Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

A Few Shared Subjects and Objects

For those who haven’t yet discovered it, I wanted to post a pointer here to the wonderful philosophy and critical theory blog Grundlegung, whose author has begun outlining an exciting and deeply thoughtful approach to issues near and dear around these parts: how to reposition the critique of capitalism within a framework that points beyond a subject-object dualism, via a self-reflexive and immanent grounding of normative claims. The latest post translates a rather hasty and incomplete question of mine into a much more systematic and well-articulated set of reflections on how we can best move beyond the conventional “functionalist” vision of critique:

It is a familiar trope of critical discourse to ask of the object of analysis whether–and if so, which–interests are served by that object. Thus, in my post, I ask of the formation of emotivist subjectivity what ends it helps achieve, suggesting that it reinforces a certain utilitarian logic that smoothes the operations of the social form of capitalism. We can consider this form of critique in more detail, examining the problems that it tends to get entangled in with respect to the legitimacy of the standpoint it presupposes as well as going on to point to some systematic blindspots it can encourage.

The post goes on to break down the problems with functionalist analysis in detail, as a stepping-stone for conceptualising a more promising alternative approach to critique: the post – and others at this site – is well worth a close reading in full. Time unfortunately doesn’t permit me to riff off this post as I’d like to do – but I thought I would at least put up a pointer, so that others could wander by and have a look.

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