quinta-feira, novembro 02, 2006


23 de Agosto, 1926 — 30 de Outubro, 2006

«... I don't think relativists are like communists, anti-relativists are like anti-communists, and that anyone (well... hardly anyone) is behaving like Senator MacCarthy. One could construct a similar parallelism using the abortion controversy. Those of us who are opposed to increased legal restrictions on abortion are not, I take it, proabortion, in the sense that we think abortion a wonderful thing and hold that the greater the abortion rate the greater the well-being of society; we are "anti anti-abortionists" for quite other reasons I need not rehearse. In this frame, the double negative simply doesn't work in the usual way: and therein lies its rhetorical atractions. It enables one to reject something without thereby commiting oneself to what it rejects. And this is precisely what I want to do with anti-relativism.»

«What the relativists, so-called, want us to worry about is provin-cialism – the danger that our perceptions will be dulled, our intellects constricted, and our sympathies narrowed by the overlearned and overvalued acceptances of our own society. What the anti-relativists, self-declared, want us to worry about, and worry about and worry about, as though our very souls depended upon it, is a kind of spiritual entropy, a heat death of the mind, in wich everything is as significant, thus as insignificant, as everything else: anything goes, to each is own, you pays your money and you takes your choice, I know what I like, not in the south, tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner.
As I have already suggested, I myself find provincialism altogether the more real concern so far as what actually goes on in the world.»

«It would seem, in short, that a number of serious adjustments in thought must occur if we, philosophers, anthropologists, historians, or whoever, are going to have something useful to say about the disassembled, or anyway disassembling, world of restless identities and uncertain connections. First, difference must be recognized, explicitly and candidly, not obscured with offhand talk about the Confucian Ethic or the Western Tradition, the Latin Sensibility of the Muslim Mind Set (...) Second, and more important, difference must be seen not as the negation of similarity, its opposite, its contrary, and its contradiction. It must be seen as comprising it, concretizing it, giving it form. The blocs being gone, and their hegemonies with them, we are facing an era of dispersed entanglements, each distinctive. What unity there is, and what identity, is going to have to be negotiated, produced out of difference.»

on Philosophical Topics, Princeton University Press, 2000.

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