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Thread: Questions for CJ

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Default Questions for CJ

    Since I made the Rosa and Meridian threads to learn more about their views on things, I thought I'd also make one for CJ as he seems like a pretty interesting person I'd like to learn more from.

    So here's my first question: What is your beef with 'philosophy'? You refer to it with annoyance quite often, but I'm not sure what aspects of it you dislike specifically, or is it the whole 'discipline'? Do you for example someone like, say, John Rawls is on par with Zizek when they're both nominally known and trained as 'philosophers'? If not, what distinguishes the one from the other? Is the whole continental/analytic divide?

    I think you appreciate the work of 'philosophers' like Habermas, Quine, Davidson, Searle, G. A. Cohen and many others, or at least take them seriously as a meaningful contribution to our understanding of things, and that's just for the contemporary kind, let alone the 'classics' like Hume, Descartes, Kant, etc., so I don't think your disdain for philosophy is total.

    Just curious about your thoughts on this.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Administrator RevForum Administrator CornetJoyce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    Zizek is a special case: when I learned that he was hanging out with Lady Gaga, my respect for her precipitously declined. Rawls, on the other hand, has supplied us with the Veil of Ignorance, which may never be adopted by "planners of future societies," but at least serves as a warning of who plans future societies. However, that's not a matter of the continental/analytic divide. As you may know, I hold Castoriadis, Baudrillard, the Frankfurt gang and other continental types in high esteem.

    The first thing about "philosophy" I don't like is the word itself, which is false advertising. The second thing is Plato, and the two are inseparable, of course.

    Until Havelock was mentioned on here, I had actually forgotten his conclusion that "sophia" originally connoted not wisdom but abstractions. Early on, I had had vague but similar suspicions and, given a dozen or so years of concentrated scholarship, I'm sure I would have arrived at the same conclusion.

    Plato constructed the figure of the Bad Old Sophist and offered the shiney new model "friend or seeker of wisdom." For wisdom, though, his fellow citizens went to the theater rather than Plato's lectures, and experienced epic orality reworked as Tragedy.

    I readily admit that Plato's and Socrates' politics contribute to my jaundiced view, and the philosophers I appreciate tend to be political philosophers wholly or partially, because it seems to me that a "friend of wisdom" does not spend all his time quibbling over "how we know what we know" or the supposed mysteries of language, but attempts to bring wisdom to our communal as well as individual lives.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    Quote Originally Posted by CornetJoyce View Post
    Zizek is a special case: when I learned that he was hanging out with Lady Gaga, my respect for her precipitously declined. Rawls, on the other hand, has supplied us with the Veil of Ignorance, which may never be adopted by "planners of future societies," but at least serves as a warning of who plans future societies. However, that's not a matter of the continental/analytic divide. As you may know, I hold Castoriadis, Baudrillard, the Frankfurt gang and other continental types in high esteem.

    The first thing about "philosophy" I don't like is the word itself, which is false advertising. The second thing is Plato, and the two are inseparable, of course.
    Not necessarily. I don't mean to be pedantic, but there are non or even anti-Platonic ways of doing philosophy, most obviously that of the non-Western kind but also within the Western 'canon'. Most contemporary philosophers, particularly those working in the realm of the radical/Marxian varieties, owe much more to the sophists and pre-Socratics like Democrates and Epicurus, or if they do go beyond the pre-Socratics, Aristotle.

    Until Havelock was mentioned on here, I had actually forgotten his conclusion that "sophia" originally connoted not wisdom but abstractions. Early on, I had had vague but similar suspicions and, given a dozen or so years of concentrated scholarship, I'm sure I would have arrived at the same conclusion.

    Plato constructed the figure of the Bad Old Sophist and offered the shiney new model "friend or seeker of wisdom." For wisdom, though, his fellow citizens went to the theater rather than Plato's lectures, and experienced epic orality reworked as Tragedy.

    I readily admit that Plato's and Socrates' politics contribute to my jaundiced view, and the philosophers I appreciate tend to be political philosophers wholly or partially, because it seems to me that a "friend of wisdom" does not spend all his time quibbling over "how we know what we know" or the supposed mysteries of language, but attempts to bring wisdom to our communal as well as individual lives.
    Unfortunately this is all too rare in practice, even though it is often proclaimed in theory. Even the folks you mention and admire like Rawls, Baudrillard and Castoriadis barely had any relationship with 'the masses', or anyone outside their small and rather elite circle of...philosophers.

    This is also the odd antimony at the heart of critical theory: On the one hand it is self-defined as being concerned with changing the world, on the other it is intentionally 'done' in such a way that it effectively minimizes its ability to do so, unless you consider academics adopting and playing around with their theories to signify meaningful change.

    Moreover, today our fellow citizens don't go to the theater for wisdom; they find it in soundbites on Reddit, in between watching Game of Thrones and going to the Super Bowl.

