August 09, 2005

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The challenge of thinking without a head Link: Acephalous. Scott responds to some current discussion. Matt helpfully provides great links through some of the discussion. Scott writes: ...why I think debates about Theory are so often side-tracked: everyone believes everyone else is intellectually dishonest to the limited extent people so deeply stupid can be intellectually dishonest. I know, I know, I'm not breaking new ground here. Here's the thing: I think we're right. All of us. I think we are all intellectually dishonest (to oursevles and others) and deeply stupid when it comes to thinking about Theory. I don't buy it. I don't think that individualized attributes and motivations explain the larger context in which current opposition to what has been called postmodernism, French theory, Cultural Studies, historical materialism (in the sixities, conservatives hated the Frankfurt School), and now, simply theory. I can imagine reformatting Scott's statement that we are 'deeply stupid in thinking about theory'" in different terms. I can imagine saying that there is no Theory that anyone can be deeply stupid about; the stupidity rests in trying to form an interesting debate around a spectre, even as the contexts and terms that enable that spectre to emerge are disavowed. Perhaps more plausible is that what is a stake here is a deep antagonism: too few assumptions are shared to constitute an interesting discussion; or, the divergences are so deep that there is disagreement regarding the basic matter for discussion. I find myself puzzled by the demand for proof: prove to me why I should...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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