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Discovering dialectic and the place of philosophy

by Ted Welch Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 09:05:52 AM EST

renoir-text-moulin-galette

One of the reasons I write diaries is that I learn things by doing so, sometimes the process takes me in quite unexpected directions, thus what I thought would be a few captions about photos of a trip to Rapallo and Portofino turned into a discussion of the Ezra Pound, his meeting with James Angleton and the CIA's role in promoting Abstract Expressionism:

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2009/5/19/115424/067

Often I learn through the comments from others and from researching my own responses to some of them. This has been the case with my diary about the recent cafe-philo in Paris.

 The research involved in responding to comments by de Gondi and ATinNM grew, so I've used it to write a new diary rather than just adding a couple of comments.


Number 6 had commented:


"We've forgotten about dialectic in this day and age.
'Debate' today means 'getting the other guy to shut up' "

and he had a link to the wikipedia article on dialectic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectic

De Gondi responded very harshly regarding dialectics:

"I am partial to mere rhetoric and find dialectics an intellectual sham, if not imposture."

I think this is too extreme, so, ironically, I find myself defending dialectic, while I had ended my diary by encouraging dialogue (de Gondi's preferred alternative to dialectic):


But it is up to us, if we're really philosophically inclined, to continue the dialogue after the event, as a few of us did in a nearby restaurant, and as I am doing in contributing this and as anybody reading this is invited to do by commenting.  

So I replied:

Well, it's just a tool, a mode of interacting, and can be used in various ways without necessarily being "intellectual sham". At its best it does involve serious engagement with the argument of the other, the attempt to clarify the issues (without resorting to definitions) and actually learning from the experience.

De Gondi:


I see that as a good description of a dialogue. In reference to the Wiki article linked to above on dialectics there is a presumption of truth as the objective or of bettering the other through the dialogue.

I referred to the positive aspects of dialectic referred to in the wikipedia article e.g.:


The purpose of the dialectic method of reasoning is resolution of disagreement through rational discussion, and, ultimately, the search for truth ...

De Gondi passed over this quickly and then returned to the attack, saying that he was  against dialectics because of the various connotations (or "qualifications") now attached to it:


 I am attacking the term and the "hénourme!" (a Sartrian rhetorical tic) number of qualifications it has acquired, especially in the past two centuries. It appears that every wanker who fancies himself a philosopher has to slap out a new brand of dialectics.

I think his use of the term "wanker", like the previous use of "intellectual sham", expresses a strong prejudice, rather than a reasoned criticism and this causes him to distort the facts somewhat (see below on recent work on dialectics).

Words and cultural context

This point about "qualifications" acquired over time is like attacking the term "intellectual" because of the connotations it has acquired, particularly in Anglo-Saxon culture, where it is often used as an insult and something to be avoided as a politician. The term has a more neutral general sense and is not used as a negative label in France, for example, and French politicians can be admired for their intellectual accomplishments and interests.

The UK minister of education, Michael Gove, was a Murdoch journalist (Times):

o-MICHAEL-GOVE-TERMINATOR-570

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/18/michael-gove-terminator-funny-picture_n_1893170.html


... there is something properly unsettling about the Education Secretary's spurious attack on Leveson for creating "a chilling atmosphere" which menaces freedom of expression.

Mr Gove, the former Times journalist whose talent for making fancy friends renders him the Cabinet's Sadie Frost, remains close mates with his erstwhile proprietor.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/matthew-norman/matthew-norman-let-us-never-forget-t he-stench-of-this-rank-corruption-7462447.html

His contribution to political thought includes this comment on the widely respected marxist historian E. J. Hobsbawm:


"only when Hobsbawm weeps hot tears for a life spent serving an ideology of wickedness will he ever be worth listening to."

wikipedia


Then there was this:

In June 2011 his "ignorance of science" was criticised after he called for students to have "a rooting in the basic scientific principles" and by way of example assigned Lord Kelvin's laws of thermodynamics to Sir Isaac Newton.

wikipedia

In emblematic contrast,  the French minister of education, Vincent Peillon is a philosopher:

peillon

Peillon at a forum for innovative teachers.

http://www.larep.fr/loiret/actualite/2012/06/02/le-ministre-vincent-peillon-a-visite-hier-le-5e-foru m-des-enseignants-innovants-a-orleans-1182947.html


He also obtained a doctorate in 1992 in philosophy from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne with a thesis on Merleau-Ponty . ... Specialist pre-Marxist socialism and authors such as Jean Jaurès ,Edgar Quinet, and Pierre Leroux, he has published several books on the history of socialist and republican thought.

