From: MATTHEW PAUL KUNDERT (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 20 2003 - 01:18:05 BST
As is widely known, the various forms of
postmodern thought are being used as a political weapon, as a means to
expose, criticize and otherwise dismantle race and gender based hierarchies.
Clearly, Matt is no political activist, but as Steve's questions
demonstrate, its pretty easy to read him as generally holding the same sort
of anti-hierarchical position.
What I think you meant was, "Clearly Matt has never displayed any political activism on this forum." This, of course, goes hand in hand with the Rortyan view of a disinction between public and private activities. Philosophy is a private activity, political activism is a public one. What I do on this forum doesn't necessarily reflect what I do outside this forum. I could just as easily say, "Clearly DMB is no political activist," because I've never seen any signs of it. Nor am I asking for it. My point is that in Rorty's forumulation of post-modernism (a mantel he has no love for) post-modernis
m is not a political tool. He goes to great lengths in his Spinoza lectures and in other places to discourage people like Derrida, Norris, and Culler from thinking that philosophy is a good political tool. It can dismantle race and gender biased hierarchies, but philosophy is not where the most important battle for the alleviation of cruelty is being fought. Philosophy is parasitic on our social practices, though it can, of course, influence them.
On the rest of what you said, its a good example of why I don't like the MoQian "battle lines" between the 3rd and 4th levels. I think it makes the mistake of making philosophy a political weapon. Philosophy may be a good handmaiden to politics, but it is a poor master. I use the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror as one example.
On post-modernism's amorality, I always thought of the kinds of post-modernism I like as reinstituting values, in the form of praxis and politics. Politics are all about values. They were t
he first ones at the door pointing out in the history and philosophy of science that science has values. The post-modern recognition of this seems to me perfectly in line with Pirsig's Quality metaphor.
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