Arendt a la Taminieux

Arendt’s account of politics is contaminated by its mimetic relation to her mentor Heidegger’s account of politics. When engaging with a locutor, there is always a region of underlying agreement assumed in order to form a ground on which to engage. In this way, even the most diametrically opposed and hating interlocutors invariably take for granted more than they disagree on. Moreover, the more they engage in dispute, the more similar they come to resemble one another. That is, the taken-for-granted world or imaginary or ‘for-the-sakes-of’ grounding their views and arguments tend to align more and more. In this way, the dispute moves towards being a more local dispute against a shared Background, rather than a dispute between different Backgrounds. This is why unionists can jump the table; and why major political parties come to exude a managerialist ethos; and why Trotskyists can mutate into rabid neo-cons.

To me it seems that the key move in Arendt’s difference with Heidegger is to unpick the way Heidegger too quickly mashes together the world of practice and activity consigning it to the realm of ‘the Same’ and then contrasting this with the higher vocation of authentic Dasein as a philosophical engagement with its own unique factical finitude and death.

Structurally Arendt mimics these relations but reverses their valence.  Read more of this post

Analytic Philosophy as a dead-end

Rhetoric is not only concerned with the how of what we say, but also with the what. That is, it is just as concerned with how we work out what to say, how we find and follow ideas or thoughts as with how we shape them to create a convincing speech or text.

So, I will begin with some reflections on my own ways of finding what to say.

I was trained in philosophy, analytic philosophy, a discipline that was obsessed with logical reasoning. The idea was that you would begin with one thought or proposition and then realise that that logically led to another one, and then on to a further one, and so on until you reached the final concluding thought or proposition. Each link in the chain of thoughts was a logical necessity, a deductive relation. There could be no jumps or gaps between the thoughts. Those trained in philosophy will immediately associate this description with three things: the practice of reasoning formulated by Descartes; the flow of ideas in philosophy articles or books; and the aggressive search by reading or listening philosophers for any jumps or gaps or ‘holes’ in the necessary flow of propositions.

This game of finding the hole in an argument was an intellectual game I threw myself into with relish when young. Read more of this post