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Author Topic: Legal Reasoning  (Read 171577 times)

k o a n

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #400 on: December 31, 2008, 01:21:35 PM »

Well, think about a way of reading a text. How does it differ from the normal way of reading something? Usually people read a text in order to learn what it means, right? Suppose you are driving and you see a sign that says 'STOP'.



You probably stop your car. But Jacques Derrida, father of deconstruction, says the word "STOP" is ambiguous. Does it mean stop driving, stop reading the sign, or stop breathing? After all, you are doing all these things when you read the sign.

Now imagine a stop sign, or a traffic cop who insists the stop sign means, "Stop the car," rather than "Stop reading traffic signs." That cop thinks his interpretation of the sign is absolutely correct and that there can be no other reading of the sign! If something were to stand erect, all by itself, depending on nothing else, asserting itself and seeming self-evident, it would be phallogocentric! And it is a phallogocentric attitude, like the one of the above-mentioned cop, that people who are fond of deconstruction like to deconstruct.

There must be, after all, something wrong with Centers! All these desires for a fixed Center are desires for a secure, stable presence that will form a strong, certain foundation for belief systems. But Centers marginalize and tyrannize people and things. Let's say you are a worshipper of this Christian icon. Christ is at the Center. Anything that lies outside the universe idealized by this icon is pagan, heathen, fit only to be converted or killed. In fact, Derrida, has said that our minds work by way of binary opposites. The problem is that we tend to privilege one member of the pair, and repress and oppress the other. For instance, we tend to privilege male over female, Christian over Pagan, phallus over clitoris, etc. And this kind of phallogocentric thinking governs not only our social life, but our philosophical, scientific, literary and legal thought as well.


Derrida is very interesting indeed - If his writing has no extractable concepts or method, we can still loo at WHAT it does: what EFFETCS it has. Derrida offers a way of thinking these effects. By his own account, his writing has a matrix. Its two strands are DERAILED COMMUNICATION and UNDECIDABILITY. Derrida finds both of these in the figure of the VIRUS. "Everything I have done is dominated by the thought of a virus, the virus being many things. Follow two threads. One, the virus introduces disorder into communication, even in the biological sphere -- a derail of coding and decoding. Two, a virus is not a microbe, it is neither living nor non-living, neither alive nor dead. Follow these threads and you have the matrix of all I have done since I started writing."

PCRev

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The Supplement
« Reply #401 on: January 02, 2009, 02:07:01 PM »

[...] In fact, Derrida, has said that our minds work by way of binary opposites. The problem is that we tend to privilege one member of the pair, and repress and oppress the other. For instance, we tend to privilege male over female, Christian over Pagan, phallus over clitoris, etc. And this kind of phallogocentric thinking governs not only our social life, but our philosophical, scientific, literary and legal thought as well.


Remember, the goal is to question Binary Logic:

Derrida introduced, for instance, the SUPPLEMENT. The French word supplément means both addition and replacement. The supplement both extends and replaces -- as a dietary supplement both adds to the diet and becomes part of the diet. The supplement obeys a strange logic.

To be an addition means to be added to something already complete, like Son to the King.

... yet it cannot be complete if it needs an addition. The King is complete and has an addition; needing an addition, the King is not yet whole.

The supplement extends by replacing. The King's son has the same blood and is the King's extension. But the supplement opposes by replacing. The King's son will usurp the king, take his place.

The declaration, "The King is dead, long live the King!" must escape the grip of standard logic. It follows the logic of the supplement. The king must be the same but different: he is figured twice, as the father-king and the supplement-king.

Thoth opposed his father-king, but he opposed what he himself repeated. He opposed himself. Thoth, the demi-god, is undecidable. And so is Theuth, his Greek counterpart.

