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Oppression, Masculine Power, Duality, & Kant

July 29, 2009

This post is strongly related to this post and its comments. I have decided to present the ideas in this post as a series, incorporating the ideas presented in reader comments as I go along.
Discounting the entire critical theory movement as antiquated in a few sentences does not earn a great deal of credibility. I agree that are many aspects of Focault and Derrida’s work that may be criticized, but a general pass of them is unconvincing to me.

The Gaze in general denies agency. In my reading of your comment, I have inferred judgments about you, made decisions. I now see you only through this lens. This should be of no import to you unless I am positioned to exert power over you to force my lens, my Gaze upon you. If you extend this to the wider societal level, the power of the Gaze becomes apparent. A man may use the power invested in him by patriarchal society to exert his Gaze on a woman. Though not exclusively, this is often done through the Body, a complex subject that has frustrated explanation since Descartes.

I imagine this is deeply frustrating to some readers, even unfathomable. The Gaze is certainly immaterial, just a framework for understanding the rage I feel as I walk through my city and hear the calls of “Nice tits sweetheart!” I would not argue this. That said, these frameworks are my only possible way to comprehend. Immanuel Kant, favorite philosopher of one of our frequent commenters, holds the same philosophy of mind.

One Comment
  1. Erik permalink
    July 30, 2009 4:09 pm

    There was a time when I found this kind of philosophical discourse interesting and even illuminating. However, that time, for me, has passed. Hence my general dismissal. You are welcome to think of it as a cop-out. I’m not about to write a thesis here on my views on philosophy in general.

    One of my philosophy professors, a certain Kitcher, once asked me why I had Wittgenstein’s portrait taped to my notebook. ‘Because I think, above all others, he got the closest,’ I said. ‘Funny,’ Kitcher responded, ‘I tend to think he said nothing at all.’

    I think our two positions probably boil down to something close to that.

    So carry on, ye discourse on all things esoteric and confused. I will leave you with some of my favorite and some of the most beautiful lines from the Western philosophical cannon:

    6.522 There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.

    6.53 The correct method in philosophy would really be the following: to say nothing except what can be said, i.e. propositions of natural science—i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy—and then, whenever someone else wanted to say something metaphysical, to demonstrate to him that he had failed to give a meaning to certain signs in his propositions. Although it would not be satisfying to the other person—he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy—this method would be the only strictly correct one.

    6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must transcend these propositions, and then he will see the world aright.

    7. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.

    (Wittgenstein, Tractatus…propositions 6.522-7. Written, btw for all you non-philosophy folks, in the trenches of WWI.)

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