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Old 05.03.2010, 12:45 PM   #81
Lurker
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Originally Posted by Glice
This kind of feeds back into our problem with landfill academics - too many people who aren't asking precisely the question you've just asked, happy to be complicit in their own ignorance. But in that I'd maintain there is sense to be made (this doesn't mean I'm the person to make sense of it, as the following will likely demonstrate).

Fissure with reality - from the mirror stage of children's development, the child learns to identify themselves with the baby in the mirror - the mother says 'c'est toi'. The person in the mirror is a representation of the self, not the self 'itself', and from thereon our ontological notion of 'reality' is always representative, or rather, the 'I' becomes the 'other' of the reflection. I seem to remember Lacan calls this 'irreality'. The 'fissure' is a split, a cardinal break from a sort of 'pure' reality, a consciousness formed merely by existence; from after the mirror phase, reality remains the orientation of our consciousness, and it is reality as classically understood, but it ought to be understood as borne of this split.

'Destabilise empirical truth' - this is again related to Descartes Cogito - the 'proofs' of existence are no longer reified once we recognise the fissure. 'Destabilise' because it no longer has the power it once had; it isn't undermined, however, because there's no escape from the split (except for in hypothetical mirrorless societies). Empirical truth remains truth, but it's a truth within the contingencies of human understanding. That's not to say there's no 'alterior' reality, but that are understanding remains (in non-Lacanian terms) anthropo-centric.

I wouldn't necessary say I agreed with Lacan, I should add.

Thanks for this. I'm still don't think I get it.

I've got essays to write, and can't put my mind to this right now. I might come back to you with more questions later.
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Old 05.03.2010, 12:49 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by the ikara cult
thats university lecturers mate, youre never going to get a George Orwell teaching you about anything. Theyre sustained by their scientific or academic research, not their teaching. To gain their interest you have to be an obsessive, or at least a trainee obsessive.


Yes exactly. Maybe I should accept it, stop whining, and get on with things.

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I think our politics can be quite vicious, its just that the British tradition is to roll our eyes or laugh dismissively. Especially now the right-left divide doesnt exist any more. The main differences in this election are "How are we going to save money?". Nothing ideological about it.

yeah true, the parliamentary debated can be pretty vicious.

Even if politics is not ideological anymore that doesn't mean it isn't important. Now we've just voting for the best save money.
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Old 05.03.2010, 12:56 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Lurker
Thanks for this. I'm still don't think I get it.

I've got essays to write, and can't put my mind to this right now. I might come back to you with more questions later.

i'll attempt translation.

the first part means that we can't see ourselves as ourselves, but only through other people's eyes. in other words (jung said it before lacan i believe) the ego is not the self. but lacan doesn't talk in those terms-- lacan likes to be incomprehensible (i've tried reading the bastard-- headaches).

the second part i don't understand well, it's still abstruse, but i'll try: descartes proofs of existence crap out once we recognize that the "i" in "i think therefore i am" (that's descartes proof of existence) is not a real i but a representation of one so... *something something*

anyway, only the french still argued with descartes in the xx century. descartes supposedly denied empirical truths (empiricism) with his rationalism, so.... destroying his argument would bring back empirical truth. but only partially because....? i don't get. this somehow ends up feeding postructuralist notions.

fuck, i should post notes when i reedit shit, or maybe i should write on a separate thing & post when finished, but i'm posting this between emails & work calls-- sorry.

ok, no more edits to this post-- consider it finished, warts & all.
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Old 05.03.2010, 12:57 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Lurker
Yes exactly. Maybe I should accept it, stop whining, and get on with things.



yeah true, the parliamentary debated can be pretty vicious.

Even if politics is not ideological anymore that doesn't mean it isn't important. Now we've just voting for the best save money.

yup, we're just a national corporation. I think its a good thing that we treat our decisions in a businesslike manner. But im a Socialist through and through.
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Old 05.03.2010, 01:34 PM   #85
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A funny anecdote. I once had to sit in on a tutorial that an MA student was having with a very old academic (who did know his Lacan inside out). The student proceeded to talk for about fifteen minutes in the most convoluted Lacanian doublespeak imaginable. Eventually, the old academic stopped him and said, "so ultimately, what you're trying to tell us is that High Noon is a Western."
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Old 05.03.2010, 01:42 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by Glice
Criticise religion, by all means, say that people are deluded, certainly, but to negate the value of these cultural practises outright... well, when he's got Dawkinsian missions building schools, wells and so on in poor countries (and don't misunderstand me on this - the Christian mission is very different today to the Mission of up to the early-20th century) then he's got a fair point. However, what he actually does is make juvenile threats to arrest the pope, like a whinging teenager.
DELETED.

He...doesn't negate the value of these cultural practices outright...DELETED.

