Wednesday, February 04, 2009


No amount of paid advertising, economic development or public relations can make up for this kind of unholy, insane, unbelievable horses--t!

"As Conspiracy Theories Abound in Oklahoma, John Birch Society, Others, Rally" -- from the Oklahoma Gazette.

God. Help. Oklahoma. Deliver. Us. From. Sally. Kern.


So Kantian cosmopolitanism is premature?
So we elected Obama and gun sales went through the ceiling. We elected a black man and the Birchers are racking up membership.
We tell Washington what we want and the Congress, says, so what. So what did we expect?

Does anyone see any irony that this obscenity occurred less than 8blocks from the OKC Bombing Memorial. Not all, there was probably a couple of proto-McVeighs in the audience.

Speaking of radical responses, my God did anyone watch CNBC today and their insane reactions to Obama's
limiting the TARP recipients excutive pay limits.

It will get worse, yes it will, before it gets better.
Kantian cosmopolitanism is premature.

And it wil get worse as it gets better.
Deliver whom? I see Kern still had a 16 percent margin of victory in her last election, admittedly down from 2 to 1 in the previous. Oklahoma has the representative it deserves, no? Whether the rest of us deserve her is, of course, an open question.

And Kant was a big silly. On moral issues, anyway.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Perhaps TStockmann is unaware that schools of law and schools of international affairs and schools of theology are currently mining Kant for his notion of perpetual peace and cosmopolitanism in order to clarify frameworks for civil societies that, by the pressures of globalization, are already and becoming more so networks of relationships that ignore nation/state boundaries.

As such the question of the political ground, or guarantor, of citizenship is particular thorny in international law when individuals and families live and work in one or a series of countries not their heritage.

In many western nations, including the US, refugees from murderous civil wars in Africa, work seekers from muslim countries, shifting workforce dynamics within the European Union (French technicians working in Germany, German engineers working in France), and the rising ability of young Turks, the issues of self representation are preeminently moral.

Kant has a lot to say about that because he expected this situation - migration within a relatively peaceful West - to have been recognized a century ago.

That TStockmann doesn't know this does not make him unusual or less sharp. It's just not his area.

But to comment on a major source of western intellectual reflection - universally known as the father of modern philosophy - as he does, makes him the stock boy of silly.
The small partof Oklahoma who voted for Kern -- south Oklahoma City and the suburb of Moore, I think, absolutely deserve her.
I have known and read just a few conservatives with whom I can have pleasant and long conversations. It's probably true that as a society this happens a lot less often than decades ago.

But I find that most of my frustration in my adult political life is related to the anti-intellectual roots of American life and Reagan's legitimizing disparaging political leadership and political life.

Sally Kern is the precipitate. How do we make peace with such a thing? To elect George Bush twice? To laud Sarah Palin?

Are we at an end of it? Has materialist collapse shoved reactionary ideology back into some bottle? Or are we building too much hope in the last three weeks' break in what has been a twenty-eight year siege?

Any conservatives you admire, ER?
Wow, like a zombie she just keeps coming back, doesn't she?

Of course, that's what I've been told to say about her. It's all part of the Agenda Memo I receive every morning in my email.
Re, "Any conservatives you admire, ER?"

Boy. I would have to think. I doubt any of the current crop. Probably no Repubs, anyway, since Mr. Speaker's name was "Tip."
Dear, silly Feodor. i was originally a philosophy major, so I did the Critiques Pure and Practical in those courses and Judgment in English. That theology as a discipline still believes Kant has something to say is a completely supererogatory self-indictment. As far as attempts to use him to develop international law - well, it isn't any sillier than neo-Scholasticism. But no less. It's all magical thinking. But I guess that's what you do or aspire to do for a living.
"...i was originally a philosophy major, so so I did the Critiques Pure and Practical in those courses and Judgment in English... It's all magical thinking."

How quintessentially and contemporarily American: voodoo intellectualism.

Rush and Sarah are king and queen in a realm of Stockmanns.
This is exactly how we get Sally Kerns.

