Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What A Curios World, This World Of Thought

I'm still reading Collingwood, and I'm very happy to be doing it.

The New Leviathan is producing some interesting insights. In particular, I am taken by his assertion that politics must be a dialectical process, but that in his time (and I venture to say ours) it has become a largely eristical process. That is to say, our political system no longer aims at synthesizing ideas, but is about two or more sides fiercely and aggressively arguing one point with no intention of engaging in a real conversation. We have exchanged dialectical politics for eristical politics. How interesting.

As I move my way through Collingwood, however, I am preparing myself to encounter some new thinkers. In particular, I am going to read Manuel Delanda's A Thousand Years Of Nonlinear History. A book that is based heavily on Deleuze. So, I will also be grappling with Deleuze. Which is good, because he scares me.

I just watched a video of Delanda giving a talk in 2004. He explained how what he finds in Deleuze, and what he wants to refine in Deleuze, is a new materialism that can reinvigorate the left. He is critical of postmodern philosophy for being overly ideal, that is, wrapped up with the ways that ideas and language create our reality. Delanda, on the contrary, asserts that we need to reclaim material thoughts, and get out of this overly-ideal way of thinking. There is almost certainly still room for idealist thinking, language is still a monumentally important factor, but the material also needs to be accounted for. How difficult, though. I will have more posts on this opposition of material and ideal in the near future.

I also found another book/thinker that I am curious about. I actually just found out about it tonight. His name is Maurice Eisenstein, he is a political scientist at Purdue. The book I am most curious about is called The Phenomenology of Civilization: Reason As A Regulative Principle in Collingwood and Husserl. A most curious title. I don't know what goes on in the book. The title is certainly provocative.

I simply googled "collingwood and phenomenology" because it is an important connection I need to flesh out. Foucault's relationship to phenomenology became clear when I read Oksala's Foucault On Freedom, and I excitedly anticipate her new book, Foucault, Politics, And Violence. Lol. Great shit. So, I'll have to explore Collingwood's relationship to phenomenology, or look for elements of it in his writing. Eisenstein's book will probably be helpful for me. But I need to read Husserl someday.

But apparently this Eisenstein fellow is controversial. Apparently making racist statements, inappropriate statements about women. He was sued by some woman. Students at Purdue were protesting him just a week ago.

I wonder. I wonder indeed.

How funny, this world of people thinking and reading and writing. Yet they might still be assholes, might still be racists, or Nazis (ahem Heidegger). I wonder if his study of Husserl and Collingwood is worthwhile. I'll have to look. Racist or not, I wonder what he thinks of Collingwood's relationship to phenomenology.

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