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Old 05.03.2010, 01:42 PM   #87
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thinking more about lacan's mirror stage, not just jung said it before, freud said it with his ego/id/superego, nietzsche said it before in 20 different ways, rimbaud said it too around the same time (lettres du vident), and zen monks said that too a long long time ago.

lacan's slight modification to these repetitions of past statements is i believe that he proposes that this split happens through language. that's it. that's why literary "theorists" had a boner for him for a while. language! let's hang on to that...

anyway, nobody really fucking understands lacan. check this out:

"Lacan deliberately wrote in an obscure and at times absolutely unintelligible manner, one made infinitely more complicated, I have painfully learned, by much play on words in sophisticated French that defies translation even by professors of French. Fink attempts to be as clear as possible, and one must give him credit for making a tremendous effort to explain Lacan's ambiguous, deliberately obscure, and narcissistically esoteric prose, but at certain points he simply is unable to do so. "

this by someone who actually thinks lacan is important to the psychiatric profession:

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/...ll/155/2/298-a

it's a nice review, by the way.
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Old 05.03.2010, 01:44 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by demonrail666
A funny anecdote. I once had to sit in on a tutorial that an MA student was having with a very old academic (who did know his Lacan inside out). The student proceeded to talk for about fifteen minutes in the most convoluted Lacanian doublespeak imaginable. Eventually, the old academic stopped him and said, "so ultimately, what you're trying to tell us is that High Noon is a Western."


haaa haaa-- haaaa haa haaa haaaa---

awesome

that unfortunately doesn't happen these days, everybody gets a pat in the back...
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Old 05.03.2010, 02:24 PM   #89
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I'm a bit busy at the moment, but a brief defence of Lacan's writing: he himself decries it. He's really not interested in the written word. He constantly repeats, in interviews and so on, that his seminars were most important, and his students have spent most of the last century saying that his was a work in progress, an amorphous, constantly-changing response to the world. There are themes, and there are consistencies, and he has a lot of ideas that recur, but he himself would've likely been aghast at the amount of stress that's placed on works he didn't necessary stand by as definitive.

And if he says something very simple (which he does) which has been said elsewhere (which is debatable, but not very - I can't be bothered to negate it), is that really a problem? Ultimately, we're stuck between two poles - he's a difficult 'writer' saying something simple, re-articulating existing points. His consolidation of Wittgenstein into psychoanalysis, reconstituting a modern metaphysics is indispensable and seminal, to my mind, but if that requires a historical-narrative-context to obviate its uniqueness, well, that's kind of what philosophy, in the broadest possible terms, always does.
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Old 05.03.2010, 03:00 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by Glice
I'm a bit busy at the moment, but a brief defence of Lacan's writing: he himself decries it. He's really not interested in the written word. He constantly repeats, in interviews and so on, that his seminars were most important, and his students have spent most of the last century saying that his was a work in progress, an amorphous, constantly-changing response to the world. There are themes, and there are consistencies, and he has a lot of ideas that recur, but he himself would've likely been aghast at the amount of stress that's placed on works he didn't necessary stand by as definitive.

i've no problem with his writing. i have a problem with his elevation as unquestionable prophet who is namedropped by people who can't possibly understand him.

see: demonrail's anecdote.

i bet you that sucka he witnessed is today angling for a departmental chair somewhere.

how many people quote lacan who haven't bothered to read freud? answer: most of them.

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Originally Posted by Glice
And if he says something very simple (which he does) which has been said elsewhere (which is debatable, but not very - I can't be bothered to negate it), is that really a problem?

is not a problem as long as this is kept in perspective, not treated like he forever changed the world. he was a shrink. had some interesting ideas, some are hard to grasp, some incomprehensible. some of them are valuable, some are fresh, some are recycled. good enough, but he's no philosophical god-- though you seem to think so. i'd like to understand why. which brings us to the last part (skip this next thing if you want)

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Originally Posted by Glice
Ultimately, we're stuck between two poles - he's a difficult 'writer' saying something simple, re-articulating existing points.

nothing wrong with that, as long as this is remembered and kept in perspective.

