Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Shaviro on Birbeck: "what happened to political economy?"

Derridata, in case you're still putting together a response to Mark Fisher, thought I'd mention this assessment of the conference by Steve Shaviro (not sure if you've already read it). This is one of those times when I find myself really enjoying Shaviro's work, as he proves again that he is one of those rare persons who knows the work of contemporary Continental philosophers really well, without needing to always throw in his lot with them (unlike the hermetic exegesis one often finds in the Continental blogosphere), letalone the positivism Fisher tried to identify as an inadequate alternative.

Reading Shaviro's report, it struck me that Badiou must really be digging himself into a hole when Ken Wark can call him out on a critical point, and sound convincing too!!! Kudos to Shaviro for such a balanced report of this event, and it's always refreshing too to see a bit of doubt expressed about Zizek. I still haven't recovered from that Eurocentric garbage Zizek wrote a few years back claiming that Taoism and Buddhism are emerging as the dominant ideologies of "virtual capitalism". Adopting his usual slapdash approach, which in this instance involved some off the cuff remarks about Star Wars, no appeal was made to any evidence taken from actual Buddhist scriptures or literature such as Amata (the subject of one of my previous posts). Therefore no rational person could read that book, or study the Thai public discourse surrounding it, and conclude [with Zizek] that Buddhist ethics merely encourages a withdrawal into the self as an escape from material reality. Anyone wanting to understand cultural exchanges between East and West, would be better served by studying civilizational complexes (Shmuel N. Eisenstadt), Robert Bellah, "multiple modernities", Aihwa Ong, please anything really, other than Zizek....

This reference to Zizek reminds me of the felicity of the phrase Shaviro uses in a critical manner, "voluntarism". The danger here of course is that voluntarism cannot be corroborated, or "grounded", if you prefer, with the result that philosophy merely becomes a self legislating activity. So once again this conference provides much evidence of the "noosphere" tendencies I have earlier remarked upon on this blog, albeit presented in the guise of "radicalism".

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