Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Theory?

In a post from 24 March 2005 in N + 1, one finds the following claim about the "The Intellectual Situation:"
Was theory a gigantic hoax? On the contrary. It was the only salvation, for a twenty year period, from two colossal abdications by American thinkers and writers. From about 1975 to 1995, through a historical accident, a lot of American thinking and mental living got done by people who were French, and by young Americans who followed the French.
I wonder where someone who writes like that takes the chuzpah! Whatever one may think about "theory"—and I am rather critical of "it"— questions like "Was theory a gigantic hoax?" are rather uncritical. What about "some aspects of ..." or "certain developments ..." or certain practitioners of ..."? What about some subtlety? The answer "On the contrary. It is the only salvation ..." is equally vacuous.

No wonder "theory" has a bad name in some circles! Stuff like this does not even beg a question.

Why did I come across this now? Someone at 3quarksdaily thought it needed our attention. I am going to remove this site from my sidebar, as the quality of the posts of late leave much to be desired.

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