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/9302/spplyj5.jpg
"Oh, you ca'n't help that," said the Cat: "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
(Alice in Wonderland 51)

modeld after

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Agent of Revolution
« Reply #402 on: January 08, 2009, 02:01:38 PM »

I can understand the "need" for grading on a curve on the part of law schools ... I mean, it makes sense for the law school as a financial institution. Not to mention that law schools are expected by employers to rate the meat [...]


by Mohamed Zayani




Central to Ritzer's argument is Max Weber's theory of bureaucracy and the larger process of rationalization that underlies it. While for Weber bureaucracy is the model of rationalization, for Ritzer the fast food restaurant is the paradigm of McDonaldization. Both instances describe an organizational model that strives to eliminate inefficiency, irrationality, uncertainty, and unpredictability. It should not overhastily be concluded, however, that the two processes are the same. McDonaldization is not just an extension of rationalization, it is also an extreme version of it or, as Ritzer himself puts it, "a quantum leap" in the process of rationalization. Seen from this vantage point, Ritzer's project is not only an elaborate analysis of the McDonaldization of contemporary society, but also a pointed critique of the excesses of rationalization, in particular, and the legacy of modernity, in general.


Along the lines of the "Legal Reasoning" thread thesis ...


The explicit rejection of the dominant consumer culture, in addition to the waste and war associated with it, and the celebration of eroticism and "outlawed" forms of enjoyment. But how is it possible to imagine that the working class -- exploited, brutalized, largely-uneducated, and kept in severe deprivation by the capitalist system -- can take on such a mission?

The theory of reification, which is built upon Marx's notion of "the fetishism of commodities" argues that the capitalist labor process has a profound impact on the way in which workers experience the world around them. These changes transform the individual worker into a cog in the machine, an insignificant bit-player, spending the working day either on the mechanized assembly line of the factory, or in the immense office system of a business or government bureaucracy. From the standpoint of the individual, these twin, highly-rationalized systems of production appear to have a life of their own, that is, they appear to exist as powerful agents capable of determining the fate of the living, breathing person. The vast factory system and the corporate and bureaucratic structures are inanimate things that appear to be alive and that transform human beings into things obedient to their laws. At the same time when the theory of reification was worked out within the Marxist theory, Franz Kafka, in his novels of the 1920s, "The Trial" and "The Castle," gave the most telling and poignant representation ever conceived of a world of fully reified social relations. Lukacz argued that the reification of the worker was necessarily incomplete because the human life process could never be fully incorporated into the abstract forms of the business and bureaucratic systems. There would be always a residue appearing in misery, hunger, and the sense of injustice capable of inspiring revolutionary aspirations under the right conditions.

As a seller of labor power the worker was the embodiment of the capitalist category of the commodity, the "self-consciousness of the commodity." But this self-consciousness was fraught with contradiction. The quantitative differences in exploitation which appear to the capitalist in the form of quantitative determinants of the objects of his calculation, must appear to the worker as the decisive, qualitative categories of his whole physical, mental and moral existence. Simply put, for the capitalist lowering the cost of labor is a matter of business, while for the worker, to be "worth" just so and so much an hour, is to be "hungry." An experential revolt against the confining forms of a mechanical civilization. What makes this possible is the immense contrast between the possibilities for a better life sustained by modern technology and the perpetuation of competition, poverty, and war by a class system that cannot realize that potential without itself going under. The tension between the two dimensions has been recorded in art for millennia, but now it is no longer a question of abstract possibilities and idle hopes for a distant future.

d i f f e r e n c e

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #403 on: January 10, 2009, 02:46:14 PM »

Here are some of the signs:

