Re: [OPE-L] Derrida's ghosts

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Nov 02 2005 - 13:39:36 EST

> The point Ian makes has a theoretical dimension:  insofar as postmodernism
> emphasizes the surface connections of things and rejects the idea of
> causally potent deep structures, often unobservable, then this constitutes
> a thread which can be characterized as dismissive of science.

Hi Howard:

It depends on what we're trying to comprehend, doesn't it?   The closer
one is to a subject on the 'surface', then  the more variables there are
which impact that subject.  One can't, for instance, assume that all
concrete surface phenomena are caused by "causally potent deep
structures" since there are many contingent factors which shape these
phenomena -- a point generally understood by historians,  bourgeois and
Marxist.  While not an Althusserian, I think that there is something
to be said for the concept of over-determination in this context.  (NB:
I don't think that the concept of over-determination is necessarily at
odds with Hegelian-Marxist understandings -- once one is examining
concrete and historically contingent phenomena in specific social

Surely, you wouldn't claim that an analysis of  (let's say) capitalism in
the US today can be understood by reference _only_ to class?  Race
and gender (and other causally important factors, even where their
concrete specification is tied to the historical circumstances of the
development of that social formation) are clearly explanatory variables,
aren't they?

In solidarity, Jerry

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