Friday, July 25, 2014

Reflections on the Writings of Academics

Mostly, this has been prompted by the fact that I'm reading a number of philosophers, along with several authors/literary critics. Some, such as Umberto Eco, are both. I thought it would be fun to take some of the academic language and change it into more colloquial phrasing, trying as best I can to preserve nuances. Now, since this has been for research regarding the ethical implications and ethical assessment of art, the variety in subject matters is going to be a little low.
Anyway, without further ado:

Umberto Eco: "many modern theories are unable to recognize that symbols are paradigmatically, that is, textually, open only to the indefinite, but by no means infinite, interpretations allowed by the context."

Translation: "modern theories of literature ignore the fact that, while a given written work can say multiple different things, it can't say anything."

Richard W. Miller: "there is always a possible rational dissenter from our moral judgment who would disagree in response to our evidence, indeed all the evidence that there might be."

Translation: "There will always be someone who can disagree with any moral claim you want to make, and be justified in doing so."

Noel Carroll: "inasmuch as the autonomist argues that art is essentially independent of morality and politics, the autonomist goes on to contend that aesthetic value is independent of the sorts of consequentialist considerations that Plato and his followers raise."

Translation: "in arguing that art exists only for its own sake and isn't tied to morality/politics, people seek to avoid arguments (such as those by Plato) that art which causes dangerous effects should be banned/restricted."

And, my personal favorite in this:

Pierre Bourdieu: "all religious theologies and all political theocracies have taken advantage of the fact that the generative capacities of language can surpass the limits of intuition or empirical verification and produce statements that are formally impeccable but semantically empty."

Translation: "Religious and political organizations like to say things which, while grammatically correct and coherent, mean fuck all."


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