1. People who avoid answering the issues you raise with them;
2. A group that uses psychologically coercive techniques to recruit and indoctrinate members;
3. An organization that uses falsehood in their indoctrination and recruiting methods;
4. A group that maintains that "the end justifies the means";
5. An organization that forms a totalitarian society;
6. A group that has a charismatic, dogmatic leader who plays "Messiah" and demands total devotion: he or she can seem like the most wonderful person you have ever heard of;
7. A group that obtains funds through deception for the personal gain and/or power of the leader;
8. A group that performs no real service to society, although they claim to do so (remember, deceit is one of their tickets);
9. A group that destroys existing relationships with family and friends -- if your family is aware that something is happening to you, the group tells you that your family is evil, or doesn't want you to progress, or that your family is the only reason you have ever been sick or unhappy in your life. (This is another major tool destructive cults use: they tell you your family members or close friends, if they are critical of the organization, are "negative" or "suppressive", or whatever buzzword the group uses for its enemies, and that your family and friends are actually making you sick, and trying to hold you back);
10. An organization that teaches fear, hatred, and rejection of society, while claiming to promote the cause of world peace and universal love. (A good example of a group that teaches hate, fear and rejection is the Ku Klux Klan -- under the definition of most religions, political parties, the Mafia, any terrorist group, the KKK -- all of these could claim they are a religion, since they follow the same definition used by most of the pseudo-religious cults and mind control groups);
11. A group that practices intimidation of critics by threats (which they sometimes carry out) or lawsuits, allow no development of the individual. (If a person in the group questions or wants to be an individual, he or she is told that the way to be an individual is to become more and more involved with the organization);
12. An organization that isolates their members, either mentally or physically, polarizing the group and society into opposing camps, creating an "us/them" mentality, making the members identify exclusively with the group;
13. A group that demands full-time or lifetime commitment: if you are allowed to work in the outside world, it is to get money for the cult, or for further programming or training within the cult for yourself;
14. An organization that has secret practices and docrines and/or objectives that the average new recruit has absolutely no idea about;
15. A group that has simple black-and-white solutions for the world's problems: if everyone becomes a member of this particular cult, then there won't be any war, hunger, or oppression;
16. An organization that makes its members afraid to dare to speak up, even afraid to think about how the cult is oppressing them;
17. A group that suppresses critical thought, blocking out questions and doubts by various methods, such as: chanting; rules of silence; long hours of meditation, study, processing, or counselling; speaking in tongues; various forms of repetitive action; inadequate diet or sleep;
18. An organization whose methods rob their members of free will, destroying family relationships;
19. A group that creates an attitude of willing slavery in its members: people in the group become willing to work long, long hours for the benefit of the organization -- not for their own individual benefit;



The FBI has always recognized the value of consulting with behavioral experts in crisis situations. The FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, maintains a Behavioral Sciences Unit and the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, both staffed with experienced forensic psychologists. The Behavioral Sciences Unit's work in profiling serial murderers has earned it a worldwide reputation. During the Waco standoff the FBI utilized the Behavioral Sciences Unit for advice in dealing with Koresh and his followers. In addition to utilizing its in-house resources, the FBI also solicited and received input from various outside experts in many fields, including:

  • Psychology
  • Psychiatry
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Religion/Theology
  • Cults
  • Threat Assessment
  • Negotiation Techniques
  • Medicine


The FBI received this input both orally and in writing, and in each case ensured that the appropriate officials at FBI headquarters and on scene at Waco were made aware of the input. The FBI and the Attorney General also received input from various military and medical experts in connection with the planning for the April 19 tear gas plan. The FBI also received unsolicited advice and offers of assistance from many individuals; not surprisingly, this input was rarely useful. For example, on March 16, 1993 a well-known rock band contacted the FBI and offered to perform outside the Mt. Carmel Compound, and to play a song that U.S. helicopters broadcast at enemy troops to demoralize them during the Vietnam War. On the other hand, the FBI received an unsolicited letter from the Harvard Negotiation Project containing thoughtful and specific suggestions to assist the negotiators in formulating a framework for further negotiations with Koresh. A smaller number of offers came from individuals lacking a firm grip on reality, such as people claiming to be God or Jesus offering to "order" Koresh to leave the compound. One person was arrested on his way to the compound brandishing a samurai sword, which he said God had told him to deliver to Koresh.

