Future, Present, & Past:

~~ 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.

Oυδεὶς άμουσος εἰσίτω

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sartor re-re-resartus

A philosophy costume party. The challenge was to dress as something philosophy-related. One person dressed as Mary, the colorblind color scientist. Another dressed as a strange loop -- she had a full-body leotard suit imprinted with with a photo of her wearing a leotard suit with a photo of her....

With a trip to the thrift store, a pair of scissors, and some quick amateur sewing, I had improvised a costume as the Analytic / Continental divide:

The costume obviously employs some clichés about Oxford dons in tweed, versus hip postmodern theorists in leather jackets. Its an interesting question why these clichés obtain, but all I needed to make my costume was to acknowledge them.

Admittedly my own effort is a shotgun wedding, not an elegant aufhebung of leather and tweed like these I found browsing online:

If we grant the necessity, or at least the acceptability, of trading in clichés for the purposes of these comparisons, then, accepting the correlations:
Analytic = tame tweed conservativism
Continental = dangerous leather-clad fashionable elegance,
what we find is that when we really try to depict the split in terms of costume, in terms of the grammar of fashion, the Continentals win -- a depiction in terms of the grammar of fashion of the division will be loaded in favor of the Continentals because the Continentals "are" fashionable. In dialectical terms: only the Continentals care about weird Hegelian things like "synthesis," so a dialectical account of Continental-vs.-Analytical will be a Continental account. An Analytical philosopher is (in this obviously unfair and stacked-deck story) perfectly happy with a stark juxtaposition like my costume, and may indeed be deeply suspicious of any blurring of boundaries as these swank and expensive new designs try to pull off. So it seems as though maybe my splitting-the-difference costume is really a costume of the Analytical costume of the Analytic / Continental split, while the high-fashion, high-pricetag syntheses I found online would be the Continental costume of the same split.

Of course, you could make higher-level juxtapositions or syntheses out of these, but they'd be a lot more expensive than my costume was.


  1. I like the idea. The trick for me is that I have the strong image of Wittgenstein in a leather jacket cutting through previous continental ideas with a fire poker. Meanwhile my favourite continental philosophers (Hegel, Gadamer) tend to err on the tweedy professorial side. So at first I wasn't actually sure which side was which. That probably says more about me than it does about your costume.

    1. Thanks, Amod. You are not the only one who has pointed out to me that "the Germans love their tweed," or words to that effect. And then, when one considers Heidegger's peasant outfits, the undermining goes even further....