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Peillon

De Villepin is another example, biographer of Napoleon, poet and politician:

villepin


Poetry has always mixed with politics in this unusual life.
His political writings are peppered with poetic references and, while a cabinet minister, he published a dense volume of verse, The Shark and the Seagull.
It was taken as a hymn of praise to the French social model. The seagull symbolises the subtle, praiseworthy values of France. And the shark stands for - what else? - the hungry, ruthless United States.
....
Fittingly, it was on the world stage that Mr de Villepin first truly seduced his compatriots.

As French foreign minister, he led the opposition to the war on Iraq, making the most stirring speech of his life at the UN in February 2003.

He eloquently stood up for France against the might of the US superpower and its Anglo-Saxon ally Britain. It not only won him the rare distinction of applause at the UN but widespread admiration, even adoration, back at home.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16134070

Cf. a similar cultural divide with regard to dialectics (from the wikipedia article):

Many philosophers have offered critiques of dialectic, and it can even be said that hostility or receptivity to dialectics is one of the things that divides twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy from the so-called "continental" tradition, a divide that only a few contemporary philosophers (among them, G.H. von Wright, Paul Ricoeur, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Richard Rorty, Charles Taylor) have ventured to bridge.

... A prime example of the European tradition is Jean-Paul Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason, which is very different from the works of Popper, whose philosophy was for a time highly influential in the UK where he resided (see below).

Plato's use of dialectic

It also seems that de Gondi focuses unduly on Plato, and so identifying this dialectic now as a "pretence" because Plato also used rhetoric, e.g.


The argument against this Platonic pretence is not new.
...
Essentially Plato is in bad faith. Nor is his chatter about truth all that convincing as it is only for the rare few, invariably those in power:

a-cafephilo-gorgias-text-paris-jan-2013

As it happens I agree with this critical view of Plato. I am influenced by I.F. Stone who, when he retired from being a very independent journalist, taught himself ancient Greek and wrote "The Trial of Socrates". There's an excellent summary in his self-interview about the book:


I.F. Stone Breaks the Socrates Story: An old muckraker sheds fresh light on the 2,500-year-old mystery and reveals some Athenian political realities that Plato did his best to hide.
...
Plato made Socrates the secular martyred saint of the struggle against democracy. He stigmatized it as "mobocracy." Yet this was the very same "mob" which applauded the anti-war plays of Aristophanes when Athens was fighting for its life against Sparta. (No such antiwar plays were allowed, by either side, during our last two World Wars). This was the same "mob" whose eagerness for new ideas, and its readiness to hear them, drew philosophers from all over the ancient world. It made Athens - in the proud words of Pericles - "the school of Hellas," the university of the Greek world. It is the high repute of Athens that makes the trial of Socrates so puzzling.

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/socrates/ifstoneinterview.html

But Plato is just one example of the use of dialectic, if a very influential one.

Recent dialectics

De Gondi then claimed that:


The term does not carry much clout with modern works on argumentation. Stephen Toulmin, who is quoted in the Wiki article, never uses the term in his The Uses of Argument. Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca in The New Rhetoric mention it only en passant: In real life dialectics just doesn't happen and is practically indistinguishable from debate. Acknowledged modern authorities on critical reasoning, rhetoric and argumentation, such as Douglas Walton and Christopher Tindale, rarely discuss or ever use the term."

