3 MORE TRAITS (12,13, 14) OF CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY: Alterity, Pluralist Dialectics, and Transformations of the Subject


I have been using the Chomsky/Zizek divide as a catalyst for a more general discussion.

Chomsky and Zizek are involved in a battle over the criterion of truth (and thus over the criterion of ideology). Chomsky’s ideal is monist: differences of opinion are possible, but research must converge towards the one true point of view, the synthesis of all the cumulative contributions to the truth. This is why common sense (as expressed by the figure of the twelve year old child, cannot be radically revised, but only augmented and improved on here and there, piecemeal. Zizek is ready to embrace much more alterity than this, not just in the content of thought, but in its very conduct. Chomsky’s 12-year-old is an Alice who never went to Wonderland, and who would have freaked out if she did: too much alterity to handle. Douglas Lain’s daughter Emma has been to Wonderland and…

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