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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Questioning assumptions is at the root of any genuine thinking

By Tusar N Mohapatra 6:39 AM You maintain that "the extreme diversity of intended meanings of the term render it effectively meaningless." That means your objection is only against the term and not against the various notions people attribute to it. You perhaps say that these notions are real but perennial. And there is nothing new to them to be denoted as a separate genre under this generic term. Do I get you right?
By MD 1:28 PM Hello Tusar, Thank you for this comment. To answer your question, I have degrees of objection. My highest degree objection is with, yes, the term "postmodernism". That has been my main line of argument, and thank you for characterizing it accurately. Right in line with this is my argument that if one rejects "postmodernism" as a term, one must also reject the taxonomy it participates in, namely "premodernism, modernism, postmodernism".
I have lower degree objections, which have to do with a couple of the various notions, as you refer to. Derrida's deconstructionsm is the main one -- I have argued that it claims to have offered an innovation equivalent to "questioning assumptions", and that such a claim is absurd, since questioning assumptions is a) at the root of any genuine thinking, and b) see ancient Greek thought such as Plato and you'll see "questioning assumptions" in abundance. CJ Smith doesn't think "questioning assumptions" is at the heart of Derrida's deconstructionism. I think that whether or not it is the heart, the end result of deconstructionism is questioning assumptions, upon which texts rest. md
By Tusar N Mohapatra 5:37 PM Here your objection is against deconstructionsm's 'sole' claims to "questioning assumptions." 'Deconstruction: A Reader' by M. Mcquillan contains essays among others by Freud, Marx, and Heidegger. F.R. Leavis, Saussure, Barthes, Paul de Man, et al are said to have done work allied to Derrida's. So, is it fair to campaign "don't bother with Foucault, Derrida, nor Lacan" and thus prejudice the students of philosophy who have not read them?

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