“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Deconstruction Should Get Out More

There is a tendency amongst some deconstructors to operate only within the narrow confines of Derrida's world. Of course this is a tendency of any widespread philosophical movement, a not so great one. It's a sign of atrophy, that things are heading for a whimper rather than a bang.

If deconstruction carries on that way, it will end up dealing with a narrower and narrower range of increasingly brittle topics and arguments. I think this explains in part the phenomenon of the current assault on deconstructive theisms and the psychoanalytic death drive. Things have gone a bit pear shaped if you're resorting to an unproven Aristotelian law to argue that it's logically impossible for a god or the death drive to exist—and then to call that argument Derridean.

Of course there are other things in the mix here: the end of modernity as such is the biggest. At the last gasp, thinking clutches at straws to preserve the distinction between things given ontically within correlationism versus the transcendental a prioris—synthetic judgment, reason, the human as radically split from the ontic and from other lifeforms and so on. This seems to be done most often in the name of eliminationist scientism, which provides the backbone of the resort to the law of noncontradiction.

Elimination preserves the scientistic world just as it is, while leaving thinking untouched in its tiny shrinking island of transcendence.

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