“PROBLEMATIC”: useful or obscurantist?

I drew up this list of 16 traits to not so much defend Zizek, but Continental philosophy, which Chomsky has often attacked. The list is explained in a series of reports published on my blog, starting here. They are intuitive features, easy to understand and recognize in the writings of thinkers like Deleuze, Badiou, Lyotard, Laruelle, and not only in Zizek.

Despite the tension there is something good about this discussion and I thank Justin for making it possible. I think that almost all the 16 traits on my open and relative list can be summed up in the idea of thinking in problematics, as I explained. I can assure you that in France this idea, which implicitly includes pluralism, hermeneutics, creating concepts, deconstructing the question, incommensurability etc. is not very erudite, as it is taught in high school to pupils of 16 years of age, if not younger. I am an English teacher in a French lycée and so I must often give pupils from 16 to 24 (as I work in a university as well) work to do where they start out with a “problématique”, generate questions, and search for answers coherent with that problematic. It is a trivial idea, that can be deployed at all levels of sophistication. Yet, Chomsky acts as if he had never heard of it. So I did my series of posts. I see nothing to get worked up about concerning my particular list. If there exist people more erudite than me on this I welcome their contributions so that I may learn more and better.


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