[Marxism] Being there and all that

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Fri Nov 28 18:00:10 MST 2003


That's not really true; Chomsky actually started out as an admirer of Quine
(which is easy enough to do; although as Richard Rorty once remarked,
Quine's politics were somewhat to the right of Ronald Reagan and a far-right
presidential campaign was considered at one point, he is a superb writer and
politics seems very much not to the point) and his extension of
Bloomfieldian attitudes is quite Quinean in its distate for semantics.

I assume you mean distaste. Yes, I pictured Quine as a Republican, but
whether or not he is correct about logic or not, is a logical inquiry. It is
always handy to have a rigorous Republican logician if you can utilise his
argument to propagate socialism, simply by drawing the logical conclusion
from it, that he omits. Personally I am interested in semantics for the
purpose of communication technique, but there is little "proof" in
semantics. What is important about Chomsky's linguistics skills is that
linguistics is a crucial dimension of ideological thought, and therefore
thorough and critical linguistic inquiry can torpedo many bad ideas. I am
not as knowledgeable about the biographies of Tarski, Frege, Carnap, Kripke
and so on. When I attended university they didn't teach about the logician
much, just about the logic, and you more or less had to find out the rest
yourself. And as people, they weren't particularly exciting to me, most of
them.

 But it may interest you
to know that UvA is currently the world leader in the second style of
research, gaining converts all the time, and although I don't like some of
their focus (for sociological reasons, actually) it's a refreshing change.

I don't have much contact with it. In my view, saying things like
"systematic thinking, or analysing systems" is problematic, is logically
equivalent to saying horses or trees are problematic, and makes just about
as much sense. Brothels often offer less nonsense, cheaper and quicker.

Oh, people talk to Peter Sellers all the time in the movie (Kozinski was not
too much because I've never felt a need to read one of his books, you see).

I must have been talking about a different movie. But you are correct, they
do talk to him. There's actually things to be learnt from that.

J.






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