Author Topic: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)  (Read 5301 times)

Retinend

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Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #60 on: March 19, 2021, 02:27:20 PM »
To be honest with you I never considered that Sartre (who I didn't even realize had a "bad rep" these days) could be wrong about his own sympathy with Kierkegaard. I basically regard them in the same, very high, esteem.   Given what you wrote about the opinions of certain Kierkegaard scholars, would you go so far as to call him a "pseudo-philosopher"?

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #61 on: March 19, 2021, 02:38:46 PM »
I think a lot of people regard Sartre as a pseudo-philosopher or a writer of literature who wrote philosophy as a form of literature. I don't share this view, it usually goes together with the total dismissal of his work after the early 1960s and anglo-american panic about the popularity of French marxism. But I've changed my mind a lot about Sartre back and forth over the years.

I don't think its a question of right or wrong, but how coherent we're being when we categorise things. Grouping philosophical work together isn't the same as grouping literary genres together, when we're grouping things by genre the most important thing is whether we're being coherent about what people understand by a certain genre - like 'murder mysteries' is simply fiction that we all agree to call 'murder mysteries' even though there are some without murders and some without any mystery, since Columbo is a murder mystery programme and trying to argue that it isnt would make you sound like Mr Logic. But when we're claiming a certain philosophical school or category exists, that claim isn't that we're coherent in whether we agree about what belongs to what genre, but whether the category itself has an internal coherence and we know what future work in that area would be like.

To my mind, existentialism as Sartre used it fails to do this, he is not really describing something that maintains its own interior logic and semantic coherence as his position within it changes - I think its more like he's being polemical by speaking from his own position as if it was an already established school of thought. By comparison when he speaks about Marxism and phenomenology, there is no denying that both of those things are autonomous, coherent kinds of philosophical thinking that exist whether or not Sartre wills them into existence by grouping certain pieces of vocabulary together. Their terminology and jargon is clear and has a meaning that persists between different works and writers, but with existentialism the vocabulary is "angoisse", "mauvaise foi", "tombé", etc. which are not semantically consistent exterior to how Sartre used them, and they have not really gone on to gain consistent meanings, as they're still mostly exclusive to Sartre and a very close inner circle that dissipated rapidly in the 1960s. Compare to Heidegger, whose affected terminology of zuhandenheit, dasein, in-der-welt-sein, etc. is used consistently by very many people in literature, theology, cognitive science, etc. despite him being the wildly known example of a philosopher using a purposefully opaque personal vocabulary to communicate otherwise simple ideas.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2021, 02:50:41 PM by Video Game Fan 2000 »

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Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #62 on: March 19, 2021, 03:04:04 PM »
I think I know what you mean. Literary-philosophical figures like Voltaire and Sartre don't really fit into the philosophical legacy that descended from the scientific tradition (e.g. Descartes was a mathematician, Kant was a physicist and Russell a logician), but they had so much influence and reputation as "wise men" that they are presumed to have had a more more systematized view of how the world works than they actually did. If you ask me, the French are culturally prone to this, since their word "philosophe" doesn't distinguish between systemizing philosophers and those who write more discursively. That all said, is Kierkegaard really less discursive than Sartre/ more systematizing than Sartre? I still see them as peas in a pod.

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #63 on: March 19, 2021, 03:13:51 PM »
In France, when you see flyposters advertising healing crystals and traditional 'oriental' medicine they often describe what they're hawking as philosophie.

You're right that there is more of a literary tradition in France amongst philosophers, or at least one which survived the analytical crunch of positivism and marxism. But its not often understood quite how far that extends not to just philosophical writing which tries to have both philosophical and stylistic value, but actual reading itself - the best of french thinking regards reading and teaching as a creative process or an art all to itself. I see Sartre's relationship to Kierkegaard (and Nietzsche maybe) definitely as part of this disposition, whereas his Hegel/Marx is as dry as a bone.

That all said, is Kierkegaard really less discursive than Sartre/ more systematizing than Sartre? I still see them as peas in a pod.

Kierkegaard is the opposite of a systematic thinker. He wanted to be a modern Socrates. All the pseudonyms work to virtually guarantee that no consistent view or ideology is being presented, its all broken up.