At first I was impressed. I knew about Toulmin's The Uses of Argument, but not the others he referred to. So I've learned from this exchange. However he doesn't quote from these recent works; when I looked at what some of these authors say and other references to them (in line with the motto: "Even if your mother says she loves you, check it out"), a rather different picture emerged, one which did NOT support the idea that dialectics is  ignored or condemned even in recent work about argumentation.
Thus one of the authors de Gondi refers to is Walton; however (in an article written with Godden) Walton, far from condemning dialectic, notes how it became increasingly important in the work of two leading authorities on informal logic and he has some sympathy with this, while arguing that the addition of a study of dialogue provides a better over-all approach:


Undoubtedly, Ralph H. Johnson and J. Anthony Blair are two of the patriarchs of  informal logic (IL) ... As it developed, IL began to adopt a dialectical conception of its subject matter, and started to utilize the theoretical and methodological tools associated with this approach
...
Having sketched out Blair and Johnson's conception of the dialectical, and its influence on their respective approaches to the study of argument, we now proceed to place those views in relation to those of Walton, specifically pertaining to a dialogic approach to the dialectical. In broad terms, the four characteristics of a dialectical approach specified by Blair and Johnson (above) agree with our own conception.
...
By and large, we are deeply sympathetic with the conception of the dialectical presented by Johnson and Blair.

http://www.dougwalton.ca/papers%20in%20pdf/07JBfestIL.pdf

Regarding Olbrechts-Tyteca and their supposed rejection of dialectics, others see it as more of an extension to or "rapprochement" with it, cf.:

If reason is the heart of the project, then as Mieczyslaw Maneli noted, "dialectics is the foundation and the nervous system of the New Rhetoric. The New Rhetoric is the long sought fulcrum which can add new vitality to traditional dialectics and push it to new phases of creativity and development".
...
THE DIALECTIC OF THE NEW RHETORIC

...  Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca saw their work as a "rapprochement" of a theory of argumentation with dialectic" (5). In affecting this rapprochement, the authors sought to expand the reach of dialectic beyond formal logic's laws of identity, non-contradiction and the excluded middle to include the realm of probable opinions and common sense.

http://law-journals-books.vlex.com/vid/dialectical-in-the-new-rhetoric-53800651

"Dance of the Dialectic": Marxist dialectics

It seems that one of the reasons Olbrechts-Tyteca chose "rhetoric" rather than "dialectics" was because, at that time, during the Cold War, the latter term was associated with Marxism. Since then there has been less of a problem with Marxism (indeed, due to the latest financial crisis, it's enjoyed something of a revival) and Bertell Ollman in particular has developed the marxist conception of dialectics. While one might disagree with them, I don't think either Marx or Ollman can be dismissed as "wankers", nor are they engaged in "intellectual sham", but rather with an attempt to understand the complexity of the world and the interactions of forces within it:

The existing breakdown of knowledge into mutually indifferent and often hostile academic disciplines, each with its own range of problematics and methods, has replaced the harmonious enlightenment we had been promised with a raucous cacophony of discordant sounds. In the confusion, the age-old link between knowledge and action has been severed, so that scholars can deny all responsibility for their wares while taking pride in knowing more and more about less and less. It is as a way of criticizing this state of affairs and developing an integrated body of knowledge that a growing number of researchers are turning to Marxian dialectics.

http://www.nyu.edu/projects/ollman/docs/dd_ch01_content.php

What is philosophy ? Where ?

This leads us on to ATinNM''s comment:

 "Can education remedy/fight violence?" isn't a philosophical question.  It states a research area in the fields of Sociology, Social Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and Anthropology.

This reminds me of a meeting of radical philosophy years ago when one guy said that when he'd asked if they would be studying Marx he was told: "That isn't philosophy it's sociology". However when he'd asked the sociologists they'd said it wasn't sociology, it was history, while the historians said it wasn't how they approached history - and somehow Marxism got lost in the gap between disciplines.

I am tempted to agree with ATinNM, but then I studied philosophy in a British university. However I think that the continental approach is better in being more open and inclusive. In the US and UK  philosophy is now often a quite narrow academic discipline. It's a rather sad retreat from the days of Bertrand Russell, who, like Sartre, was a public intellectual, engaged in discussing a wide range of general issues which involved politics, history, sociology, etc.  In France when one has discussions on TV of a wide range of issues the panel often includes one or more philosophers, who do not confine themselves to narrowly philosophical issues.


Simon Glendinning has suggested that the term ("continental philosophy") was originally more pejorative than descriptive, functioning as a label for types of western philosophy rejected or disliked by analytic philosophers.

