Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #2201

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    Mail-Moth you've compelled me to post the end of J.M. Coetzee's essay on Walser:

    Was Walser a great writer? If one is reluctant to call him great, said Canetti, that is only because nothing could be more alien to him than greatness. In a late poem Walser wrote:

    I would wish it on no one to be me.
    Only I am capable of bearing myself.
    To know so much, to have seen so much, and
    To say nothing, just about nothing.

    Link

  2. #2202

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    John Niven - Kill Your Friends

    ...great fun to read

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corsair sanglot View Post
    galia is talking about jakob von gunten by robert walser/institute benjamenta by the brothers quay. faust is talking about the other book in rayuela's post, i guess.

    faust, you should give walser a shot some day.
    Oh, now I see the confusion. Yeah, didn't realize there was another book. I was talking about Slynx.
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  4. #2204

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    currently reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in preparation for the Fincher movie remakes this winter. after watching the Swedish movies on a whim i was hooked.

    after seeing and hearing about those books all the time i was kinda sick of them before ever reading them. pretty glad i got around to them.

  5. #2205
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    Just to talk a bit more about Walser, he deserves it so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by corsair sanglot View Post
    although i understood the initial confusion between the posts, it was indeed amusing that faust's comment involved the idea of weakness ... a subject walser mastered better than just about anyone who was not henri michaux (yes, i will always be very biased).
    You know how much I love Michaux, but Walser will always mean a bit more for me, and because of one thing : the utter nonchalance of his characters, and of his writing in general.

    To me, and strangely enough, Michaux has a lot to do with the tradition of french moralists, especially in his latest works. He's a patient builder, always busy thinking things up, cherishing his own schemes - projets, plans, départs... - even when he's speaking of detachment or sloth. Words cost him dearly - "Aucun mot ne m'a été donné " : I don't remember where he wrote that, or something among those lines, but it sounds so true reading him.

    On the other hand, Walser's protagonists never give a damn about what they just did or said, no matter how deep, sublime, odd or turgid it sounded. They constantly move on to something else. And when they complain about being weak, they seem so proud of it at the same time that in the end, it has as much value as every other thing they say - they're just playing with the idea, even staging it. It is just about killing time or filling the blank page, and once it is done, it doesn't matter anymore.
    I would say that as he's writing, Walser is just displaying shiny things and sweeping them off the table right after. Having nothing, wishing he had something, or the very contrary, or none of both, constantly. Genuinely caring, and at the same time not at all. Can one go further in weakness ?
    I can see a hat, I can see a cat,
    I can see a man with a baseball bat.

  6. #2206

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    I completely agree with MM regarding Walser, I never read Michaux so I can't comment on him. Yes, you can start stoning me now. I feel deep shame.

    The unheimlichkeit I was talking about in the movie is because of the quay brother's obsession with extreme idiosyncracy, pushed as an artform to the point of virtual irrelevance. That's why they work well with Walser's writing I think. And in any case, that's why I like them

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    This is more of a "what I wish I was reading", b/c I have alot of reading to do before I can approach this text.

    Is anyone very familiar with speculative realism? (the philosophies of Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant, Graham Harman, and Quentin Meillassoux)

  8. #2208

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    Quote Originally Posted by trentk View Post

    Is anyone very familiar with speculative realism? (the philosophies of Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant, Graham Harman, and Quentin Meillassoux)
    everything that is around badiou should be burnt, it's to philosophy what ed hardy is to fashion

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    bsr - badiou should be burnt, or only the stuff around him like Meillassoux's work? if badiou is to philosophy what ed hardy is to fashion.... what exactly do you consider "real" philosophy?

