Future, Present, & Past:
Speculative~~ Giving itself latitude and leisure to take any premise or inquiry to its furthest associative conclusion.
Critical~~ Ready to apply, to itself and its object, the canons of reason, evidence, style, and ethics, up to their limits.
Traditional~~ At home and at large in the ecosystem of practice and memory that radically nourishes the whole person.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
I've posted a long paper of mine at Scribd. It's in two parts, a main paper on Platonism as read by two very different contemporary interpreters (Alain Badiou and Ernest McClain) with some meandering about with Kojeve and Rosen and others; and a technical/speculative appendix that gets way beyond my competence, and admits it. The paper (with or without appendix) is actually meant to be more than just a presentation of Badiou or McClain; it argues pretty frankly for my own idiosyncratic take on what I think is at stake in philosophy whether in Plato's day or our own (I don't think the situation has changed much).
Badiou is too huge a presence to need introduction, but or those of you who don't know, McClain is an emeritus professor of music at Brooklyn College, who argues that many of the more difficult passages in ancient texts--passages that almost always involve numbers--become readable if we interpret these numbers in terms of ancient musical theory. The texts McClain looks at this way are not just Plato, but also the Vedas, Homer, the Bible, and the Quran, among others. Though he might not endorse the juxtaposition, I'd compare McClain's work to Giorgio de Santillana's and Hertha von Dechend's Hamlet's Mill; but in place of archeo-astronomy, McClain gives pride of place to music--the other most universal experience, besides sex, death, and the sky. My paper argues that the spirit of McClain's exegesis has philosophical consequences, and suggests that among these are revisions of many of Badiou's arguments. Since Badiou is among the most rigorous and broad thinkers today (and the course-corrections I suggest would arise are not trivial), this is actually a less niggling argument than it might seem.
I'll be getting some other papers up eventually, as I work out formatting issues. I'll keep a permanent link up under my "About Me" to the right, where I've also put a link there to my LibraryThing page where I have a number of book reviews up of various lengths.
All the papers on Scribd, either now or eventually, are drafts and subject to revision, but I welcome comments. The two up now have circulated before, privately, so some of you will have seen them already.