    But I understand your views on this better now, thank you for the reply.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Administrator RevForum Administrator CornetJoyce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    Not necessarily. I don't mean to be pedantic, but there are non or even anti-Platonic ways of doing philosophy, most obviously that of the non-Western kind but also within the Western 'canon'. Most contemporary philosophers, particularly those working in the realm of the radical/Marxian varieties, owe much more to the sophists and pre-Socratics like Democrates and Epicurus, or if they do go beyond the pre-Socratics, Aristotle.
    And yet we see on the forum repeated accusations of "idealism." Do Platonic ghosts stalk the internet?
    I realize that Whitehead's famous dictum - "The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato" - is not as accurate as it was a century ago, but my admittedly infrequent and halfhearted glances at the field suggest that it's still a fair assessment of the tradition. Of course, I'm pleased to hear that the influence of Democritus and Epicurus flourishes.

    I don't recall a discussion of Eastern philosophy on the forum, nor any indication that the philosophy referred to includes the Eastern variants (other than Maoism)

    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    Unfortunately this is all too rare in practice, even though it is often proclaimed in theory. Even the folks you mention and admire like Rawls, Baudrillard and Castoriadis barely had any relationship with 'the masses', or anyone outside their small and rather elite circle of...philosophers.

    This is also the odd antimony at the heart of critical theory: On the one hand it is self-defined as being concerned with changing the world, on the other it is intentionally 'done' in such a way that it effectively minimizes its ability to do so, unless you consider academics adopting and playing around with their theories to signify meaningful change.

    Moreover, today our fellow citizens don't go to the theater for wisdom; they find it in soundbites on Reddit, in between watching Game of Thrones and going to the Super Bowl.
    Castoriadis did have some impact in May 1968, when Cohn-Bendit declared that "the views we present are those of Castoriadis." But philosophy is indeed an elite enterprise, which may be the ultimate reason I'm not a philosopher nor even a philosophy buff: I'm much too proletarian.
    As you say, there are philosophers I don't find objectionable or muddleheaded, but the philosophers I most value are more likely to be poets, novelists or playwrights than academics.
    Electronic media has eliminated theater and centuries of social development, and I haven't suggested otherwise - although the sight of kids alone together, playing with those damned little gadgets does bring to mind a bonfire of the vanities..
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    What do you think about Springsteen? Ever seen him live?
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Administrator RevForum Administrator CornetJoyce's Avatar
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    When Springsteen arrived on the scene, he was billed as "another Dylan." There were already lots of imitation Dylans available so I ignored him. When my girlfriend wanted to attend a Springsteen concert, I was unenthusiastic, but I found him more like himself than like Dylan, and his "athleticism" as the sports writers say, certainly contrasted with Dylan. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Since then, I can't say I listen to him a lot- nor for that matter to the mature Dylan- but I appreciate his music.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Around what time did you see him play live? And was it an acoustic set from the Nebraska period or the more bombastic stuff?
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Administrator RevForum Administrator CornetJoyce's Avatar
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    It was around the time of the Nebraska album and mostly or entirely acoustic. I hadn't followed him so I didn't know about the album and don't know whether it had been released
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

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    I think the only real similarity between him and Dylan is the great lyricism. Nothing can surpass the brilliance of early Dylan of course (Chimes of Freedom, A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall, etc.), but Springsteen comes up with some great stuff that comes close to it at his best.

    Atlantic City for example:

    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    He also managed to do what Dylan wasn't very good at, namely the anthems (Dylan's Brownsville Girl is good but not great). Of course Dancing the Dark, Born in the USA and Born to Run are classics, but my favorite is The River:

    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    By the way, did the show you attend resemble this?

    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    By the way, did the show you attend resemble this?

    Yep, and I loved it.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Would loved to have experienced that myself.

    Unfortunately old rockers are a sad sight to see nowadays, especially for the prices they're asking.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Why do you think Dylan wrote the George Jackson song in '71 when he had clearly abandoned any political interest of that 'radical' kind years before?

    It seems out of place.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    Why do you think Dylan wrote the George Jackson song in '71 when he had clearly abandoned any political interest of that 'radical' kind years before?

    It seems out of place.
    Hard to say. He was certainly capable of contradicting himself. In 1971 the bulk of the Movement was unaware that it was dying and most of his fans still saw Dylan as the premier radical singer, so maybe he was pulled by demand.
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Yes, possibly. I was thinking he might have also had some sort of a personal connection with him, as I believe he had praised Jackson's Soledad Brother publicly in the years before. And of course the first lines of the song are: 'I woke up this morning with tears in my bed, they killed a man I really loved, shot him through the head.'
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Default Re: Questions for CJ

    What are your thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn and the Chicken Coup orchestrated by Blairites?
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Labour of course is a real party with real seats in a real parliament, but otherwise Labour's tory wing shares a good deal of political dna with the Clinton wing of the DP.
    For all these years they've been able to blithely dismiss Old Labour as the voice of the past, and now the Labour past returns to terrify them. What sleeze could be excessive in battling that spectral presence?
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

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    I agree. But what do you think of Jeremy Corbyn? His politics and role as Labour Leader specifically.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    I agree. But what do you think of Jeremy Corbyn? His politics and role as Labour Leader specifically.
    With the demise of the Movement, my links to the Labour left faded, so I haven't followed Corbyn as I might have in times of yore; but as far as I know his politics are not substantially different from those of Bevan, Foot and other Labour worthies. I did have some misgivings about his inclusion of Labour tories in the shadow cabinet, but I suppose a bid for party unity was hard to avoid. .
    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

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