By killing our curiosity.
Curiosity, forsooth. Look, run your Kant through The Genealogy of Morals. Then the Blue and Brown Books. If there's anything left, come back and tell me about it. Just because your dead white guy isn't worth anything doesn't mean no dead white guys are.
In truth, I would rather have Sally than Sarah.
Ah, Mr. Stockmann, I see your not locked out of class, you're just stuck in a 1980s classroom.
As someone who studied philosophy at the doctoral level (no diss, had a family to raise), let me say, in re the TStockman/Feodor fracas over beloved St. Immanuel of Konigsberg:
a) One can admire his intellectual thoroughness and acumen, as well as see certain strands of Kantian and (bastardized) neo-Kantianism in everything from legal theory to the philosophy of science and still believe that the guy needed an editor. Big time.

b) As TStockman says - and again, I repeat that I have read those same works, as well as the shorter, Reader's Digest versions (The Prolegomenna to Any Future Metaphysics; On the Metaphysics of Morals; On the Sublime And The Beautiful), as well as some others - Kant is a tad, um, how can I put this . . . outdated. Post-metaphysical philosophy can admire his strenuous mind, while still coming to the conclusion that he was, as Nietzsche said in Beyond Good and Evil, "Tartuffe", that is to say, a clownish actor.

c) I would also have to agree with TStockman's assessment of Kant's influence on contemporary theology. Anyone who continues to take him seriously as a contemporaneous influence isn't paying attention. The guy died almost two hundred years ago. Smart as a whip? Oh, yeah. Revolutionary? Certainly. Unbearably unreadable? Without a doubt. No longer part of the zeitgeist (as is the word zeitgeist)? Most certainly. I'll take my Richard Rorty, over hard, with a dash of Donald Davidson and a spritzer of Jacques Derrida (just to liven things up a bit) over the obsessive/compulsive from the old royal city of Prussia.
Don't trust anyone who says they "did" - put name of genius here - back in the day. That almost always is one's clue to a dilettante.

For the sake of curiosity (much less a reasonable suggestion that Kant seems to be a figure well worth dealing as he appears in reams of print while Messrs. Stockmann and Kruse-Safford apparently do not), let me list a bare few items testifying to Kant's currency on matters at hand globally:

- Chris Brown, "Reimagining International Society and Global Community" and
Michael Doyle, "The Liberal Peace, Democratic Accountability, and the Challenge of Globalization" both in Globalization Theory, eds. David Held and Anthony McGrew (2007).

- Seyla Benhabib, The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents, and Citizens (2004).

And, Another Cosmopolitanism (2005) with responses by Jeremy Waldron, Bonnie Honig, and Will Kymlicka. (These monographs are entirely based on and extending from Kant.)

- James R. Otteson, Actual Ethics (2006).

- Susan Neiman, The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant (1994). TStockmann and GKS could start here as a remedial start.

Also, her Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative HIstory of Philosophy (2002), of which GKSs preferred Rorty says, "We badly need alternative histories of philosophy. The Story told (by me, among others) cries out for supplementation..." Oh, oh, GKS, you missed the supplement.

And her, Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists (2008).

Finally, and easily digested but so pertinent on so many things discussed here at ERs:

- Perpetual Peace: Essays on Kant's Cosmopolitan Ideal, eds. James Bohman and Matthias Lutz-Bachmann (1997).
The tendency of most students to ward off their anxiety over the size of classic areas of humanities - from theology to philosophy to psychology, etc. - is to follow a professor and choose to become believers in one particular "school" of approach or of the style of one epoch or regional influence.

And then they get all snarky toward everything else as a way to defend against the realization of their own failure of nerve, show of laziness, or even a normal, human, humble admission of time/life limits.

False and cheap dichotomies: Kant v Hegel, Marx v Weber, Hussrel/Heidegger v Wittgenstein, Frankfurt School v Rorty, Deconstruction v Nussbaum.

And these judgments are presented by whom and with what kind of language?

"Kant was a big silly" "... it isn't any sillier than neo-Scholasticism."

"The guy died almost two hundred years ago." " I'll take my Richard Rorty, over hard, with a dash of Donald Davidson and a spritzer of Jacques Derrida (just to liven things up a bit) over the obsessive/ compulsive from the old royal city of Prussia."

Whew! What kind of supple minds are these at work?
What kind of supple mind is that? Why, it's the supple mind that says that someone who was writing about all sorts of matters - not the least of them being metaphysics - that have since been thoroughly analyzed and discarded as no longer pertinent (which is not the same as silly) to our current age might not be as relevant as others.

