a moment of difference, personal history...

Filed under: philosophy, event, difference, text, the political — sdv @ 03:07:55 pm

The concept of difference is often thought to be founded on linguistic/cultural difference. It’s ceryainly correct to think that the linguistic turn enabled the recent conceptualization of difference, this may be a more useful underrstanding but still cannot be said to be synonomous with the concept.

This cannot be considered a perfect personal history, but is rather the historical trajectory which lead through many lines of thought to the present through Lyotard and other related post-structuralist notions of ‘difference’. I should acknowledge an anonymous seminar leader who produced the critical reference to equivalence which still haunts me even more than the notion of difference itself does when she said the following phrase ‘…isn’t it terrifying that on a plane of difference no point can be considered better than any other….’ She was mistakenly assuming that in postmodern thought difference meant that each point was equivalent, whereas in fact postmodern difference tended towards believing that each point was incommensurable. In the intervening years I have sadly forgotten the lecturers name, but always remembered the importance of the event itself, for it is the moment when difference and equivalence began to become inextricably linked, became a single concept. I’ve often wondered since whether it was as Badiou might say a ‘Truth Event’ but given the implications I should probably accept that it remains the antithesis to such a conceptualization of Truth.


philosophy and academy

Filed under: philosophy, event, difference, text, the political — sdv @ 06:58:05 pm

I can’t help but feel that there is something wrong with being a young academic philosophy who only seems to refer to masculine philosophers. What is making me think of this again is the re-reading of Deleuzes book on Nietzsche and the way it reminds me of Sarah Kofman’s work on related areas. Paul L. used to ask whether it was possible to wrok on contemporary philosophy without having read the work that begins with De Beauvoir, but really you could go back further Edith Stein amongst others. There is something here that needs further thinking about - but first a confession.

I have two fixed and determined lines of thought and interest, continental philosophy with a strong interest in difference and philosophies of science and technology - out of this emerges the political and immanance - but still non of it makes any sense at all if read through the traditional lines of male philosophers.

Given that I don’t want to fall into the nach drach tory trap that Lyotard fell into in the Two or Three Things I Know About… essay I should at least reference Kristeva, Irigaray, Kofman, Cartwright… simply to avoid the trap. But still what and how to handle this …?

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