The infamous Doctor Power shamelessly calls for the destruction of all that is holy. Tremble, good hearts, and pray.

Continental Philosophy in Britain, both in its turgid, nepotistic, insanely conservative academic form and its concomitant fan-boy-looking-for-a-new-master-oh-boo-hoo-now-it’s-too-popular-I-don’t-like-this-band-any-more forms are to be derided, dismissed and disregarded. (…) I am (or was) deeply committed to philosophy for lots of reasons – I think complex ideas can and should be clearly explained both to students and to whoever is interested beyond the walls of academia; I think there should be more women in philosophy which is a cock-fest of hideous, socially maladjusted proportions; finally, I’m really, really good at teaching Hegel, Kant and any other European philosopher you could care to mention. Nevertheless: Enough is enough. I am tired of conservatism masquerading as ‘serious’ intellectual research, I am tired of sexism, especially the ironic kind, and I am sick of hanging around boys and men who think that philosophy is some sort of ego-supplement. You lack wit! All of you! (Via.)


But this is the problem really, this fetish for the special, for the b(r)and, the name, be it for music or a philosopher. If you start off by thinking that the only way to think is by becoming a follower of x, of course you’re going to think that ‘betrayal’ is the ‘highest value of our times’ if a writer you once admired puts out a book you don’t like (I’m not sure this conversation is even about books, though). But this isn’t a problem simply restricted to the blogosphere, although it certainly gets speeded up by it.

The entire structure of the way philosophy is taught and fetishised in the UK is rotten. ‘Continentals’ are doomed to become followers of great masters (usually French, mostly dead). Endless introductions and translations are churned out, relentless secondary texts worry over a footnote for five years. No one produces anything of their own, crippled by their own internalised sense of Brit-empiricism. Plus, no one will publish it – if it aint got a proper name on the cover, it just won’t sell (and think of the undergraduate market! We need more textbooks! A fifteenth introduction to Deleuze!) ‘Analytics’ have their own pathologies too, of course, shoring up their narrowness with snorts of derision if you suggest anyone beyond Dover (honorary Brit L. Wittgenstein excepted of course) might have had something interesting to say about epistemology, or art, or science, or anything really. Often the practice of narrowly delineating a concept plays the same role as the proper name does for ‘continentals’, a kind of territory to be endlessly padded around, warding off rogue waves of culture, history and politics that threaten to make relevant whatever 2inch² patch of thought is being boringly yet arrogantly demarcated.

Can we break with the tyranny of the name? The dead-weight of the daddy-philosopher-become-pariah-the-moment-he-gets-something-wrong? And, on the other side, the snippy narrowness, the hostility to reading the history of philosophy, or other traditions (if someone said I should read Quine if I was interested in a particular idea, I would do it; if I suggest Benjamin or Bachelard might be of interest to you, do me the courtesy of not dismissing them a priori as ‘nonsense’).

If we are interested in an idea, or many ideas at once, can we simply pursue these interests (whilst acknowledging what it means to do so) without becoming petty about it? Without reducing it to a choice (which is no choice at all) between top trumps or private property… (Via.)