  10. #2210

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    Quote Originally Posted by trentk View Post
    bsr - badiou should be burnt, or only the stuff around him like Meillassoux's work? if badiou is to philosophy what ed hardy is to fashion.... what exactly do you consider "real" philosophy?

    haha don't tempt me i'm for a whole 'autodafé' of French Theory / continental phil. books which are 99% intellectual imposture and wanking. well, maybe 98% only. but the metaphysics + hyperlitterature + complete lack of scientific culture mix = a cocktail too hard to swallow for BSR

    'real' philosophy is to be found in the analytic tradition

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    Quote Originally Posted by BSR View Post
    haha don't tempt me i'm for a whole 'autodafé' of French Theory / continental phil. books which are 99% intellectual imposture and wanking. well, maybe 98% only. but the metaphysics + hyperlitterature + complete lack of scientific culture mix = a cocktail too hard to swallow for BSR

    'real' philosophy is to be found in the analytic tradition
    where's the bulging eyes smiley when I need it. I take too much issue with, for starters, the principle of noncontradiction to take analytical philosophy seriously. Although, I'm only a freshman who happens to read alot of post-structuralist philosophy outside of class... so this is just a provisional opinion, and I'm in no way knowledgable enough to even say anything definitive about my own preferences.

  12. #2212

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    Quote Originally Posted by trentk View Post
    where's the bulging eyes smiley when I need it. I take too much issue with, for starters, the principle of noncontradiction to take analytical philosophy seriously. Although, I'm only a freshman who happens to read alot of post-structuralist philosophy outside of class... so this is just a provisional opinion, and I'm in no way knowledgable enough to even say anything definitive about my own preferences.
    what's your concern with noncontradiction principle?

  13. #2213

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    Quote Originally Posted by corsair sanglot View Post
    My girlfriend tells some funny stories about Julia Kristeva - JK was her analyst when she lived in Paris - apparently JK used to take personal calls in the middle of sessions, start and end sessions arbitrarily, and make interpretations that were as impenetrable as her writing.

    (I haven't read the paper you linked to yet, but will take a look )

    Anyway, I'm just starting on this:



    Only a few pages in, but a rollicking read so far.
    Last edited by docus; 09-22-2011 at 06:59 AM.

  14. #2214

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    Quote Originally Posted by BSR View Post
    haha don't tempt me i'm for a whole 'autodafé' of French Theory / continental phil. books which are 99% intellectual imposture and wanking. well, maybe 98% only. but the metaphysics + hyperlitterature + complete lack of scientific culture mix = a cocktail too hard to swallow for BSR

    'real' philosophy is to be found in the analytic tradition
    I never thought I'd read these words from a Frenchman!

  15. #2215

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    Quote Originally Posted by BSR View Post
    what's your concern with noncontradiction principle?
    The problem with the non-contradiction principle is that it stops people from omnipotently arguing whatever the hell they please, logic be damned!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BSR View Post
    what's your concern with noncontradiction principle?
    I don't see how we can reduce reality to binary oppositions without truncating part of the matter. Truth is always in excess of simplified either/or depictions. For example, how do we reconcile the principle of non-contradiction with light's wave-particle duality? Can we say that something is either matter or energy, instead of both matter and energy?

    I think it makes more sense to conceive of the relationship between "opposites" not as a binary opposition, but as a "chiasmic unity" (much like derrida's undecidable) where the oposites are simultaneously bound together and kept apart. That is, they're together in such a way that doesn't amount to a fusion. If that doesn't make sense, here's a geometric rendition: chiasmic unity is like the relationship between "two points" on "opposing sides" of a moebius strip.

    edit: have you actually looked into speculative realism, or did you just notice badiou's name and heap it into the "French Theory / continental philosophy" category? B/c its not continental philosophy, its something that claims to breach the continental/analytical divide, and a number of analytical philosopers (crispin sartwell being one example off the top of my head, if the name means anything to you) have expressed approval for the movement. Of course, I wouldn't cite a blog in a formal philosophical argument.... but, b/c our discussion is informal, here's one person's attempt to situate speculative realism in the analytical tradition: http://www.newappsblog.com/2011/02/s...ok-series.html
    Last edited by trentk; 09-22-2011 at 05:48 AM.

  17. #2217

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    LOL @ the Badiou - Ed Hardy comment. Must've had Badiou confused with that hack Baudrillard. *shrugs*

    You won't find a more classically inclined philosopher's philosopher today than Alain Badiou. His philosophic sensibility is as kindredly old-school as a Plato, Aristotle right up to Kant and Heidegger. And yet, at the same time, brings with it new vigour and more importantly, new questions/challenges to the proverbial table, or the eternal conversation that is the history of Philosophy.