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Originally Posted by Glice
His consolidation of Wittgenstein into psychoanalysis, reconstituting a modern metaphysics is indispensable and seminal, to my mind,

ok, so, here, please, when you have time, can you explain how he "consolidated wittgenstein into psychoanalysis and reconstituted a modern metaphysics"? i've never heard of such thing (i don't mean this as "there is no such thing", i mean it as "i am ignorant of it"), and i'd like to know. if you can explain it in a manner this audience can understand, that would be great. i guess those are 2 statements so perhaps explain them separately? start with his work "consolidating wittgenstein into psychoanalisis", then explain how metaphysics was "reconstituted" as a result. i am seriously clueless about what you're saying here. feel free to provide historical-narrative context.
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Old 05.03.2010, 03:18 PM   #91
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I'll do that later, if I have time - but again, if I don't make any sense to you, it's for one of two reasons: the first, that I'm articulating it badly (a crime I'd plead guilty to without reservation, if accused) the second, that I'm talking the language of a specific discipline - if you don't get it, it's not because you're stupid, it's because it's outside of your ken. I am incapable of getting even the most fundamental grip on particle physics, for instance, while I'm ok with architectural theory. Horses/ courses etc.
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Old 05.03.2010, 03:26 PM   #92
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don't worry, i have no fear of stupidity, which is simply the limit of intelligence (hence we are all stupid), however, please try as much as you can to be clear-- that's why i'm saying "when you have time." the principles of particle physics, while governed by very difficult equations, can be explained quite simply-- but that's another story.
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Old 05.03.2010, 04:20 PM   #93
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I do think we should be careful to seperate off those misusers of Lacan: students and lecturers that we all know exist. While I'm personally not a fan of Lacan, I can't think of another intellectual who's had his reputation so discredited by the excesses of his devotees. Nietzsche maybe. Anyway, I'm convinced Lacan isn't the problem, nor some of his more serious champions (Zizek, Heath, Butler, etc), but rather it's the prat who suddenly declares himself a card carrying Lacanian after skim reading 'Beginners Guide to Poststructuralism' on the way to a seminar. I know that to be the case, because ten years ago I was that very prat.
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Old 05.03.2010, 05:01 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Pookie
DELETED.

He...doesn't negate the value of these cultural practices outright...DELETED.

DELETED

I'm sure you're right. I maintain he's the most onerous 'academic' I can think of. In many ways, he's academia's Cameron - no matter the facts of the matter, he'll always be a prize bellend, and should be admonished as such.
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Old 05.03.2010, 05:10 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by !@#$%!
ok, so, here, please, when you have time, can you explain how he "consolidated wittgenstein into psychoanalysis

Wittgenstein represents the linguistic turn in philosophy; Lacan turns the focus of psychoanalysis from Freudian analysis of the conscious/ unconscious (etc) to the language of the analysand, and language in general. Although I really think Lacan's psychoanalysis as a mental health practise is his least important aspect - if I remember rightly, he didn't actually do much of it in his later career (possibly due to a lack of a licence). But yeah, there's a new idea about - Wittgenstein's language games - and Lacan goes 'hey, why the fuck don't I use this for what I do? That'd be well sick that.' He quite literally put a banging donk on psychoanalysis.

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and reconstituted a modern metaphysics"?

Metaphysics was sort of off the cards at the time - it was the sort of thing that dreadfully boring English philosophers were on about, boringly. So reconstitute because it was a bit of a leper subject, which he made relevant again under the new ideas relating to language and psychoanalysis.

Incidentally, the English are incapable of doing philosophy.
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Old 05.03.2010, 05:21 PM   #96
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Dawkins hasn't read his Lovecraft. Nor I suspect has Cameron
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Old 05.03.2010, 08:53 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Glice
Wittgenstein represents the linguistic turn in philosophy; Lacan turns the focus of psychoanalysis from Freudian analysis of the conscious/ unconscious (etc) to the language of the analysand, and language in general. Although I really think Lacan's psychoanalysis as a mental health practise is his least important aspect - if I remember rightly, he didn't actually do much of it in his later career (possibly due to a lack of a licence). But yeah, there's a new idea about - Wittgenstein's language games - and Lacan goes 'hey, why the fuck don't I use this for what I do? That'd be well sick that.' He quite literally put a banging donk on psychoanalysis. .

first time i hear lacan incorporated language games into psychoanalysis-- i'm doing a search on it and no dice. but ok, both dealt with language, and perhaps converged somehow.

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Originally Posted by Glice
Metaphysics was sort of off the cards at the time - it was the sort of thing that dreadfully boring English philosophers were on about, boringly. So reconstitute because it was a bit of a leper subject, which he made relevant again under the new ideas relating to language and psychoanalysis..


well, yes, ok. but you had heidegger and husserl and whatshisname that frenchie, bergson, dealing with metaphysics at that time, no? not sure what the eeengleesh were up to

what do you mean by metaphysics anyway? cuz i dont know that lacan was dealing with metaphysics per se-- he dealt with psychoanalysis-- freud & shit-- how do you bridge this?


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Incidentally, the English are incapable of doing philosophy.

ha! nietzsche said that. seriously.
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Old 05.04.2010, 02:42 AM   #98
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Mis-representative on my part: not 'Lacan does language games' but language is our new focus.

You had odds and sods of metaphysics, yeah - but both Heidegger and Bergson didn't become popular till a bit later I think. Either way, they're from very different worlds to Lacan. Metaphysics proceeding from psychanalysis rather than philosophy.