Throughout the Waco standoff, the FBI meticulously kept track of all unsolicited offers of assistance, and followed up on those that seemed to promise any reasonable chance of producing helpful information. There were certain areas of activity in which the FBI did not seek outside help. For example, the FBI did not request assistance from any outside law enforcement agencies in performing any of its tactical operations; it did not request assistance with negotiations, since the FBI's best negotiators were assigned to Waco throughout the 51-day standoff; and it did not consult with outside experts regarding the decision to play loud music and Tibetan Monk chants over the loudspeakers to irritate those inside the compound. Ultimately, the most useful information came from those experts (both inside and outside the FBI) from whom the FBI solicited information. These experts supplied a wide range of information about Koresh's state of mind and behavior, and provided input on some of the most important issues the FBI faced. For example, many of the experts agreed that the possibility of mass suicide existed, but no consensus emerged about the likelihood of suicide. Significantly, all the experts agreed that Koresh would not leave the compound voluntarily. on other issues, however, the expert opinions were not consistent. For example, some of the experts believed that Koresh was psychotic, while others believed he was not. The FBI considered all the information it received and made the best judgment it could considering how such information could best be used to further the FBI's goals of achieving a peaceful end to the standoff with no loss of life.


Cults sprout up when traditional values and structures of a society are weakened. The 1960s spawned a counterculture that romanticized drug usage, revolution in general (the sexual revolution in particular), and retreat to communes. As baby boomers entered their teens, America's fertility rate plummeted, while the rate of divorces and adolescent suicides began to climb. During the 1980s, the counterculture mainstreamed; drug use continued unromanticized, now at high school level. The sexual revolution became legitimized through legislation and "safe sex" education. People lost interest in family: marrying less and later, cohabiting more without marriage, and having increased out-of-wedlock births. Western European societies with similar trends have been marked by cultic activity.

Cults want wealth and power for the leadership, to be supplied by members. Wealth may include:

- transfer of cash, real estate, and cars,
- profits, from exploitation of members' labor in cult-owned businesses, and
- funds raised deceptively from relatives and other non-members.

Power may include:

- manipulation of all relationships, work, or schooling to solely the needs of the cult, assignment of city and country of residence,
- regulation of pregnancy and sexual favors,
- behavioral/ideologic controls via group punishments, or threatened expulsions, and
- limitation of members' opportunities to sleep, to pursue individual interests, or simply to reflect.

Cults and Thought Reform

Cults are groups using thought reform to recruit and control members, by employing the following:

Miracle - ideology imputing miraculous power to leaders and/or activities.
Mystery - secrecy obscuring actual beliefs and practices.
Authority - claims on members' time, talents, bodies, or property to meet group needs.

Thought reform is a hyperefficient indoctrination achieved when secrecy impairs indoctrinees' awareness of what is happening to them and what they are becoming - thus, there is no full, informed consent. Brainwashing or mind control are popular terms for thought reform.
I was born by Caesarian section... but not so you'd notice. It's just that when I leave a house, I go out through the window.

too2

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #404 on: January 12, 2009, 03:32:32 PM »

Hahaha - so funny, gate! Anyway, your example showcases how a certain message carries 2  contradictory meanings - imagine prompts (be them words, pictures, whatever) that have several meanings, (even contradictory to one another, some completely neutral) and so on. The interpretative work of the analyst becomes very difficult, with the results of the analysis being quite questionable. Take for instance, the Rorschach test. Its inkblots are purportedly ambiguous, structureless entities which are to be given a clear structure by the interpreter.


Well, think about a way of reading a text. How does it differ from the normal way of reading something? Usually people read a text in order to learn what it means, right? Suppose you are driving and you see a sign that says 'STOP'.



You probably stop your car. But Jacques Derrida, father of deconstruction, says the word "STOP" is ambiguous. Does it mean stop driving, stop reading the sign, or stop breathing? After all, you are doing all these things when you read the sign.

