Un-philosophical Transitions.

I was just thinking about how I have yet to find in philosophy any ‘why’ of how philosophical turns occur or came about. It appears that everyone just seems to all of a sudden be talking in a particular manner, about certain things.

And I thought: How un-philosophical of theses philosophers, to only be considering what comes  before them without really looking into how it came about.

For example: For all you ‘Realists’ and ‘Postmodernists’. Can you tell me what really constitutes the difference? What I mean is, can you tell me how it came to be different? that is, without referring to what has already occurred so that you can speak about things and refer to various authors that are or have already identified with the ‘turn-genre’ ?

I could be wrong, but I suspect that if we really were philosophical about the ‘how’ of philosophical turns coming about, we might find the very philosophical identities we cling so desperately to are actually not so philosophical and actually quite psychological and political. We might find that the great philosophical ideas that we throw out there to let everyone know how intelligent we are and can be, how super deep we are able to think about things and how coherently we can talk link philosophical words together, might just not be philosophical at all.

Maybe instead of ‘talking about the talk’, someone could actually think (Heidegger asks this: What is thinking?) about how that came to be.

Maybe I could start with an example:

I am not a postmodernist, but I can use postmodern ideas because I already understand them. Postmodernism thus is not a phase or an era, or a philosophical turn, but a moment that uses various terms to indicate a thing. Likewise, I am not a Harman OOO-ist, but I can use his terms to talk about the same things.

Because I am not really able to pin down ‘what I am as a philosopher’, or ‘what school I identify with’, I am curious how people are able to situate their ideas within categories that exclude other ones, and how this is possible. img_0130


Anyone care to get out of their comfort zone for a minute and give it a shot?



    1. That is interesting to me. I’ve been pondering how we come upon philosophy as if it is occurring in a directional manner, and historical manner leading from one manner or sense to the next, and it appears as if things are moving in a logical and sensible order from say a more primitive or less developed state into a more progressed state. The idea behind this is that philosophy now has considered so many ideas that we in a sense stand on the shoulders of what was ignorant of previous philosophers.

      But I’m not so sure this is the case. I’m wondering about this strange situation where I read philosophers of the past and find more and less progressed ideas for any general period of time. It’s really more like the classification of philosophical eras is it self an historical artefact,, like a certain kind of impression stuck and was carried into time to generalize or classify a certain set of ideas, but then when you look at the set of ideas we can’t really tell why they were classified in that way.

      For example, I hate the term postmodern. I remember in my undergraduate anthropology studies one class we went over what the term postmodern might mean, and we came up with a list, a general list, and I always got the impression that no one really knew what the hell postmodern meant. I got the distinct feeling from the professors that post modern really didn’t identify anything and that it was really just sort of a trope that people used as if it was identifying something specific or some error or some characteristic of thinking, but everyone was hesitant upon nailing down wet even the term postmodern is supposed to mean.

      And then when you look into the authors themselves there really isn’t anything that defines them as a common set. We could say that it had something to do with discourse, but if we’re honest about it we can’t really put our finger about what it is that anyone is saying about discourse that would classify any set of authors as postmodern.

      Yet we do have a class or a group of academics today that would consider themselves postmodern writers.

      … anyways I’m just pondering these ideas and I’d like to hear from other people about what they might have to say about that situation, because it seems to me that people are grabbing hold of terms and concepts as if they are graspable and capable of being made into a certain position.

      I would like to hear from people who consider themselves of a certain thinking set. It would be cool for someone to defined to me that set that they are figuring themselves within and how they came about making themselves part of that set. Because I Donely a set that I consider myself in so far as a thinker is the philosopher; I do have a fairly definite set of notion’s that go into why identify myself as a philosopher, but I think that really goes to why I can’t produce any other subsets of philosophy that I could possibly identify myself with or as.

  1. Es ist passiert, “it just sort of happened”, people said there when other people in other places thought heaven knows what had occurred. It was a peculiar phrase, not known in this sense to the Germans and with no equivalent in other languages, the very breath of it transforming facts and the bludgeonings of fate into something light as eiderdown, as thought itself.

    Robert Musil • The Man Without Qualities

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