... continental philosophy tends toward historicism. Where analytic philosophy tends to treat philosophy in terms of discrete problems, capable of being analyzed apart from their historical origins (much as scientists consider the history of science inessential to scientific inquiry), continental philosophy typically suggests that "philosophical argument cannot be divorced from the textual and contextual conditions of its historical emergence".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_philosophy

Of course things aren't perfect, even in France (where all pupils study some philosophy); there can be an undue reverence for philosophers and intellectuals. Chomsky has been particularly scathing about the Parisian intellectual elite:

Cf.:


Some of the people in these cults (which is what they look like to me) I've met
... I've dipped into what they write out of curiosity, but not very far, for reasons already mentioned: what I find is extremely pretentious, but on examination, a lot of it is simply illiterate, based on extraordinary misreading of texts that I know well (sometimes, that I have written), argument that is appalling in its casual lack of elementary self-criticism, lots of statements that are trivial (though dressed up in complicated verbiage) or false; and a good deal of plain gibberish.

http://vserver1.cscs.lsa.umich.edu/~crshalizi/chomsky-on-postmodernism.html

a-onfray-nice-wide-4885

Onfray (centre) in Nice

The French philosopher Michel Onfray is also quite critical of the Parisian intellectual elite, and, like Chomsky, tries to address a wider audience and encourage a critical engagement with a broad range of issues, as happens in cafe-philos:

The People's University in the northern French town of Caen is no ivory tower for the elite. Radical philosopher Michel Onfray set it up for those who were "programmed" to let education pass them by.

The lectures regularly attract about 1,000 students, among them the jobless and employed, youngsters just getting started in life and those already retired.

...
Social pressures conspire to discourage certain people from tapping into their intellectual potential, Onfray argues.

"At the moment everything is done to say to people 'You are not intelligent. Let the experts handle it'," he says.

"Here, we say 'The experts, most of the time, are talking out of the back of their head. Tackle these questions and you will be saying things that are a lot more interesting'."

...
Maurice, a retired rail worker, also finds the courses liberating, in part because a regular feature of the lectures is that they make frequent references to current affairs.

"It allows us to reflect, to have an opinion on a number of problems that currently confront us," he says.

http://www.expatica.com/fr/news/news_focus/Peoples-University-knowledge-is-power-_219372.html

Cafe-philos reflect this spirit, rather than limiting themselves to some current, rather narrow views of what constitutes philosophy, and, and despite some reservations, I am in favour this more general approach.

Display:
and because I was mentioned by name.

I take the concluding paragraph:

Cafe-philos reflect this spirit, rather than limiting themselves to some current, rather narrow views of what constitutes philosophy, and, and despite some reservations, I am in favour this more general approach.

to express a personal preference to which I can only shrug.  I do not share it.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 01:07:40 PM EST

Rather obviously to say "I am in favour ..." is to express a personal preference, equally obviously I'd taken some pains to explain the more general context for the divergent views about philosophy and, by referring to the example of Onfray's approach (and earlier Ollman's approach) to suggest  my reasons for preferring the "continental" approach.

I'm sorry that all that you can do is shrug - all I can do is suggest that you subscribe to a cafe-philo mime session (see Renoir pic at the top of the diary)  :-)  


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 02:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ignoring the baggage, I find dialogue and dialectic both useful and it seems to me that they are inherently conjoined. Dialectic emerges from dialogue and each dialectic is specific to the dialogue from which it emerged.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 01:20:40 PM EST
Of course things aren't perfect, even in France (where all pupils study some philosophy)

And here's me thinking things were perfect in France :) (where all is for the best, in the best of all possible countries)

Just to clarify : all pupils who finish high school study some philosophy. This ranges from 8 hours a week for the literary streams to 5 for the scientists, down to 2 hours of "philo lite" for the technicals.

I'm following my daughter's philo with interest, because I've never formally studied any of it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 06:18:06 AM EST
An interesting question arises in the interpretation of the caption identifying Mr Onfray in a clearly imposing unnamed building which, is, however, situated in Nice.

Mr Onfray (I shall call him O hereforth) sits apparently at the centre of the photograph, but not at the centre of all present, and certainly not in the centre of his own side of the figure/ground duality.

In traditional legends (used here in the cartographic meaning), the human focii of interest are identified from left to right, and further subdivided, if made necessary due to numbers, with further qualifying identifiers such as 'seated' or 'standing'. In this particular case of 2 important 'performers', who could each be perceived as O, there can be no centre, except in the possible anthropomorphizing of the space between the two men, which in itself is an extreme philosophical position.