Now imagine a stop sign, or a traffic cop who insists the stop sign means, "Stop the car," rather than "Stop reading traffic signs." That cop thinks his interpretation of the sign is absolutely correct and that there can be no other reading of the sign! If something were to stand erect, all by itself, depending on nothing else, asserting itself and seeming self-evident, it would be phallogocentric! And it is a phallogocentric attitude, like the one of the above-mentioned cop, that people who are fond of deconstruction like to deconstruct.

There must be, after all, something wrong with Centers! All these desires for a fixed Center are desires for a secure, stable presence that will form a strong, certain foundation for belief systems. But Centers marginalize and tyrannize people and things. Let's say you are a worshipper of this Christian icon. Christ is at the Center. Anything that lies outside the universe idealized by this icon is pagan, heathen, fit only to be converted or killed. In fact, Derrida, has said that our minds work by way of binary opposites. The problem is that we tend to privilege one member of the pair, and repress and oppress the other. For instance, we tend to privilege male over female, Christian over Pagan, phallus over clitoris, etc. And this kind of phallogocentric thinking governs not only our social life, but our philosophical, scientific, literary and legal thought as well.


That Derrida spits out so many ten-dollar words you'd swear that he's getting paid for them. Any professional lecturer knows better than to use the word "metropolis" when he can get the same money for "city." And then PHALLOGOCENTRISM!!!

You see, phallogocentrism is a hybrid of the word phallocentrism and the word logocentrism. Logocentrism is a term coined by him -- like a Divine Word or Logos dwelling at the very Center of the entire Universe! "Om." He feels certainty because feels this Divine Word will guarantee the truth of everything he speaks. Like the Word of Law in the law books that the traffic cop depends upon when he gives you a ticket for not stopping at the stop sign. Logocentrism also means that our own our consciousness can perceive the world so intimately that there is nothing in between our consciousness and the world. And also logocentrism implies that awareness can be fully present to itself, can know itself nakedly. Out of the full presence of my pure consciousness flow my thoughts; from my thoughts flows my speech; and from my speech flow my writings. On a more mundane level, is the belief that speaking is more natural and meaningful than writing. Because a speaker is always present to the listener. For many philosophers -- Eastern and Western -- speech is primary and writing is secondary. For if you merely read something I have written -- and I am not present -- you might not understand it. Secondly, people talked before they wrote. So a logocentric attitude sees speech as prior to writing and as the origin of writing.

Now, whenever a particular person, or group, or text or school of thought assumes that something is natural or self-evident, then that can be a phallogocentric attitude. For instance, when people think that they are naturally superior to coyotes, and have a right to kill them. And when white people think that blacks are naturally rhythmic and sexually potent, or when people think that women are naturally nurturing, or when someone says that everyone knows that all Muslims are terrorists. So this being cock-assured is one of the main characteristics of pallogocentrism. Even our best built certainties are but sand houses and subject to damage from any wind of doubt that blows.

Many suspected that Derrida's works killed philosophy outright, and in cold blood at that. Derrida's fingerprints were all over the crime scene. For this scholarly act Cambrigde University awarded the murderer an Honorary Degree in Philosophy, although many at Cambridge opposed his being offered the award and felt that instead he should be dubbed Commanding Officer of Obfuscation, Prime Minister of Mystification, Emir of Evasion and Fuhrer of Fraud!!! Deconstruction is a dangerous and a deadly weapon -- and a weapon with only one fault: You can't hit anything square with it. 'Cause it don't shoot straight. If you were to aim it at a deuce of spades nailed to an oak, you'd likely end up hitting a mule standing thirty yards off to the right. This, in fact, is the actual method by which it kills his audiences! They don't die right off, of course. But soon after Derrida started talking, they began to sicken and suffer so that they WISH they were dead. And HOW they suffer! They suffer, and suffer and suffer!!!

zizzi

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The Joker
« Reply #405 on: January 12, 2009, 03:47:57 PM »

[...] In fact, Derrida, has said that our minds work by way of binary opposites. The problem is that we tend to privilege one member of the pair, and repress and oppress the other. For instance, we tend to privilege male over female, Christian over Pagan, phallus over clitoris, etc. And this kind of phallogocentric thinking governs not only our social life, but our philosophical, scientific, literary and legal thought as well.