Lacan was a psychoanalyst (or a theorist thereof); Descartes was a mathematician - both have metaphysical points to make. Really, I don't see it as any more difficult than that.
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Old 05.04.2010, 05:18 AM   #99
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This thread sure has derailed hard from where I last let off.

Just for the record, I suppose, I will state that I am much more trusting of an explanation that is ground in the context of the struggling economies than one that seeks to pin it on critical theory, the lack of public intellectuals, ambiguous jargon, Lacan, or any other favorite target. Those things aren't new.

Probably despite my tone in my first replies, I'm don't believe Middlesex wanted to discontinue its Philosophy department. Even with courses like Housing Studies and Early Childhood Studies, which don't actually sound so ridiculous to me, I can't imagine what it must be like to run a university.

Of course, though, I don't want to pardon anything on count of placing business on a mystical pedestal but I think the answer lies there more than with the neurotic state(s) of the humanities.
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Old 05.04.2010, 12:46 PM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbradley
Of course, though, I don't want to pardon anything on count of placing business on a mystical pedestal but I think the answer lies there more than with the neurotic state(s) of the humanities.

that is true, i did say however that what you call "the neurotic state(s) of the humanities" was partially responsible as well.

regarding your observation on business above all-- it is true, but that is a fact of life, isn't it? i mean-- survival comes first, all the accoutrements of wealth come later. not sure if you've ever read "the theory of the leisure class"-- it's an ancient sociology treatise that reads more like a science fiction novel written by an alien. thorsten veblen (the author), who at heart was a socialist, discusses the intrinsic "barbarism" of human societies and how the more money you have the more you waste through "conspicuous consumption" (he coined the term)-- we regard this waste as honorific-- the more we waste the higher we place on the social scale-- you can look for example at the relative prestige of a sport according to how many resources are invested into it-- say, golf is more prestigious than billiards, polo (which requires the keeping of stables) even more so than golf

anyway, somewhere in the book (i confessed to having skipped parts) he talks about training in "useless" professions as a sign of status. the more money a society has, the more artists, philosophers, writers, and thinkers it's able to afford. the renaissance exploded in a handful of italian city states for a reason-- they were fucking loaded. same thing with athens. the enlightenment was propelled by the rise of capitalism that was fueled by gold and silver from the americas, as well as the slave trade. wherever you find intelligence , there is money backing it up.

the thing is, those of use who studied or study or work in the humanities have been told that we're essential to keep alive a number of ideal without which society would collapse, etc-- but it's not true-- we serve a pecuniary function-- in other words, it's how the rich show off-- by funding poetry chairs and philosophy departments. it's sad, hilarious, and true.

in previous times, the people we think of as philosophers and writers were usually the byproduct of theology faculties or law schools-- which required the study of philosophy, rhethoric and other various "liberal arts" for its function. and artists and thinkers since the time of the greeks required the patronage of the rich-- aristotle had alexander the great, roman poets had mecenas, the monks in the middle ages were funded by the church, the renaissance had the borgias and other families, and the pope, and the french court; the elizabethan poets, i don't know but it was someone who was loaded; descartes had some swedish princess or something, new york had peggy guggenheim, and so on and so forth. when you run out of rich people, or corporate sponsors, or government or church funding, the arts and humanities are run into the ground.

i'm not saying that the humanities have no value, or that it's ok to kill them, but it's been proven over and over that having a good education will not make you a better person. this is a tired argument, but germany was a highly educated nation when they embraced the nazi ideology, many of its leaders were art connoisseurs, highly literate people, well versed in music... and then they happily cooked jews. heidegger was a fucking nazi, strauss was a bit of a nazi ass-licker (ok, he had to survive, but still), leni riefenstahl was goebbels's intrument, there were a bunch of other names of people i don't know who were professors, scientists, philosophers, who happily contributed to this mad enterprise.

so the whole argument about the improvement of humanity is shaky at best.

then you have the humanities people committing suicide-- terry eagleton for example, though he may have changed his mind since, claimed in his most successful and widely read book that literature was a social invention that deserved no special status. sure, his job was probably safe, but by that logic, a lot of teachers of literature should have been terminated. and i'm sure they were. fuck you, eagleton.

anyway, i'm slapping together a half-assed devil-advocate's argument here, not one that i wholeheartedly support, but this is only to say that maybe the economy of middlesex cannot afford to train a bunch of unemployable critical theorists at this particular juncture, and since the critical theorists haven't made a case for their importance to the society at large, and fast food workers and clerks do not require university educations, the fucking dean, or whoever it is, decided to drop the axe.

interestingly enough though, there is an explosion in the demand for librarians these days-- though they deal more with corporate and institutional archives and that sort of thing.
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