Part of discernment is understanding that some voices simply no longer have an impact. The number of citations Kant receives over, say, me, means only that what he said was important, a point I do not dispute. I noted his work was vital, even revolutionary. Yet, I would also add there is something anachronistic about seeking the advice on matters pertaining to morals from a man who could dismiss the Jews as thoroughly and disgustingly as Kant did in Religion Within The Limits Of Reason Alone; whose concept of some ghostly presence about which we can only say a name, without assigning any qualities whatsoever - Ding ansich, the "thing in itself - might have made taken a calculated risk that paid off at the time, but upon closer scrutiny falls apart; and whose insistence that the existence of God is something we can only know through our own participation in the moral law, the adherence to which is a necessary part of human existence, is belied by simple experience; all these rather elementary criticisms of Kant's philosophy (and there are many others) do not take one jot or tittle away from his initial impact, or his ongoing importance as a figure of historical importance in philosophy, but render me, at least, wary of engaging in a discussion.

I do not dismiss Kant. I merely insist that we keep philosophers in their places and times. I would say the same for St. Thomas; St. Augustine; Voltaire; Locke; even Nietzsche, to an extent. The only exception, for me at least, is Freud, with whom I think we in the west have yet to come to terms fully (Rorty attempted to do so, and while he abandoned an attempt at a monograph, he did generate some interesting studies that are included in some of his collected papers).

This is, of course, far off the subject of crazy politicians (and OK has no monopoly on them, so don't feel bad), but I thought I would express my opinion - and it is only my opinion. On the whole citation thing, I would only add, and this may sound dismissive - So what? Since I do not consider myself a philosopher, or a theologian, but read these men and women in order to come to terms with the world I find myself in (certainly not to understand it), and do so for my own delectation, I fail to grasp why the simple fact that Kant's name appears in more endnotes than mine means anything, or should be considered a relevant point. Unlike some, I have no pretensions to be anything or anyone other than who I am. Having read a book is neither here nor there; even having understood it is neither here nor there.

As Marx - another dead white guy whose reputation has been overblown by some - said in his Theses on Feuerbach - the point is no longer to understand the world, but to change it. And while the results of his particular kind of change were almost wholly malevolent, the sentiment is important.
GKS: "that someone who was writing about all sorts of matters... that have since been thoroughly analyzed and discarded as no longer pertinent."

GKS, the ABD philosopher, undone by Wikipedia:
As to your bibliography of contemporary Kantian theorists, I would only say this. Have these folks not considered the serious flaws in so much of Kant's thought? Have these folks not considered the possibility that, for all the grandness of what one of my seminary professors called Kant's architectonic ability, the castles he built were only castles in the air. Richard Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, for all intents and purposes, asks the most devastating question of all - is any of this an answer to a question that we have asked, or needs to be asked? After looking carefully at what Kant has to say, Rorty says, in effect, "Not really." Not to dismiss him out of hand; to take him seriously, certainly, but no longer dealing in the currency of our contemporary life, asking and answering the questions that we need to ask, and for which we seek answers. For Kant, philosophy was seen as the final arbiter of Truth (Pure Reason), Goodness (Practical Reason), and Beauty (Judgment). Since Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and Heidegger, we really can no longer hold that position. Mining for nuggets of gold in Kant's thought - ripping it out of its context - is a bit like the old archaeological game of digging up the buried treasure of dead civilizations and sticking it in a museum thousands of miles away. It becomes meaningless really, something to look at in awe, but without the full context of time and place, it becomes something unreal, thought unrelated to the individual who thought it. Philosophy does not exist without philosophers, who are individuals who write out of their own times and places. Ripping their thought out of those times and places, no matter how noble the motive, no matter how important the words, reifies the words, make of "thought" something it can never be, something unattached to individual and corporate human life rooted in time and space.

This is always a caveat I carry with me when I read anyone who is not a Westerner who has lived since the 1960's. Not to say I dismiss them; only to say I keep in mind that their life-world (that old Nazi Heidegger rearing his ugly head) was very different from mine, and the words I am reading may be answers to questions I would find meaningless, even if the answers sound really good and relevant.
Apparently, Kant has some answers we are only just beginning to ask.

Read Perpetual Peace first, GKS, and then come back with your own thoughts. I think you are capable to that.

