Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The blog's first pole

Struggles with philosophy has decided to create a recurrent pole.

The first topic is the who is the greatest french philosopher/thinker of the 20th century. Please don't be offended if your one is not there, i have tried to include what i view as the main philosophers. However, as with all polls of this nature some people are (unfairly) excluded: Maurice Merleau-Ponty; Marcel Mauss; Claude Levi-Strauss; Jean Baudrillard; Jean-Francois Lyotard, Henri Bergson...

the next pole will be on the greatest philosophy to come from the Frankfurt school tradition.

On another point, I had noticed the comment settings were set to only authorised members only, so sorry if anyone has been trying to comment over the last few weeks. It should be working now.


joe said...

It's gotta be Deleuze. The others, except maybe for Althusser and Derrida, don't even come close. Irigaray, Sartre, Lacan, Foucault are all interesting in their own ways of course. But they are each in some ways compromised -- only Deleuze is 21st century... Sartre remains a subversive influence. But like Lacan, his texts are so anxious, always so many texts at once trying to converge without center and thus unfolding, tracing so many grand ellipses across a blank universe... Whereas Deleuze is kaleidoscopic color, exploding in a daybreak of intensities, constructing intricate matrices and gradients across surfaces, through bodies, in the gap of time between separated spaces.

Deleuze is the best because he IS the century: he has a philosophy of speed, the question always about different vectors of acceleration, about how the machine works and not what it means, what it produces and allows to be produced, and how to trace vagrant lines of flight...

The Brooks Blog said...

No box for "none of the above"...? ;0)

Ok. So I don't think highly of 20th Century French philosophy. I am a bit surprised that you left out Simone de Beauvoir (a far better philosopher than Irigaray and more influential to boot).

I am most especially surprised that you left out Paul Ricoeur. Now he is someone who made a real mark and I would think far better than Althusser, Deleuze, and at least Lacan.

Taylor Adkins said...

Hey nice poll! I had to choose Deleuze, like my friend Joe. Paul Ricoeur is definitely a major thinker in his own right, but, aside from his Time and Narrative, I find him too much involved in the hermeneutical project (a question of philosophical taste, I suppose). I'm glad to hear you're working on your PhD (on Deleuze and Foucault?) I saw you had a link to our site at fractal ontology, and I just wanted to let you know that we'll be adding you to our blogroll. I'd love to get the chance to talk to you about French philosophy at any time, so keep in touch.

Mark202 said...

Once the voting is closed I'll write a post trying to defend my choices. I'll also make sure I have an 'other' option to allow people to indicate their preferences are beyond the available choices.

Taylor, my PhD is actually on the Caribbean, which partly constructs a Deleuzian ontology using his (and Guattari's) 'machinic thought.'

I somehow ended up interested in french philosophy through reading (neo)Gramsci International Relations theory. At present I am reading through Hallward's critique of Deleuze (Out of this World) and his introductionary book on Alain Badiou. Both are excellent, even if Hallward fails to see the practical philosophy of Deleuze, which is evident in the work of Manuel DeLanda and others.

I'd be happy to discuss french philosophy. You should be able to find my email in my profile, or you can leave comments on the blog.

fastfuture said...

A 'pole' of the canon! How cheeky!
I am really enjoying your blog as another struggling with some difficult texts.

As much as I admire all of the thinkers you have listed, I am not sure I understand an attempt to rate them. I guess this is the good-derridian in me taking issue with the framing of the question, but under what criteria is 'greatness' judged; the 'great man' rubric, for example would be problematic to say the least - the idea of autonomy, for one, fails to take into account the costs of the production of that labour - ie. no one is an island.

I have always read Foucault's declaration of the author's death to mean that determining one's greatness would be more a function of determining the historical, social and material conditions and discourses which provoked and produced their thought.