poetix

we murder to dissect
Much talk of "structure" is handwaving around wicked complex cybernetic feedback loops, but when we refer to structures we are perhaps trying to say that out of all that wicked complexity some comparatively fixed and stable and independently describable modules have emerged. We're saying that a simplifying model can be put forward which actually has explanatory power.

An example would be talk about "the school-to-prison-pipeline" - it's saying, "here are discriminatory and disciplinary sub-systems, embedded in actual institutions, which mesh together to corral members of a targeted population towards incarceration".

poetix. how did cultural M`rxism take over the universities?
The funny thing about universities is how conservative they mostly actually are. But students are perhaps especially primed to be excited about insight porn, and much critical theory works like insight porn - here is an intellectual doodad with levers you can pull that generates plausible-looking explanations for wicked complex social phenomena, knock yourself out!
 

poetix

we murder to dissect
OTOH just consistently going "it's all wicked complex cybernetic feedback loops, your talk of structures is unwarranted and naive, reality is never so simple!" does not in fact make one the smartest person in the room
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
We're saying that a simplifying model can be put forward which actually has explanatory power.

this is key for me. this is why i reject craners nihilism
 

poetix

we murder to dissect
There's a line of Daniel Dennett's, about not wanting to be the "village verificationist" (this is some analytic philosophy thing, I can't even remember what it means), but maybe we should be urbane verificationists, which often comes to my mind. Like, we can develop and employ our simplifying models with a bit of sophistication - in fact, that may be the best thing we can do.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
There's a line of Daniel Dennett's, about not wanting to be the "village verificationist" (this is some analytic philosophy thing, I can't even remember what it means), but maybe we should be urbane verificationists, which often comes to my mind. Like, we can develop and employ our simplifying models with a bit of sophistication - in fact, that may be the best thing we can do.
reminds me of Stein calling Pound the village explainer
 

craner

Beast of Burden
The funny thing about universities is how conservative they mostly actually are. But students are perhaps especially primed to be excited about insight porn, and much critical theory works like insight porn - here is an intellectual doodad with levers you can pull that generates plausible-looking explanations for wicked complex social phenomena, knock yourself out!
Universities are, but not all university departments are. But I agree in the sense that it is perfectly possible to complete a degree while ignoring all of that stuff.
 

poetix

we murder to dissect
The way theory is taught in universities is often "read this bit of Foucault, got that? right, now go and apply it to something", and you come back with "waxing salons are prisons actually" and you get a B+, because actually getting into what Foucault was up to when he wrote that bit of Foucault in the first place, what arguments and practical situations he was trying to intervene in, who agreed and who disagreed and why, and how all that worked out, would take the whole term at least.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
poetix i guess you are in a funny position cos they wouldn't have taught you any of that stuff at Oxford. you never got it forced down your throat like Craner says he did. you did it in your own time.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
The people I know who did Deleuze etc at uni were the people doing stuff like art and film and the people who actually did philosophy never went near it.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
when you studied english they actually let you read Shakespeare while Craner was banned from it and had to memorise bell hooks
 

craner

Beast of Burden
I studied in two separate English departments and one History of Art department and all of them predicated their theoretical work on Marx, Freud, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida with other adds on like Kristeva, Butler, New Historicism, Cultural Materialism. Like I said, you could avoid it, but it was also very prominent, and theoretical arguments were all filtered through that lense, apart from the Linguistics and Old and Middle English departments.
 
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