And check out what Seyla Benhabib and others are saying about what is already happening in my city and state and coming to a neighborhood near you.
GKS, you last is about as much beer bar bullshit that I've read from you. Its the kind of cheap pomo nihilism one doesn't get from reading in Berlin libraries, but overheard in any bar near any US campus.
Y'all are crackin' me up. It's like y'all are arguin' football, about offensive coachin' strategies or something. :-)
Feodor - absolutely pomo, guilty as charged. Happily. Arrived at the conclusion after much reading and thinking and seeing a little lightbulb going on over my head, and thinking, "Why not be a dilletante? It's better than thinking!"

Or, not. At least the last part.

I'm not presenting an argument, BTW. I'm just staking out my place. You have yours, most surely after much careful thought and study. I have mine after having done and continuing to do the same. For all that benefited the west greatly, the Enlightenment project was spent a long time ago. In reality, I think what most people think of as "post-modern" (really a label that eradicates thought rather than defining) is also pretty much spent as well. Parts of it - its historicism, its refusal to bow to cant (or Kant), and the way it takes the world for granted as something in need of no explanation - I like a whole lot, and think need more fleshing out. Other parts of it - the fetishizing of certain thinkers (I've got Martin Heidegger in particular in mind, but there are others) whose private lives and personal conduct may be outside the bounds of any moral conduct - I have some problems with.

My position on philosophy is simple, really. Treating it as if the ideas existed outside human minds, rooted in time and place, is to do violence to it. This is not to degrade it, but to treat it as a real thing, not some free-floating, Platonic form to which some few have access.

At CUA I took a seminar on Aristotle's Politics. It was one of the more frustrating academic experiences I have had, a line by line textual exegesis without any reference to anything at all. At one point, a fellow-student asked a question that should have been answered on the first day. "Who was Aristotle's audience? For whom was he writing?" The professor - the Rev. Dr. John Sokolowski - responded, "For the ages." At that point I stopped taking him (Msgr. Sokolowski, not Aristotle) seriously. No one writes for the ages, and most assuredly Aristotle didn't because there was no such concept at the time he was doing his thing.

Dilettantism is an accusation that sounds bad only if you want it to.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Sokolowski, right? One among the eminent guides to phenomenology?
Happy that Geoffrey tackled this one. Disagree about Freud, of course; he thought of himself as a scientist and I think his stuff should be subject to specific empirical testing rather than "absorption." But I'm grateful that Geoffrey chose Derrida rather than Lacan to provide his PoMo seasoning.

But the famously unworldly Kant on geopolitics? I'd sooner read that Asperger-inflicted hollow-chested shrimp's manual on picking up frauleins.
Hmm, just thinking about Aristotle. Isn't it the common view that his "writings" - unlike Plato's - were actually akin to lecture notes rather than intentionally written text? That would make Geoffrey's reaction even more appropriate.
F: "So Kantian cosmopolitanism is premature?"

I do hope Obama find his place somewhere North of Kant and South of Machiavelli. He may be the first President since Wilson who has read both.
TStock: "I'd sooner read that Asperger-inflicted hollow-chested shrimp's manual on picking up frauleins."

Who can be surprised at this confession?

And Mr. Stockmann has Mr. Post-It Aristotle down pat. Nothing but little squares of papyrus. How does he do it?

Why would one feel comfortable sharing this idiocy even in virtual public?
Why would one feel comfortable sharing this idiocy even in virtual public? - Feodor

Why, lotsa people. It's a standard interpretation. To wit:

Of the writings attributed to Aristotle (384-322 BC), the polished essays and dialogues which he intended for publication have been almost completely lost, with the exception of a few fragments. The great body of Aristotle's thought that has come down to us is in the form of "treatise" on various subjects, such as logic, physics, ethics, psychology, biology, and politics. It seems that these treatise began as notes on (or summaries of) Aristotle's lectures at the Lyceum in Athens. He continued to edit and revise them throughout his life, as his views evolved, but never brought them to a state of completion for publication. Subsequently they were edited and organized into "books" by his students, and then the whole corpus was transmitted through a series of transcribers, translators, and commentators.

Of course there's also that esoteric/exoteric thing, but there you have it.

And c'mon - Kant giving advice on how to get laid by Prussian babes? You telling me that wouldn't be worth reading?
I have to admit to being astonished and still unable to understand why Kant is so threatening to the two of you.
I didn't detect any sense of "threat" as much as each seems to think Kant's service is done.

