On Judging and not reading

Carrol Cox cbcox at SPAMilstu.edu
Sat Aug 28 09:40:11 MDT 1999

Xxxzx Xyyxyz wrote:

> >rather than slapping their hands over their eyes and

Whoever wrote this should be condemned to an eternity of trying
to read the collected Shakespearean criticism of the 20th century.

It is physically impossible,  even for someone who does nothing
but read, to read a signifcant proportion of everything she/he
should read. Uneasy awareness of this fact began to penetrate
the European consciousness as early as the latter part of the
17th century. One could write a pretty good history of English
literature in terms of authors' attempts to tiptoe around the

Those who make statements such as that quoted above are
either liars or braindead. They must know that they have
failed to read an enormous amount of material that they
nevertheless reject as false.

The Vienna School of logical positivism? Have you read it

Mencius? At least 5000 pages of scholarship on his ideas?

Several hundred thousand pages of scholarship on Plato?

Collected Works of Plato? (Don't say yes unless you have
reread them many times in addition to reading a large
amount of commentary. Whitehead said the history of
western philosophy  was a series of footnotes to Plato.

Count Alfred Korzybski, *Science and Sanity*

Collected works of Kenneth Burke -- a really profound
thinker and you can't understand what is called postmodernism
without a detailed familiarity with Burke's work.

At least a thousand pages of commentary on Spinoza?

Collected works of Bertrand Russell? A few thousand pages
of commentary on his work.

Surely people who make the claim above have read *Capital*
(all 4 volumes including *Theories of Surplus Value*) at least
once every three years for the last 30 years.

Western thought for the last two cenuries has been a series of
"Returns to Kant," so surely all defenders of learning on this
list are intimately familiar with Kant and with all the major
commentators on him.

And of course the list above is thoroughly Eurocentric except
for Mencius. Surely everyone on this list has read and reread
both the collected works of Nkrumah (sp?) and at least a
dozen books on him so they can fairly judge whether he
constitutes a key part of 20th century thought (as some claim)
or was a complete fake (as others claim).

How many have read the collected works of Hoxha? (If you
haven't, make sure you are not one of those who dismiss him
as a criminal stalinist? How do you know?) Possibly the
secret of human emancipation is hidden in one of thse
Hoxha essays you haven't read.

How many have read 2 or 3 thousand pages giving the
defense case for Pol Pot?


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