everyone would place me in a position of degradation because I don’t care to ‘take the time with them’ or because I am not interested in being formally educated in all the various titled logical situations and poker playing gambits.
Is continental less than? Is Analytical ? Id say, neither, but because now they play the same analytical game, despite definitions. The problem with the Continental is that it misapplies its own (misunderstood) traditional maxims and tactics: The analytical don’t prescribe to the traditional continental reductions. It appears that they do (see Bertrand Russel’s essays of the reduction of things to their essential traits, for example; he finds that there is never an ‘actual’ table, etc…), but the Analytical path misses the significance of similar discussion that the Continentals have. But it is not that the Continentals thereby account for the Analytical; it is more that they are talking past each other in the same way that computer engineering might not fully comprehend structural engineering, or planetary particle physics not fully understand quantum physics; yet, they can have a discussion that is meaningful at some level. Yet it is the Continentals that survive in a perpetural state of acceedence, of compromise because they ‘believe’ thier traditional maxims are in play even while the ‘Analyticals’ dont perscribe to them.
The same ‘talking past’ has occurred now with the state of the ‘Continental’ philosophy that places its stakes within a historical heritage instead of the meaning of the philosophies themselves. Engineering stems from the same basic teachings, but there is no ‘engineer’ that we can identify to a common thing once a career has been moved upon.
It is not obtuse to say that much of what we are still calling Continental has become merely a branch of Analytical. Philosophy is taken as a kind of ‘engineering’ category, yet while some had supposed that the category was itself inadequate to contain the moves of philosophy itself, the manner of contemporary academic philosophy now is primarily Analytical, with subcategories of “analytical-proper” and “continental”.
For those so keen, see this is not the same as the Sokal Hoax, but it is similar in so much as what is called “post-modern”, now days, is simply adhering to a tradition that is unreflected upon, simply taking (mistaking) the misunderstood theoretical methods and applying them without what we should call proper critical reflection; what is critical assumes its conclusions to be necessarily in question. Nevertheless, It is not sufficient to call into question what we mean by ‘proper reflection’ in this case, for the issue has already established itself as credible within a certain affect of power, such that we can rightly call such move as religious; and faith cannot be argued out of.
So post-modern Sokality aside; I disagree with this methodological, and un-recognized conceptual slide of the Continental into the Analytical, as I have explained it.
I just published a cool post that had some quotes from a 1992 book called “shameless bad taste ” that had a chapter on philosophical failure, but strangely enough it appears the posting failed.
“People see and listen to what they already know and call it new.”
…”Did you know,” he asked wistfully, “that I was one of the Old Ones myself? My father was a demon, they say, but my mother was a Gael. The only human blood I have comes from the Old Ones. Yet here I am denouncing thier ideas of nationalism, being what thier politicians would call a traitor — because, by calling names, they can score the cheap debating points. And do you know another thing, Authur? Life is too bitter already, without territories and wars and noble feuds.”
– The Once and Future King.
a misspelling of “the reader” by ignorant postmodern scholars.