BLOGOPHOBIA IN PHILOSOPHY: Platonism and corporatism in the profession

Is the mode of existence of a philosophy blog that of a conversation? I am not convinced that a philosophy blog, or any other philosophical means of expression, is necessarily conversational, nor that a fruitful conversation is necessarily “Gricean”. Conversations may happen on and between blogs, but that is not their main aim.

In fact, the Gricean maxims may be seen as providing a criterion of demarcation between Continental and analytic philosophy. John Searle and Noam Chomsky have criticised Foucault for not conforming to the 4 maxims, but he may have been developping a form of thinking that would be unduly constrained or even prevented from existing if it had to conform to the supposedly minimal degree of commensuration required by these norms.

“Deconstruction” is non-Gricean, and needs to be so. I have discussed this problem quite a lot on my blog, for example:

The negative evaluation of philosophical blogging is a reflection of the Platonism of the profession. The blog article is often assimilated to the domain of mere opinion, perhaps itself dependent on the currents of fashion. The idea that a philosophical blog could be devoted to working out the manifold aspects of a coherent problematic, rather than just publishing superficial reactions to the immediate present, seems not to occur to many professional philosophers.

There is also the problem of corporatism: how can we judge the value of something that comes from outside the corporation? Professional philosophy is governed by a competitive habitus, given the relatively small number of posts available. Philosophical blogging is an “outsider” phenomenon in the current context, and most academics are quite conformist, because of this mixture of Platonism and corporatism.

I think Gricean maxims apply best to the mirror stage, and to mimetic initiation and participation in like-minded interest groups. I, like many other people, for example Bernard Stiegler:, would distinguish dialogical and dialectical. “Dialectical” is a good term to describe the manners of professional philosophers, academic “peers” conversing inter se. “Dialogical” might better describe a more free-style conversation with extra-professional and extra-academic partners.

One of the biggest blockages about accepting blogs in philosophy comes from this closed society mentality. Once again Continental philosophy is more dialogically-oriented (even when it does not succeed) and analytic philosophy is more expert dialectic-oriented.

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