Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

This Is Not a Post

Magritte's PipeStill intending on maintaining my holiday blogging hiatus, but wanted to post some organisational updates for the reading group in the new year, and couldn’t resist tossing up a bit of ephemera while I was at the keyboard…

On the ephemera side of the equation: my favourite coffeeshop, where I often spend my mornings reading and writing, is blissfully empty at this time of year. I think the place is open only because the owner is remodelling the kitchen (and fretting over how to minimise the damage the remodel will inevitably wreak on the accumulated layers of informal and formal artwork that cover every surface). At least at the times I frequent the place, I seem to be their only customer (which has caused me to wonder whether they appreciate the custom, or whether it’s just a nuisance for them to have to prepare coffee for one person…).

Today, however, another hopeful soul – not a regular – happened upon the place and, since the establishment doubles as a pub, ordered a beer before absorbing that the environment presented no easy options for companionship. Forced to settle on me by default, he attempted a faux-casual approach to my table. I registered his intention out of the corner of my eye and, not desiring company, tried to make a great show of concentrating on Hegel. Alas, my tactic was unsuccessful, and I ended up having to rebuff the man explicitly, provoking some apparent confusion as to why Phenomenology should offer better company… (If you have to ask, etc…. ;-P)

The incident reminded me of when I was researching in Paris, where over time I became quite irritated at people’s tendency to assume that, because I was unaccompanied, I must necessarily want company – even when I was obviously absorbed in some task. I eventually took to carrying a copy of Durkheim’s Suicide with me any time I intended to work in a public space. I found that a prominently displayed copy of a work with that title was sufficient to deter most approaches with nary a word exchanged (although I observed some truly priceless facial expressions as people suddenly decided that they really didn’t want to initiate a conversation, after all…). The few hardy persons who persisted in approaching generally attempted to use the book as their initial point of contact: “What’s that book about?” they would ask. This opened the way for me to reply, “It’s a work that shows how social integration can cause people to kill themselves…” That response usually worked nicely to ensure my privacy. (I’m loads of fun in person, let me tell you… ;-P)

At any rate, in terms of reading group signposts for the next several weeks:

LMagee is waiting not-so-patiently for a discussion of the follow-up to the initial post on the Derrida-Searle debate. Because I’ve somewhat unilaterally called off my own serious blogging for a bit, LM is holding off publication of the piece until the middle of next week (thereby tacitly giving me a deadline for rejoining serious public discussion… ;-P).

I’ve invited a Mystery Guest Blogger to perhaps introduce a discussion on Lakoff and Pinker – no firm commitment yet, but I’m very much hoping this arrangement will work out. I’ll withhold further details until we know for certain.

Unless others are eager to step into the breach (someone? anyone?), I’ll likely write something on the preface to Phenomenology of Spirit, as the inaugural reading group post on that work, some time in mid-to-late January.

While I am looking forward to what the reading group will be reading and discussing, LM seems to be in a more nostalgic mood, and has compiled an impressive-looking bibliography documenting what we have already achieved (perhaps LM has been reading Spurious… ;-P). LM’s bibliography of works read since we formed (in case anyone was curious) is pasted below. Links to the discussions on many of these works, to the readings that are available online, and to various additional, “non-core” readings associated with the reading group discussions, can be found in the entries within the Reading Group category.

Chomsky, N., (2002), Syntactic Structures, Walter de Gruyter.

Chomsky, N., (2006), Language and Mind, Cambridge University Press.

Derrida, J., (1988), Limited Inc., Northwestern University Press Evanston, IL.

Fitch, W.T. and Hauser, M.D. and Chomsky, N., (2005), “The evolution of the language faculty: clarifications and implications”.

Hacking, I., (2002), Historical ontology, Harvard University Press Cambridge, Mass.

Hauser, M.D. and Chomsky, N. and Fitch, W., (2002), “The Faculty of Language: What Is It, Who Has It, and How Did It Evolve?”

Jackendoff, R. and Pinker, S., (2005), “The nature of the language faculty and its implications for evolution of language (Reply to Fitch, Hauser, and Chomsky)” Cognition 97.

Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M., (1980), Metaphors we live by, University of Chicago Press Chicago.

Pinker, S., (1995), The Language Instinct, HarperPerennial.

Pinker, S. & Jackendoff, R. (2005) “The Faculty of Language: What’s Special about It?” Cognition 95.

Saussure, F. and others, (1966), Course in general linguistics, McGraw-Hill New York.

Searle, J.R., (1977?), “Reiterating the Differences: A Reply to Derrida” Glyph II.

Weber, M., (1946), “Science as a Vocation”, Oxford University Press.

Whorf, B.L. and Carroll, J.B., (1956), Language, thought and reality: selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, MIT Press.

Wittgenstein, L., (1999), Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Dover Publications.

Wittgenstein, L., (1967), Philosophical investigations, Blackwell Oxford.

[Note: image modified from the one hosted at Wikipedia – please see the Wikipedia page for information.]

One response to “This Is Not a Post

  1. Pingback: » Coffee and Spirit

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