I promised that my next few posts would involve my Auseindersetzung with the world of philosophy and the last one sort of did. This one will too. But more to the point it will pose an important question:
Why in the hell do I let myself get sucked into stupid arguments?
This post over here at the Chronicle argued that deconstructionism never really fit into the "leftist" mold that right-wing conservatives were so critical of post-modernism for.
The article was well-written and although this complaint (a rather old one in fact) is wrong, I thought it was well-laid out. The subsequent discussion quickly degenerated into the usual snipes and gripes about continental philosophy by the very lamest category of analytics.
Now, the complaint about the bad political credentials of deconstruction (even if it were true, would this amount to an a priori reason for rejecting it) and about its supposed empirical unverifiability or sheer non-sense are among the two most tiresome complaints against it.
Sadly, naive Ideas Man thinks that when people make tiresome points they might actually be interested in hearing why they don't speak to the matter at hand. You'd think that I'd have been in academia long enough to know that the reason why people make the same tired points is because they like to have something to say and they like to turn any discussion in the chance to rehearse what they already know, and make sure that everybody knows it.
And when Ideas Man's idealist conception of the human race is shattered, he turns snarky.
There are enough things in life worth being occupied with (and more than enough pressing matters to be stressed about) to justify not getting involved in tiresome debates that one doesn't need to get involved in.
Sadly, there are some tiresome debates that I do occasionaly need to get involved in: for example, listening to Levinasians and Adornskis make the same tired points over and over again, since they pertain directly to issues that I am interested in and represent important (even if wrong) sets of voices in the debate.
Then there are those discussions that I'm not particularly interested in, but that I can listen to with an open mind --- debates in other words which I can enjoy following along without having a stake in --- (the Deleuzers and Badiouians, and about 90% of 20th century analytic philosophers, as long as they are talking about their own discipline and not making forays into ).
So why do I bother myself with the haters?
No more, no more. From now on, I'm unsubscribing to about 2/3s of the blogs I subscribe to and reading only those things that give me genuine pleasure (this second list of blogs that I will still read includes all those of my friends, i.e. anyone who happens to read this). And if I'm tempted to foray into blogs with a wider readership, I'm reminding myself that the point of discourse in public forums is to score debaters points and not to advance actual inquiry. We'll see if it works.