August 19, 2013


'Atlantic Rim': Chomsky v. Zizek The Nation - Aug 15, 2013

All Roads Lead to Jerusalem! - What do Indians Need: A History or the Past – S.N. Balagangadhara February 16, 2012 The ideologues of the Sangh Parivar, in their haste to capture political power, in their utter and total ignorance of the western culture, are pushing a Christian religious theme on to the Indian culture. Reconceptualizing India Studies by Balagangadhara – a new book How to speak for the Indian traditions: an agenda for the future – SN Balagangadhara

What a Secularist can and should be Proud of? - Aravindan Neelakandan Independence Day Special: An Indian secularist should be proud of Hindutva and should be ashamed of pseudo-secularism

Mohanty’s work suggests that we specialists need to think more about topics and less about schools and individual thinkers. Mohanty draws from inter-school debates without regard for niceties of attribution, and flushes out positions for their intrinsic interest apart from historical setting. At the heart of philosophy are, after all, issues, views, and arguments, not persons. Mohanty’s vision is, instead, the revitalization of Indian philosophy through continued work that accepts many uniquely classical Indian assumptions and much of an interlocking scheme of categories while making improvements and refinements. The real possibility for this is connected with, in Mohanty’s view, thought’s ability to transcend culture, or, as he puts it, the life-world. 

Polymorphously Perverse Nature Posted by larvalsubjects August 17, 2013
Nature is auto-constructing without a constructor, not designed. In short, we must build a concept of nature as polymorphously perverse and differential.  The polymorphous, of course, refers to that which is capable of taking on a variety of different forms.  Far from being characterized by ineluctability and necessity, life testifies to the essential plasticity and creativity of nature.  In a Freudian framework, the “perverse” refers to that which deviates from its aim.  For example, the oral drive is “perverse” in that it aims not at sustenance, but at the pleasure of orality. The oral drive, as it were, subverts the teleology of the mouth and tongue.  In this regard, Freud gave us a non-teleological account of sexuality.  Despite all of is problems, the novelty of Freud’s account of sexuality lies in having decoupled the sexual and reproductive.  Within a Freudian framework, we reproduce because of sexuality– as an accidental by-product of sexuality –we do not have sexuality for the sake of reproduction.  Sexuality, in a Freudian framework, is inherently queer; even in heterosexual contexts.
Surprisingly, it was Darwin that taught us to think of life as inherently perverse and queer (although this message is often missed).  Despite the abuses to which evolutionary thought is endlessly subjected by things such as Spencer’s social darwinism and evolutionary biology, Darwin’s first step lay in erasing teleology. Within a Darwinian framework, form does not follow function, but rather function follows form.
Latour tirelessly makes exactly this point. The aim is not to erase signification– as I quite explicitly say in this post –but to challenge that sort of linguistic and semiotic imperialism. Obviously, as Latour points out, assemblages involving humans involve components of power, text, and materiality. They are hybrid. The problem with culturalism is that it only acknowledges the first two, ignoring the third. At any rate, signification/culture is itself a formation of nature. You might look at my work on “wilderness ontology” to see more of what I mean by this.
I hope that my position is nuanced on these issues. It is not a matter of suggesting that we abandon thinkers such as Derrida. It’s a matter of tempering their more imperialistic claims so as to make room for other modes of analysis in addition to the sort of work they do. Certainly I have benefited immeasurably from the thought of Derrida, Lacan, Barthes, Baudrillard, Zizek, etc. I have learned things from these thinkers that pervade everything I do. It’s not a question of abandoning that work but of reworking it in a realist/materialist framework capable of analyzing materiality without reflexively treating it as a discursive or semiotic construction.

Freud was the first to acknowledge the fact that it is not possible to understand the complexities of the psyche, without resorting to multiplicity of structure. He proposed his trinity of the Id, the Ego, and the Super-Ego. When speaking of Eros, Thanatos or Oedipus, he was also resorting to personifying, which did in fact contribute to the success of his theory. Everybody began to "believe" in Oedipus' complex, in Eros and Thanatos , almost unaware that this is a metaphoric device that gives some vitality to a concept. Yet we should not take these personified concepts more literally than the Ancient Greeks took their divinities.
But Freud, although convinced of the multiplicity of the psyche, and although he occasionally personified his concepts, never admitted that, he was speaking metaphorically and not scientifically. By his exclusive valuing of Science, Freud and today freudians, are heading right back to the same monotheistic ideal that Freud himself had criticised as oppressive. First, he wrote a remarkable analysis of the alienation that comes from rigid religious beliefs, but then he professed an absolute faith in Science. In the name of scientific truth, he transformed his theories into dogmas. Moreover, by his refusal to acknowledge his own subjectivity in the formation of his theories, he was at fault with the scientific method itself. Freud's attitude, called "scientific monotheism” by some critics, also made him act as if he was really the Pope of the psychoanalytic dogma. Consequently, he felt entitled to refuse Adler, Jung and many others, the right to oppose, contradict him in any significant fashion, if they were to stay in the club of wich he was the only, omnipotent God…
It seems that Freud was himself victim to the male judaic obsession with god the father, the very obsession he had denounced. Even his idea of love, which was after all the only domain left to women, was personified by a male divinity. Why did Freud choose Eros, instead of its mother Aphrodite, the great Goddess of libido? Had he chosen to personify love by Aphrodite, instead of Eros, he would certainly not have written that libido is male. Ginette Paris
It is helpful to look at Marx’s notion of scientific methodology. Marx, in this sense an heir to Plato, regards as a minimum necessary condition of any science, that it uncovers the reality behind the veil of appearance that conceals it. He claims that without this basic criterion science would be stripped of its legitimacy, because it would be useless to want to get to know something which is already obvious and known pre-scientifically. If scientists did not lift any veils to show what is concealed behind them, they would do something absolutely different than what science requires. They might engage in what Marx calls with reference to some forms of economics: vulgar science. If we follow Marx in taking astrology as a typical representative of such a "science" this idea becomes more feasible. 2:59 AM  

Amod Lele 20 short bits to sum up the philosophical ideas I currently believe

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