    There's much to admire about his work. For one, he's an immensely hardcore and staunch metaphysician (and not by any stretch of the naive Pre-Kantian kind if you know what I mean) unlike any philosopher working today, in a climate still mugged and bound by various proclamations of "the end of metaphysics" (be it of the Wittgensteinian/Carnapian or Heideggerian/Derridean varieties). Not to mention a highly systematic ontologist with an imperious sense of architectonic meticulousness and rigour not seen since the days of, say, Hegel and Leibniz (though you could always make the case for Deleuze (chiefly his more philosophical/scholastic works like Difference and Repetition), Lardreau or David Lewis in that regard). Which if anything goes radically against the grain of the present suffocating hegemony of philosophers still pussying-about and intoxicated by (mostly) epistemology and language - deconstruction, hermeneutics, philosophy of language/mind, and what have you - on both sides of the so-called analytic and continental divide.

    Go read his two engaging tomes, Being and Event (L'Être et l'Événement), and Logics of Worlds (Logiques des mondes), or the earlier and smaller, Theory of the Subject (Théorie du sujet) and The Concept of the Model (Le concept de modèle), and then come back to me. Number and Numbers (Le nombre et les nombres) is brilliant as well if you don't mind the formal nature of the work.

    Badiou's only failing, while admirable especially in our time of incessant specialisation, might just be his polymathic ambition to cover a wide variety of fields that some times has this negative effect of being judged on specific works and commentaries, rather than on the broader mechanisms of his foundational work. Additionally, his observations on specific fields (like the stuff on cinema and Beckett) can often be found rather wanting, but admittedly more than hold up on their own, better than whatevers out there - I'd sooner read his take on Beckett than most existing scholarship.

    Quote Originally Posted by trentk View Post
    Is anyone very familiar with speculative realism? (the philosophies of Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant, Graham Harman, and Quentin Meillassoux)
    They're all fine philosophers in their own right and you'd do well to tackle the literature with open-ended blinkers. Grant's book on Schelling is something of a masterpiece. Harman's books on Heidegger and Latour are more than brilliant contributions to, and extend on, existing scholarship. Brassier's Nihil Unbound is quite the treasure especially the chapter on François Laruelle which is incredibly illuminating of a difficult philospher (Laruelle) still obscure to many. Would be interesting to see what Brassier does with Brandom and Sellars in forthcoming writings if his recent interviews are anything to go by.

    The Meillassoux is an exceptional read and think. Written in a very classically argumentative style reminiscent of Hume, Locke and the like. I'm sure you'd heard of how un-Continental the writing style is. Very clear, compact, lucid and yet highly complex and thorough in drawing out and arguing for its conclusions. The chapter on Hume is especially good, particularly the stuff on displacing necessity from stability, and whatever conceptual baggage that has hitherto been associated with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by trentk View Post
    I take too much issue with, for starters, the principle of noncontradiction to take analytical philosophy seriously.
    So would paraconsistent logicians. And they would have you believe differently.

  18. #2218

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    @trentk: i don't think we talk about the same thing then, actually i don't understand what you're talking about. The principle of noncontradiction, in my book, is only a logical rule which forbids you to assert the proposition p and its negation non-p at the same time.

    @todes: it looks like we have opened a pandora's box here. for many reasons (number 1, lack of time) i won't deal with all the difficulties i see in your post on badiou (and his followers), but let's just say that i'm not a complete ignorant on these matters and the joke on ed hardy was just a joke. actually french philosophers love crafted words exactly like Audigier loves shiny details, whence the comparison...

  19. #2219
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    Quote Originally Posted by todestrieb View Post
    So would paraconsistent logicians. And they would have you believe differently.
    Well then... I'll have to look into paraconsistent logic, and mention it to my professor who takes issue with binary oppositions.

  20. #2220
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    This last headache-inducing page makes me want to repeat Rorty's assertion that all philosophy worth reading is in literature.
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