Remember, the goal is to question Binary Logic:

Derrida introduced, for instance, the SUPPLEMENT. The French word supplément means both addition and replacement. The supplement both extends and replaces -- as a dietary supplement both adds to the diet and becomes part of the diet. The supplement obeys a strange logic.

To be an addition means to be added to something already complete, like Son to the King.

... yet it cannot be complete if it needs an addition. The King is complete and has an addition; needing an addition, the King is not yet whole.

The supplement extends by replacing. The King's son has the same blood and is the King's extension. But the supplement opposes by replacing. The King's son will usurp the king, take his place.

The declaration, "The King is dead, long live the King!" must escape the grip of standard logic. It follows the logic of the supplement. The king must be the same but different: he is figured twice, as the father-king and the supplement-king.

Thoth opposed his father-king, but he opposed what he himself repeated. He opposed himself. Thoth, the demi-god, is undecidable. And so is Theuth, his Greek counterpart.

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/9302/spplyj5.jpg


Theuth is the father's other, the father, and himself. He cannot be assigned a fixed location in the play. Sly, slippery and masked, an intriguer and a card, he is neither king nor jack, but rather a sort of a joker, a floating signifier, a wild card, one who puts play into play. And this joker is the inventor of play, of games of draughts, dice, etc. Every act of his is marked by an unstable ambivalence. He is the god of calculation, arithmetic and rational science; and he also presides over the occult sciences, astrology and alchemy. He is the god of magic formulae, of secret accounts, of hidden texts. And so he is the god of medicine. The god of writing is the god of pharmakon... So can Theuth simply have meant writing as a "remedy"? Isn't the undecidable demi-god condemned to invent undecidables? Not just remedies, but pharmakons? Isn't Theuth's desire for writing a desire for orphanhood and patricidal subversion? Isn't this pharmakon a criminal thing, a poisoned gift?

three_lotteries

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Re: The Joker
« Reply #406 on: January 13, 2009, 02:58:18 PM »

Remember, the goal is to question Binary Logic:

Derrida introduced, for instance, the SUPPLEMENT. The French word supplément means both addition and replacement. The supplement both extends and replaces -- as a dietary supplement both adds to the diet and becomes part of the diet. The supplement obeys a strange logic.

To be an addition means to be added to something already complete, like Son to the King.

... yet it cannot be complete if it needs an addition. The King is complete and has an addition; needing an addition, the King is not yet whole.

The supplement extends by replacing. The King's son has the same blood and is the King's extension. But the supplement opposes by replacing. The King's son will usurp the king, take his place.

The declaration, "The King is dead, long live the King!" must escape the grip of standard logic. It follows the logic of the supplement. The king must be the same but different: he is figured twice, as the father-king and the supplement-king.

Thoth opposed his father-king, but he opposed what he himself repeated. He opposed himself. Thoth, the demi-god, is undecidable. And so is Theuth, his Greek counterpart.

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/9302/spplyj5.jpg


Theuth is the father's other, the father, and himself. He cannot be assigned a fixed location in the play. Sly, slippery and masked, an intriguer and a card, he is neither king nor jack, but rather a sort of a joker, a floating signifier, a wild card, one who puts play into play. And this joker is the inventor of play, of games of draughts, dice, etc. Every act of his is marked by an unstable ambivalence. He is the god of calculation, arithmetic and rational science; and he also presides over the occult sciences, astrology and alchemy. He is the god of magic formulae, of secret accounts, of hidden texts. And so he is the god of medicine. The god of writing is the god of pharmakon... So can Theuth simply have meant writing as a "remedy"? Isn't the undecidable demi-god condemned to invent undecidables? Not just remedies, but pharmakons? Isn't Theuth's desire for writing a desire for orphanhood and patricidal subversion? Isn't this pharmakon a criminal thing, a poisoned gift?


