Just Because You Don’t Make Sense, That Doesn’t Mean that Nothing Makes Sense.


Western Philosophy

Derrida’s philosophical methodology is innovative. Rather than attempting to defend his views using clear analytic arguments, he tries to “deconstruct” language. He uses words in novel ways, makes puns, breaks up words in unusual places, exploits ambiguities and traces inventive etymologies that reveal connections between words that were not obvious before. This method is known as deconstruction because it is designed to undermine presuppositions about meaning and disrupt attempts to achieve clarity through language. Some readers find his deliberate obscurity and language play frustrating. His style is closer, at times, to avant-garde poetry than to traditional philosophy. But Derrida’s work poses a challenge to widespread assumptions that is hard to ignore.

[Jesse Prinz, “Language deconstruction: Jacques Derrida,” in David Papineau, ed., Western Philosophy, (New York, NY, USA: Metro Books, 2012), 56.]

And yet, something tells me that one day people will be ignoring Derrida’s work in droves.


Jacques Derrida,
as in “Dare I Duh”


Πολιτεία του Πλάτωνα [Plato’s Republic]

THURSDAYΠολιτείαWith this post I am plunging into Plato’s (c. 424-c. 347 B.C.) classic, The Republic (c. 380 B.C.), the Greek name of which is Πολιτεία (Politeia), a word which generally refers to those things pertaining to citizenship or government, but in Plato focuses more on “civil polity, the condition or constitution of a state,” or “a form of government” (from the Liddel-Scott-Jones [LSJ] intermediate lexicon, H.G. Liddell, R. Scott, H.S. Jones and R. McKenzie, eds., An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, [Oxford, England, UK: At The Clarendon Press, 2001], 654). In Greek, Plato’s title is understood simply as “The State.” Continue reading

The Unknown

rumsfeldpiecesofintelligence150×210.jpgAs we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things we do not know.
Bur there are also unknown unknowns.
The ones we don’t know we don’t know.

February 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

—Donald Rumsfeld, as versified by Hart Seely in Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld, (New York: Free Press, 2003), 2.