Monday, December 05, 2005

lack of discussion, lack of interest?

there has been dramatically little discussion going on recently. I assume this is either because no one cares abot or no one reads what is on the blog. Either that or you all agree, which would seem to denote the death of philosophy.

Political is very rarely philosophical in my view. the relation between philosophy and politics seem similar to that between personhood and morality, in that morality is based on ideas of what a person is, and then extrapolates to deal with a group of people. the trouble is that concepts of personhodd are somewhat unsettled, and that we seem in our efforts to create a set of morals to be building guilded roofs on rotting foundations. So my point is, what about the philosophy?

You may way, "but there's been heaps of quotes from variouse philosophers". yes, but their all a bit on the side, if not political themselves, of politically trendy philosophy. So sure look at stuff that's interesting, but, it being a philosophy blog, how about the philosophy as well.

Now then I will be told "weel, you're a contributer; contribute that stuff". Yes but it is somewhat disheartening due to the lack of discussion. Now obviousely this is a viciouse cycle, much like Frankfurt's boredom, but there's always a way out of it.


Samuel Douglas said...

I agree that there has been bugger-all going on here recently. This is partially my fault as Editor for not stoking the fires much this last week or so. Between work, the waiting to see if I get into post-grad, and the impending spectre of Christmas, I haven't really been in the mood. This is of course a bit soft. If it were someone else's fault I would quote Gurney Halleck (a character from Dune: The BOOK!, so stick that in you pipe and smoke it Rowan, you elitist nerd. Anyway..) and say :"Mood! Mood is a thing for cattle and lovemaking" (or something like that) and then generally deride the all and sundry to make myself feel better. But since it me that is being lazy, it's not really an option.

All I can say is that I will attempt to try harder.

I will try to include some philosophy as opposed to something interesting soon.

I am intrigued by your implication that we need to return to more fundamental issues and problems that face us. Things that need to be sorted out before we can get to politics. How could we really decide what a group of people should do (politics) if we don't know what one person actually is (personal identity)?

Am I reading you right?

The other problem we are typically saddled with is that many of us (myself included) can beat five kinds of crap oput of someone elses argument, but can rarely be bothered putting forth a positive model of our own. I would like to see that change. If any of us ever want to make something of this game we are playing we had better get used to doing this, as I read on Leiter Reports the other day, "Philosopher Makes Mistake! never made the news anywhere."

MH said...

Apologies, Michael, that my efforts at maintaining a regular turn-over of current philosophic material (the primary function of the Editor in my eyes) did not meet your standards.

I’m prepared to concede that there has been little discussion; but you’re right in predicting my sentiments – where were the contributors? There is only so much that one individual can do …

I would, however, contest your insinuation that the bulk of the content lately has been political or ‘politically-trendy’ – whatever that means – philosophy. Yes, Baudrillard and Zizek have been over represented lately, but I think you’ll find that is what happens when one individual – who has a current interest in specific philosophers – is the only regular contributor (again, it comes back to the absence of other contributors). I contest that they are simply ‘political’ given that their work can be situated at the forefront of post-modernity and cultural theory/criticism, and that they can be brushed aside for sake of ‘real’ ‘hard-core’ philosophy. Personally, I think that their work is actually more relevant than trying to determine the philosophical usefulness of love, or solving the ontological argument, though for some strange reason there are philosophers out there who think that these are all consuming problems …

All I can say is that it well and good to stand-up and criticise, but it is much harder to actively contribute in a positive way. That, and I am well aware that you made numerous contributions over the course of my tenure as Editor (many of which were not regarded appropriately, for various reasons), but all contributors probably could have done more to get discussions going and perpetuated them.

I will end by pointing out that the Executive is currently looking for an individual to replace me (Samuel is presently filling in) as Editor.

Samuel Douglas said...

Hey, I'm happy to be Editor!

(And there is nothing wrong with trying to solve the ontological argument, not that I think it is possible anyway).

MH said...

Did I write otherwise? I only stated - as I believe it to be - that you are looking for a more permanent replacement. If this has changed, I apologise and stand corrected.

(And there is nothing wrong with trying to rebut the ontological argument, just like there is nothing wrong with trying to understand the nature of contemporary society.)

MH said...

(I forgot to add: 'Both are significant philosophical problems'.)

michael said...

Sam, as always I'm not sure what your reading of my reading was, so I'l just say plainly: my thought was that in order to say something about politics we first have to know about the individuals that make it up.

Martin, I understand, as have been in a vaguely similar position with Frankfurt of late.

Good to see, however, that this at leat got some conversation going.

MH said...

There is something of an irony in that ...

Since your reading Frankfurt, you might as well read 'On Bullshit' (Princeton, either 2004 or 2005 [Can't be bothered to chase up my copy to check]). Probably not the side of H.F. that your interested in, but you might gain something from it.

michael said...

I asume that is just a re-release of the 1986 essay by the same name (Raritan, VI, no. 1 (october, 1987)). Also to be found in his first collected essays "The Importance of What we Care about", Cambridge university press, 1988. If not let me know.