Well, if the virus is neither living nor not-living, then it's puzzingly undecidable. As we'll see, undecidability is a threat to the traditional foundations of philosophy. Undecidables are threatening. They poison the comforting sense that we inhabit a world governed by decidable categories. Binary opposotions classify and organize the objects, events and relations of the world. They make decision possible. And they govern thinking in everyday life, as well as philosophy, theory and the sciences. Undecidables disrupt this oppositional logic. They slip across both sides of an opposition but don't properly fit either. They are more than the opposition can allow. And because of that, they question the very principle of "opposition."

sous rature

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #407 on: January 15, 2009, 01:06:55 PM »

Well, think about a way of reading a text. How does it differ from the normal way of reading something? Usually people read a text in order to learn what it means, right? Suppose you are driving and you see a sign that says 'STOP'.



You probably stop your car. But Jacques Derrida, father of deconstruction, says the word "STOP" is ambiguous. Does it mean stop driving, stop reading the sign, or stop breathing? After all, you are doing all these things when you read the sign.

Now imagine a stop sign, or a traffic cop who insists the stop sign means, "Stop the car," rather than "Stop reading traffic signs." That cop thinks his interpretation of the sign is absolutely correct and that there can be no other reading of the sign! If something were to stand erect, all by itself, depending on nothing else, asserting itself and seeming self-evident, it would be phallogocentric! And it is a phallogocentric attitude, like the one of the above-mentioned cop, that people who are fond of deconstruction like to deconstruct.


Derrida says that there is nothing outside of the text - does this mean that deconstruction is just a bookish kind of thing that cannot be applied to action and life?

o mores

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #408 on: January 19, 2009, 01:18:49 PM »

Derrida says that there is nothing outside of the text - does this mean that deconstruction is just a bookish kind of thing that cannot be applied to action and life?


Dear sous rature: To read does not mean to spend nights in the library; to read events, to analyze the situation, to critisize the media, to listen to the rhetoric of the demagogues, that's close reading, and it is required more today than ever.

nano

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #409 on: January 22, 2009, 12:41:03 PM »

The explicit rejection of the dominant consumer culture, in addition to the waste and war associated with it, and the celebration of eroticism and "outlawed" forms of enjoyment. But how is it possible to imagine that the working class -- exploited, brutalized, largely-uneducated, and kept in severe deprivation by the capitalist system -- can take on such a mission?

The theory of reification, which is built upon Marx's notion of "the fetishism of commodities" argues that the capitalist labor process has a profound impact on the way in which workers experience the world around them. These changes transform the individual worker into a cog in the machine, an insignificant bit-player, spending the working day either on the mechanized assembly line of the factory, or in the immense office system of a business or government bureaucracy. From the standpoint of the individual, these twin, highly-rationalized systems of production appear to have a life of their own, that is, they appear to exist as powerful agents capable of determining the fate of the living, breathing person. The vast factory system and the corporate and bureaucratic structures are inanimate things that appear to be alive and that transform human beings into things obedient to their laws. At the same time when the theory of reification was worked out within the Marxist theory, Franz Kafka, in his novels of the 1920s, "The Trial" and "The Castle," gave the most telling and poignant representation ever conceived of a world of fully reified social relations. Lukacz argued that the reification of the worker was necessarily incomplete because the human life process could never be fully incorporated into the abstract forms of the business and bureaucratic systems. There would be always a residue appearing in misery, hunger, and the sense of injustice capable of inspiring revolutionary aspirations under the right conditions.