I return now to the Peanut Gallery.
When two guys who are not in the business, sit on the sidelines and say repeatedly that the founder of contemporary Western thought is done, and repeat it once and twice more despite being provided a list of practitioners in the business (from law schools, schools of philosophy, and religion - an actuality that itself was denied) who write current monographs complete with response, articles in collections, and books resourcing that founder for cutting edge issues like globalization...

This kind of behavior, in another kind of business, is called denial. And denial is put into play when one wants to avoid something that threatens their sense of self... let's say, for example, feeling like a dilettante.
And let's not forget the slip (?) of transposing the name of one's own professor from one's Ph.D. program!

Unresponded to, by the way.
Points taken. :-)
Feodor is just hurt that he had his butt kicked on Aristotle and that he can't muster an argument for Kant other than "people who ought to know like him."
Poor Feodor. As Walter kaufmann once had the devil say, "If I lose an argument on theology, I lose my job."
If TStockmann thinks he can turn the Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (ten books dictated to his son, Nicomachus) into a Powerpoint presentation (which would be, what, notes on notes?), he's welcome to try.

If he thinks he can sell such a presentation - even to Cliff, which apparently fills his library - as responsible and erudite, he's welcome to try.

I'd pay money to see that ass kicking, preceded and followed by all that laughter.

But, again, on Kant I would direct him - seemingly resource appropriate to his way of thinking - to the Wikipedia note on Seyla Benhabib, tenured professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale, and, if his eyes can't find it, do a page find for Kant.

It's just a couple of lines - that does seem to be Mr. Stockboy's limit - but it dismantles every shallow post of his here.

He should remember that in the world of ideas, "one swallow does not make a spring, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy."
Feodor, you gerbil, you make me tired.

Aristotle: these are still lecture notes according to any number of sources - by tradition but with no certain provenance, dedicated to, edited by,or, as you've chosen to have it, transcribed by Aristotle's son, which only reiforces the point I made in support of geoffrey: there was a definite audience it was a contemporary audience; it was oral rather than written.


My comment Feodor is just hurt that ... he can't muster an argument for Kant other than "people who ought to know like him."

is demonstrated rather than refuted by your subsequent comment:

But, again, on Kant I would direct him - seemingly resource appropriate to his way of thinking - to the Wikipedia note on Seyla Benhabib, tenured professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale, and, if his eyes can't find it, do a page find for Kant.

If you can actually summon up a coherent argument rather than a citation, do so the next time it's appropriate to a thread - this one is too dead.
I always begin at the level of my audience.
[ER, hope this isn't too long.]

For others who may be following along, from Seyla Benhabib, Another Cosmopolitanism:

"The conceptual innovation of Kant's doctrine of cosmopolitanism is that Kant recognized three interrelated but distinct levels of 'right,' in the juridical senses of the term. First is domestic law, the sphere of posited relations of right, which Kant claims should be in accordance with a republican constitution; second is the sphere of rightful relations among nations (Voelkerrecht), resulting from treaty obligations among states; third is cosmopolitan right, which concerns relations among civil persons to each other as well as to organized political entities in a global civil society." page 21

"Although the subjects of international law were historically states and organized political entities, cosmopolitan norms go beyond liberal international sovereignty by envisaging a conceptual and juridical space for a domain of rights-relations that would be binding on nonstate actors as well as on state actors when they come into contact with individuals who are not members of their own polities. Kant envisaged a world in which all members of the human race eventually would become participants in a civil order and enter into a condition of lawful association with one another. Yet this civil condition of lawful coexistence was not equivalent to membership in a republican polity. IN an extremely important move, Kant argued that cosmopolitan citizens still needed their individual republics to e citizens at all. This is why he so carefully distinguished a "world government" from a "world federation." A "world government" would only result in a "universal monarchy," he argued, and would be a "soulless despotism," whereas a federative union (eine foederative Vereinigung) would still permit the excercize of citizenship within bounded communities.

Concepts such as 'the right to universal hospitality,' 'crimes against humanity,' 'the right to have rights' (in Arendt's words) are the legacy of Kantian cosmopolitanism. " page 24

Benhabib goes on to develop Kant's notion of the rights of the "alien" and to apply her elaboration of Kant's cosmopolitan hospitality to such current happenings as the disaggregation of citizenship within the European Union, the legal affair of three muslim girls wearing scarves at a French school, and the shifting definitions of citizenship by some German provincial assemblies that is redefining a nation.
What the hell!..I'm drunk,but still it dont make sense..
Nice site though,,wanna link up?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?