Tuesday, October 27, 2009


"What I have to say is nothing new and does not pretend to be anything more than the expression of the opinion of an independent and honest man who, unburdened by class or national prejudices, desires nothing but the good of humanity and the most harmonious possible scheme of human existence." (Albert Einstein, "Thoughts on the World Economic Crisis", 1934, reprinted in Ideas and Opinions, 1954, p. 87-8)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Heidegger and Wittgenstein

A thought-provoking remark of Heidegger's at Enowning:

...this thinking is, compared to metaphysical thinking, much simpler than philosophy, but precisely because of its simplicity it is much more difficult to carry out. And it calls for new care with language, not the invention of new terms, as I once thought...

Reading it, I thought of the difference between the early Heidegger and the later Wittgenstein. Could we not argue that the Philosophical Investigations are "simpler than philosophy" and display a particular "care with language"?

Friday, October 23, 2009


"The guy lives in a bizarro universe where Edward Said is not sufficiently sympathetic to the Palestinian cause."

On Motive and Deference

(With apologies to Gottlob Frege.)

Difference gives rise to challenging questions which are not altogether easy to answer. Is it a position? A position among subjects, or among names or signs of subjects? In my Ergriffsschrift I will assume the latter. The passions which seem to favour this are the following...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guilt and Death (Death and Taxes)

I think existentialism is due for a revival, especially in a "financial" variant. Roughly speaking, existentialism taught us to face the fact that we're all going to die. We "must not be afraid" of it (as it says somewhere in Nausea.) We must, rather, be "resolute and anxious" about it, as Heidegger puts it. Existentialism also taught us to distinguish between our ontological "guilt" and our merely ontic "debts". (There are really interesting etymologies at work here.)

In my opinion, the whole Western-democratic model of statecraft, which distinguishes sharply between monetary and fiscal policy, is to blame for our alienation from existence, our inauthenticity, ultimately our enslavement. Everything that is wrong with our culture traces back to the sense that we owe something and that we must not, whatever happens, die. If everyone resolved only to feel indebted in the ordinary sense, and accepted the fact that they will one day die, a great deal of needless insurance, mortgaging, and pension planning would be avoided. This would, of course, undermine the basic fabric of the society that is today being run by a financial oligarchy.

This is obviously a basically Poundian position.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Last 4 Things

I keep forgetting to plug Kate Greenstreet's new book, The Last 4 Things. Her writing is exactly what gives me hope for ideas like the one contained in my last post. As I've said before, she is doing the very thing that Wittgenstein, with some measure of false humility to be sure, said he wasn't any good at. Dichtung.

Here and Now

Intuition and institution are the media of immediacy. They denote the transcendental form of knowledge and immanent content of power. Intuitions are to assertion what institutions are to injunction; intuition is to institution what space is to time.

So, intuitions are descriptive. "You are here," they ultimately say. Institutions, by contrast, are prescriptive: "Be on time!"

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A New Source of Homologies

Bernard Bolzano: "According to my conception, logic should be a theory of science, i.e., it should guide us in how we can divide up the entire domain of truth in particular parts in an appropriate way and cultivate what belongs to each of them and present it in written form." (Bernard Bolzano, Theory of Science, §15, p. 41)

I would add that this gives us the sense and form of all philosophical work.

Here's a first stab at a pangrammatical homologue: I feel that pathos is a political practice, i.e., it drives us to bring together the various areas of justice as a universal whole in a proper place and restore what has been taken from it and present it in written form.

And here, I would add, we are given the motive and content of all poetry.