DIALOGUE AND GENERIC LANGUAGE

There has been a lively and interesting dialogue going on at the ALL THINGS SHINING blog. It’s true that sometimes in an exchange, the dialogue takes over, and becomes more than the sum of its parts. We think thoughts and say things that we would never have come to without being engaged in that particular discussion.

Sean Kelly has made this dialogue possible, and has committed to following it through. He is a good exemplar of its fecundity, and of its possible stumbling blocks. As he talks of « gratitude », we can be grateful for the conversation that has been given to us. One of the things that Kelly uses this dialogue for is the ability to amplify on the core points by way of a discussion of various circumstances that can help to make them comprehensible and even plausible, plus the capacity to re-focus on the core points, and to abstract them out from the circumstances.

However, I am a little more sceptical than Kelly is about this distinction between the core and the circumstances, if applied absolutely.

Perhaps Kelly’s image of the dialogue as an Auseinandersetzung could be applied to the relation between core and circumstances. The core, in this case a “decision being given” (I find this formulation more satisfying than “being given a decision”) may sometimes bear traces of the circumstances in which it was formed. Even if a decision is formed from beyond our ego’s control, we may still be in dialogue with it, we may still struggle (for example we may talk it over with a friend, mull it over, or do some research).

What Kelly calls a “radical” or a “minimal” reading, allows him to pare off extraneous connotations and to focus on the core. This corresponds to what I have been calling a “generic” perspective and language. I use the term « generic » (along with Alain Badiou and François Laruelle) to indicate the attempt to free one’s descriptive language from unnecessarily specific properties, images, or assumptions.

However, this generic language need not seek to isolate the core, but rather articulates that aspect of the phenomenon that is shareable by people with quite other assumptions than one’s own.

With this distinction in mind I have the feeling that some of Sean Kelly’s expressions are more generic, and thus more acceptable to me, than others.

For example, when Kelly talks about some moments as being “worth highlighting” as compared to others that « recede into the background », this is not the same as saying that some moments “demand our gratitude”.

The first expression (an event worth highlighting) is more generic, than the second (a gift that demands our gratitude) in that we can readily imagine other forms of highlighting than gratitude. The former expression I can go with, the latter (if it is taken as a general characteristic) leaves me uncomfortable and unsatisfied.

In a slogan: more generic is less pious.

Cet article a été publié dans Uncategorized. Ajoutez ce permalien à vos favoris.

9 commentaires pour DIALOGUE AND GENERIC LANGUAGE

  1. dmf dit :

    at first I was puzzled by Sean saying that some aspects of the enabling/assembling background could be left out of the account and then I thought maybe he was just saying that they were particular to one example but not necessary to the more general/underlying process (as say if we were trying to understand the phenomenology of color perception any particular color being seen at one moment wouldn’t be a necessary aspect) but then he insisted on something like salvation (right-seeing) and again on gratitude and I was left puzzled again…
    ps some of my attempted comments hereabouts may be caught in yer filter.

    Aimé par 1 personne

    • terenceblake dit :

      Yes, I just found one,and approved it.

      J'aime

    • terenceblake dit :

      And a second one!

      J'aime

    • terenceblake dit :

      Yes, I thought he was going for a more multi-dimensional, more divergent, and more open account, but I see old convergent themes recurring. This core/circumstances idea doesn’t seem to me to be compatible with a « polytheist » account.

      J'aime

      • dmf dit :

        sadly not I think as with Latour there is a lurking Christian/salvific background to all of this, reminds me of how the Jungians largely rejected Hillman’s attempt to save the poly of an actually active imagination from Jung’s own Self-ish theologizing, people just can’t give up on the promise of Telos/Necessity.

        Aimé par 1 personne

      • dmf dit :

        should note that Hillman wasn’t entirely free of this tendency and in ways that are reminiscent of my disagreement with Sean about the necessity or not of gratitude, Hillman did share with Jung a kind of faith that all things were grist for the alchemical mill (shit into gold, etc) of the psyche which they both thought was leading us in some kind of healing/holistic if not salvific direction and I argued in vain that there were traumas like rape that didn’t have a necessary silver lining and weren’t some kind of lesson from the gods or Cosmos or whatever, shit does just happen and not to any particular end let alone something Good or enriching.

        Aimé par 1 personne

      • terenceblake dit :

        Hillman went very far in the direction of pluralism, but it came to be ultimately not under the rediscovery of the soul but under the dictatorship of the psyche. He then came to take his own ideas literally, against his own principles, and re-oriented towards a plural self-help guru. Still his REVISIONING PSYCHOLOGY can give useful lessons for pushing further Kelly’s timid still all-too-christian polytheism.

        J'aime

      • dmf dit :

        indeed, I suggested in the comments there that we could revive archetypal psychology by way of a pragmatist/enactivist phenomenology that would flesh out Jung’s earlier work on feeling-toned-complexes more in the mode of Rorty’s « living » metaphors and or Wittgenstein’s perspicuous re-minders, so that with folks like Stengers we focus on active imagination (as Hillman once did) and get away from theological desires of discovering/decoding the Given ways of living.
        No more archive fever dreams of recovering Golden past patterns or receiving Sign posts from/to the future ,not even of the mythological sorts…

        J'aime

Votre commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Google

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Google. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Connexion à %s