josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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26 Feb '14 10:55:36 PM

Danto's catalogue of philosophy's forms of literary expression in 'Philosophy and/as/of Literature':

'dialogues, lecture notes, fragments, poems, examinations, essays, aphorisms, meditations, discourses, hymns, critiques, letters, summae, encyclopedias, testaments, commentaries, investigations, tractatuses, Vorlesungen, Aufbauen, prolegomena, parerga, pensees, sermons, supplements, confessions, sententiae, inquiries, diaries, outlines, sketches, commonplace books, and, to be self-referential, addresses, and innumerable forms which have no generic identity or which themselves constitute distinct genres: Holzwege, Grammatologies, Unscientific Postscripts, Genealogies, Natural Histories, Phenomenologies, and whatever the World as Will and Idea may be or the posthumous corpus of Husserl, or the later writings of Derrida, and forgetting the standard sorts of literary forms, e.g., novels, plays, and the like, which philosophers have turned to when gifted in those ways… '

Berel Lang, I think, approaches this list by way of the (totally sensible) coordinates (or radicals of presentation, probably) of author and audience. But I think its sloppy mishmash of generic titles, names of forms, names of genres, literal titles treated as if they were names of forms or genres, etc. really needs to be periodized somehow before it could be of much use. When, say, are which forms the new or normal or privileged ones? When and which are the instruments of critique, investigation, dogmatizing, etc? And then you can sensibly investigate, say, the selves and worlds that go with the forms.

26 Feb '14 05:32:48 AM

—Say, on the level of 'obvious to a human being': obviousness bearing ontological commitments. Oneself, others, things, places, the world.

25 Feb '14 08:39:09 PM

Obviousness, not as a perceptual or epistemological category, but as an existential.

24 Feb '14 11:30:54 PM

'Suppose that everyone had a box with something in it which we call a "beetle"…' (§293). —Supposing that everyone has (is) a box is as much a part of the trick as the something is.

24 Feb '14 10:21:28 PM

Goethe and Herrick while waiting for the sun to peak. Simple forms for saying simple things.

23 Feb '14 01:28:50 AM

'… there is no lying and very little misunderstanding.'

23 Feb '14 01:27:03 AM

'… plainness of speech without respect of persons…'

22 Feb '14 11:57:06 PM

Where do the distinctions drawn by philosophers exist? What sustains them? Less, it seems, than sustains our words, or the diagrams and notations that mathematicians use. It's not, as urged, that they are finer; they are practically insubstantial. —The philosopher's mania is that they not go unthought.

22 Feb '14 07:56:20 PM

The windows that light my room open onto a neighboring backyard and a view of clutter such as one meets in alleys: a fence, garages, ledges, ladders laid aside, bushes and the tops of trees, rooftops, poles, and lines which maybe power my building. Prior days' snow, though visibly melted, still sheaths the lines, and lends them something of the contingency of snow, as if they were not slung permanently there but happened to have fallen—then happened to have held, thanks to a balance in condition and circumstance like that of sunlight and exposure to winter air, a balance I almost feel I see because I view the wires from inside my heated room, where the sun that penetrates my windows warms with no competition from that air. I see further than my skin because the sun pervades the air.