The microphone is also frequently used as a symbol of recorded speech, and may also represent O in absentia as a 'citatative voice' informing the discussion. It may be argued that Mike is not in the centre of the meaning landscape, except in the traditional left-right identification. If O is only present in symbolic form, his closeness to the unidentified 'seated man on the left' could indicate that 'smontl' is a follower of O's argument.

However, the correct legend "O (on the right)" could bring accusations of political bias, as, indeed, is "O (center)". This kind of semiology is clearly fraught with difficulties.

Audiences tend to deduce that if there is only one Mike, then the interviewer is the one holding it (especially if the interviewer is also holding a book of questions. Interviewees are normally expected to have answers, not questions). But what if O is an interviewer?

Sadly we have no further information with which to work. We are in Nice talking about Caen in a grand hall that dates at least as far back as the time when grand halls had large murals. The occasion is unidentified, as is the date. All we know is that O is in there somewhere.

No hyperlinks were damaged in the production of this comment.


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 07:17:22 AM EST
The guy holding the mike looks to be an unbearable right-wing journalist-cum-wannabe-intellectual whose name I have chosen to forget. So yeah, he's presumably the interviewer in the context, i.e. is hogging the show.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 07:22:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Giesbert, known as FOG.

Bawn in the USA. I didn't know that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 07:34:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for your reminder of the vacuity of some semiological speculation Sven :-)  I'm glad to say that I was never a fan of the theoretical elaboration of what had been, in Barthes' Mythologies, a quite straight-forward if perspicacious form of analysis. As implied by all your unresolved questions, a more practical response would involve a quick trip to Google, inserting "onfray" and "nice" and the third result is no less than a a link, via Onfray's page, to a video of the whole conference (you can even see me being ushered to a seat by a rather irritated member of staff). I include that link, as I know that you appreciate them so much :-)  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=r__Sx7AvY0w

As you will see if you use the link, the conference took place at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen on 19th June 2011.

In my photo in the diary Onfray's mike can just be seen between his knee and a woman's head.

Here's a photo of Onfray with mike, typical of about 95% of the conference (Guisbert didn't "hog" it at all):

a-onfray-nice-cu-4887

 More interestingly, I think, one of my friends wrote a surprisingly critical report about it and I wrote a response defending Onfray. I later learned that my friend's  wife is not only a doctor but also a psycho-analyst, and Onfray has written a very critical book about Freud.

As an example of inaccuracy and yet more hyperbole, you say that when the guy intervened with some rant about Marx, there were "Security guards running in from all corners". In fact one security guy went to the guy and spoke to him quietly without touching him, though he kept on ranting. Yes, Onfray did sensibly and with good humour say that he would reply to the guy and people did applaud hoping the guy would shut up till later. When it was question-time Onfray did make a point of replying first to the guy's point about Marx.



Where was the "fawning adoration by Franz-Olivier Giesbert"? (He had said in his introduction that he admired Onfray, but this didn't affect the way he handled the session). He merely asked quite reasonable questions such as citing a philosophy book's title: "Why Philosophy ?" and he asked Onfray for his reasons for doing philosophy. Later, noting that Onfray has been accused of being polemical and aggressive, he asked why Onfray followed Nietzsche's idea of "philosophy with a hammer". Onfray replied that it was important to be clear and not hypocritical about some things and to express disagreements, without getting personal - as some of his critics HAVE done - even though you may not have read them. When a psychoanalyst in the audience asked a question Onfray welcomed this and said he was happy to discuss Freud's ideas rationally (and that some psycho-analysts had even said that his book had been valauble in causing them to rethink their attitude to Freud).



Contrary to your ludicrous claim that there was "little or no argumentaion", Onfray replied to the guy asking about Marx that he was not totally opposed to Marx, that he particularly appreciated Marx's early writing on alienation. He said that his approach was often to set a thinker in context, thus while discussing Descartes he would also give more attention than was often the case to Gassendi. In the case of Marx, Onfray also dealt with Proudhon and the anarchists, as well as English thinkers such as Robert Owen. I'm not easily impressed, but in general Onfray's responses to interviewer or members of the audience were models of lucid argument, this quality partly explains the great popularity of his books. Have you read any ? 




Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 02:03:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent!

The video, zeitgeistal as it was, nevertheless revealed what I perceived to be the real semiotic motivation for your inclusion of that particular photograph taken at the conference that took place at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen on 19th June 2011. In Nice.

What you sought, subliminally, was to emphasize your intimacy with O: you were there. You were a witness. In my business we call it brand identification, or, in some areas of the trade, consumer loyalty.

But the diplomat should always avoid such penetrating tokens of support. "In what way can I present information so that all aspects of the challenges to the veracity of such information are equally represented?" "I said that."

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 02:30:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Sven, it's, er, more than generous of you to demonstrate yet again the inadequacies of certain kinds of semiotic speculation :-)  In this case, rather than using Goggle to get at some actual facts, you might have just asked me about my motivation. Instead this kind of pseudo-psycho-analytic invention, of the kind Onfray condemns in Freud, wrapped up with some marketing jargon, is quite mistaken.

In fact the reason for using one of the photos I took at the conference was much more prosaic; I wanted to use one of my own photos rather than having (as with some of the other pics in the diary) to borrow somebody else's from the net (though it's for small-scale, non-commercial use). Had I wanted to signal my "intimacy" with him, I might have chosen the photo I used in my previous reply to you. But I thought the one used, which puts him at a greater apparent distance from me, was a more interesting image and it fits with the point made in the diary about continental philosophy being more concerned with the historical context of ideas.

I think I make it quite clear that I respect and admire Onfray; it's for others to make their own judgments about the validity of his arguments and the worth of his Université populaire project and I cite some of his views and others can do their own research about him in order to form their own opinions.

I have no time for the idea that one should seek to conceal one's own convictions in the name of "diplomacy". That's the same sort of mistake as mainly US idea that in journalism objectivity is just a matter of balance - "he said - she said"  ("I couldn't possibly comment"), instead of the careful study of the evidence in order to arrive at the truth, as far as it can be ascertained. Unfortunately, even the fact-checkers in US journalism suffer from the "balance" syndrome:


It drives home the point that what journalists call "objectivity" is really a radical post-modernism-a denial that anything can ever really be known about the world, that all we really can do is report various claims about the world. While factchecking as an enterprise would seem to inherently accept the idea that, yes, there are facts and they can be checked, in practice the people called factcheckers deny that what they do can be used to meaningfully distinguish between candidates...

http://www.fair.org/blog/2012/10/09/factchecking-impossible-pointless-say-factcheckers/

In Onfray's own case, he makes it quite clear in his recent book that he admires Camus and is very critical of Sartre; it's up to readers to decide whether his arguments and evidence justify his judgments.

But as Onfray himself said at the conference in Nice, to generally approve of someone doesn't mean one agrees with all of their views and I think, having read some Sartre and some things about him, including this:

http://www.liberation.fr/livres/01012346240-michel-onfray-ca-suffit

that he's not really fair to Sartre. But I'm happy to know where he stands with regard to the people he writes about, including  justified (in my opinion) contempt for Freud.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 06:15:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to let you and everyone know that I am writing a comment to the issues you have raised. I will post it asap, time and work permitting.

Best, D.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 04:47:07 AM EST

The tension builds - perhaps it could be a whole new diary ! :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 05:39:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Color me simple, as my brain writes about the Zen Master who, with open palm, cuffs his top student upside the head.

PS. I truly wanted to learn something about dialectic, since i've been hearing about it all my life but never knew what it was. I even went to links from this diary.

Now i know a little something about dialectics, flavored with some semiotic spices, which of course makes me a little dangerous.

Sadly, i now know you can't discuss truth unless you first dive in and swim in it... after which there's no discussion.

Well OK, colour me purple or whatever, i remain simple, dialogueless, believing that philosophy with a hammer means upside the head cuffing.  Funny, that cuffing mein own head sometimes worksl. Not that i'd ever writeabouddit.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 12:54:51 PM EST

Zen_Ninja-text

"i remain simple, dialogueless, believing that philosophy with a hammer means upside the head cuffing."

Another entrant for the next cafe-philo mime session :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:23:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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