Invalidating Stereotypes: if you can’t refute your adversaries’ arguments why not just categorise them out of existence?

Recently I have been called a Deleuzian and also a Feyerabendian, in both cases the aim was to invalidate my intellectual production by confining it to some narrow repetitive predictable category. this is a belated reaction to such intellectual profiling that views all criticism as a form of promotion of a rival « brand ».

I am very much influenced by Feyerabend and I talk of him often, as I think that he is under-read, mis-understood, and under-appreciated. One reason he is misunderstood is because he has a deceptively simple style – but it is the simplicity of abundance. Not only does Feyerabend have a stylistic abundance, ranging from jokes and stories to emotional outbursts and mystical pronouncements, but he also has an abundance of arguments and a historical and anthropological amplitude of vision.

It was out of my reading of Feyerabend that I chose to continue in philosophy no matter what the obstacles. Further, when my philosophy department split in two (a Continental department and an analytic one), it was my understanding of Feyerabend that inspired me to enroll in both for that first year of existence when a double enrolment was authorised, and then to decide on the Continental department when one had to choose. It was because of my devotion to Feyerabend’s thought that I fell in love with the thought of Kristeva, Foucault, Serres, Lyotard, Deleuze and Guattari, and that I left Sydney for Paris, where I attended the seminars of Deleuze and Lyotard and Foucault and Serres.

This choice of Paris by a « Feyerabendian » may seem strange, but I have always read Feyerabend much more as a Continental philosopher than an analytic. In fact he is both, so I never paid much attention to the Continental/analytic divide. However, Feyerabend’s Continental aspect is deeper and omnipresent in his work, although surprisingly not often noticed or remarked upon.I had a scholarship that allowed me to go anywhere and study for one year, so I could have gone and studied with Feyerabend in Zurich. I decided by some strange process that going to Paris and attending especially Deleuze’s seminars would help me to develop my Feyerabendian ideas than actually studying with Feyerabend himself.

So I am a « Feyerabendian » only insofar as I am a « Deleuzian » and that Deleuze is a Feyerabendian, and vice versa. This is a typical situation of what Deleuze called « double-becoming », where each term describes a process rather than a model, and there is no imitation but rather an intensified individuation proceeding by means of ,and between, both terms. I am surprised that some so-called Deleuze scholars don’t even notice, still less understand such a situation, preferring to try to pin me down to a reductive identity so as to invalidate me with cheap debaters’ style points. All this is too much for some, who prefer to talk to a simple reductive stereotype « Terence Blake the Feyerabendian », a goofy fan of a long dead philosopher of science unfit to exchange words with a Deleuze scholar, a caricature that has little to do with my real intellectual development. And that shows no real understanding of becoming.

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2 commentaires pour Invalidating Stereotypes: if you can’t refute your adversaries’ arguments why not just categorise them out of existence?

  1. Leon dit :

    Where were such categorizations made? Link?


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