Thursday, January 19, 2006

Richard Rorty jumps aboard

I took down the post linking to Rorty's darkly ironic plea for academic freedom, yes. Let's put it back up but in doing so make some remarks about context. Here's Rorty's context. The reader is invited to compare, if she will, with that of another country, for instance one that has already experienced Fascism. I am thinking of pages 166-173 in David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day (if you don't have a copy, you may see The Site for the first three pages, and then The Google for one more--to get a sense. There is ample humor in such cultural comparisons).

But in this country especially, the fact remains that universities and colleges are mostly conservative places, despite the prevailing popular myths. This would seem too obvious to even mention, were it not for the calcified, persistent voices always rising to the occassion, in equal parts chanting, and subtly implying otherwise.
Updated: Tim has more.

5 comments:

Aenesidemus said...

Also, if you check the bottom of the Rorty essay, it seems that it was orginally published in the 90's.

Matt said...

Such ironic pronouncements are surely a perennial affair, in any case.

Aenesidemus said...

Or pragmatic perhaps? programatic?

Matt said...

Right. As A says, a niche market.

Not a tower anyone has any particular interest in defending qua tower, of course.

If only they would build a tower for post-WWII philosophy, that might be a valuable endeavor. Force them all to reconcile a bit maybe, though you'd have to seriously up the funding for the so-called "continentals" of course, to keep the necessary balance.

Maybe students would be less likely to vote for permanent war, exceptional executive powers...(not because they were indoctrinated, but because they were given some more historical tools with which to think).

No, that is surely an idealistic load of crap. Everybody knows that students are dumb, and only capable of citing tools, for manual labor.

Aenesidemus said...

Nietzsche, I'm told, makes a distinction between philosophers and philosophical labourers. I wonder which is which and who is who (Pink Floyd, if i recall, asked a similar question...)?