As a seller of labor power the worker was the embodiment of the capitalist category of the commodity, the "self-consciousness of the commodity." But this self-consciousness was fraught with contradiction. The quantitative differences in exploitation which appear to the capitalist in the form of quantitative determinants of the objects of his calculation, must appear to the worker as the decisive, qualitative categories of his whole physical, mental and moral existence. Simply put, for the capitalist lowering the cost of labor is a matter of business, while for the worker, to be "worth" just so and so much an hour, is to be "hungry." An experential revolt against the confining forms of a mechanical civilization. What makes this possible is the immense contrast between the possibilities for a better life sustained by modern technology and the perpetuation of competition, poverty, and war by a class system that cannot realize that potential without itself going under. The tension between the two dimensions has been recorded in art for millennia, but now it is no longer a question of abstract possibilities and idle hopes for a distant future.


Marcuse wrote that Heidegger's work seemed to indicate a turning point in the history of philosophy: the point where bourgeois philosophy transcends itself from within and opens the way to a new 'concrete' science. Marcuse applied the "concrete science" to understanding the passivity of the working class in the revolutionary situation at the end of the war. What is more, the idea of authenticity suggested a way of completing Marxism with a new theory of revolutionary consciousness. Traditional Marxism had failed because it relied on the motivating force of economic self-interest when in fact revolutions are not made for simple economic reasons. Marcuse now had a far more powerful instrument for analyzing the "radical act" in which individuals "exist" through transforming their world. Marcuse's fundamental objection concerned Heidegger's basic concept of the world. Heidegger had attempted to uncover ultimate structures of the world as such, leaving the particulars of specific worlds to the side as sociological details. When in the later parts of "Being and Time" Heidegger did refer to these communities of meaning, carriers of tradition. Marcuse argued that in so doing, Heidegger obscured the divisions within communities. Indeed, from a Marxist standpoint, class divisions are ultimately more significant than nationality since modern capitalism destroys tradition and replaces it with a society based on self-interest. Authenticity in this situation becomes a matter of seizing the historical moment along with one's class in the affirmation of human possibilities against the deadening routines of the existing society.

For Hegel and Marx the future is a collective project that emerges from social tensions that themselves reflect different projects borne by different social groups. The progressive projects realize potentials in the present that reflect developing human capacities. This notion of potential became the basis for Marcuse's later theory of "two dimensions" of society, the dimension of everyday facts and the dimension of transcending possibilities that lead on to higher stages of historical and human development. With this reinterpretation of Hegel, Marcuse prepared his new concept of revolution adequate to the crisis of twentieth-century German society. Astonishingly, this interpretation of Hegel came close to anticipating aspects of Marx's own early unpublished writings. In 1932 a previously unknown text emerged from the archives. These "Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts" revolutionized the image of Marx. Capitalism alienated workers from their essential nature as creatures capable of building a world through labor that "objectifies" their needs and powers. But this world does not belong to them. Instead it is appropriated by the capitalist and turned against its creators, perverting their whole existence into a debased struggle for survival. Marx attacks the destruction of the "human essence" in an economic system that reduces the worker to nothing but the abstract capacity for "labor-power" -- abstract because in the early factory system labor was stripped of all particular qualities of skill and creativity and was measured solely in quantitative units of time. In a number of passages Marx makes surprising claims that distinguish his concept of nature from that of the natural sciences and bring it closer to the phenomenological concept of experience. Marcuse did not have to stretch the point in treating Marx's affirmation of the unity of human being and nature as an intentional correlation of subject and object, a kind of being-in-the-world. What is more, like Husserl and Heidegger, Marx grants this experential unity a supreme ontological significance. But unlike these phenomenologists, Marx's version of being-in-the-world has a radical historical character. He argues that the objectification of human faculties through labor under socialism creates a humanized nature in which we can finally be at home.