This is the first clue in what Sartre is doing: he is being creative by treating Kierkegaard as a coherent, systematic thinker of existential indecision. Kierkegaard is no such thing and Sartre would not have read him as such. But it is worthwhile to read Kierkegaard that way, and imagine that the different works (Anxiety/Fear and Trembling/EitherOr) all present a consistent "existential" philosophy. I think this is a brilliant thing to have done, Sartre accomplishes what he needed to do, but it is not the same as there being a coherent philosophical system called existentialism common to Kierkegaard, Heidegger and Sartre.

See also Deleuze's book on Spinoza which starts off by talking about Nietzsche and devotes a whole chapter to Spinozan terminology being given new metaphysical definitions.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2021, 03:25:22 PM by Video Game Fan 2000 »

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Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #64 on: March 19, 2021, 07:39:50 PM »
I have no idea how to read Deleuze, despite repeated lecturer's attempts. I often find responses to him and the people he influenced fascinating, but Deleuze/Guattari I always found utterly impenetrable. How does one Deleuze?

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Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #65 on: March 19, 2021, 07:49:32 PM »
I have no idea how to read Deleuze, despite repeated lecturer's attempts. I often find responses to him and the people he influenced fascinating, but Deleuze/Guattari I always found utterly impenetrable. How does one Deleuze?

i think his commentaries on Nietzsche/Spinoza are a good start for understanding his logic and get acquainted with his style (also his lectures, which are quite easy to follow, although i dunno if they've been translated in english yet). then Logic of Sense and What is Philosophy? (the other 'big books' are pretty difficult to read).


i seem to remember a late Sartre interview where he says that he had never really cared that much about Kierkegaard, the whole anguish stuff just being somewhat fashionable at the time. make of that what you will.

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #66 on: March 19, 2021, 09:34:02 PM »
i think his commentaries on Nietzsche/Spinoza are a good start for understanding his logic and get acquainted with his style

Hard agree. His shorter books (Nietzsche, Spinoza, Proust, Bergson, Sacher-Masoch...) are often both his most intricate and easiest to read, along with essays like "Desert Islands", and they lead into his best 'big book' Difference and Repetition. I'm a lot less interested in the stuff after Logic of Sense and Spinoza, and tbh some of the translations are pretty bad.

Wouldn't bother with What is Philosophy? at all, just watch the Abcedaire and cringe when he starts getting his tinfoil hat on about not being able to trust newspapers and everything being under control these days. I guess they must have cut the parts when he tries hawk Force Cérébrale Plus pills and Vitalité Masculine. He should have just spoken about Benny Hill instead.

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #67 on: March 19, 2021, 09:41:13 PM »
He peaked when he said that after reading the description of Friday in Robinson Crusoe as a docile slave who is always willing to work for no reason "any sane reader would dream of seeing him eat Robinson"

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Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #68 on: March 19, 2021, 09:46:04 PM »
i haven't watched l'Abécédaire since I was a teenager so I guess I'd would find some stuff in there pretty cringey now but but I still think it's worth a watch when you want to get interested in philosophy

Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #69 on: March 19, 2021, 09:51:05 PM »
l'Abécédaire is a great watch. Love him manically giggling with disdain about travel writers who say they were "looking for a father figure" , going full R Beef Kazansakis whenever he catches an Oedipe in the wild.



But by that point poststructuralism/postmodernism was a duck dead for sure.

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Re: Which writers are pseuds? (Was Camus a pseud?)
« Reply #70 on: March 21, 2021, 10:59:28 AM »
The more I think about it, the more I think Guattari was a bad influence on Deleuze; those books are interesting but they lack the clarity and cutting edge of his earlier stuff.

Hard agree. His shorter books (Nietzsche, Spinoza, Proust, Bergson, Sacher-Masoch...) are often both his most intricate and easiest to read, along with essays like "Desert Islands", and they lead into his best 'big book' Difference and Repetition. I'm a lot less interested in the stuff after Logic of Sense and Spinoza, and tbh some of the translations are pretty bad.

Wouldn't bother with What is Philosophy? at all, just watch the Abcedaire and cringe when he starts getting his tinfoil hat on about not being able to trust newspapers and everything being under control these days. I guess they must have cut the parts when he tries hawk Force Cérébrale Plus pills and Vitalité Masculine. He should have just spoken about Benny Hill instead.

Agree with this too, and I think it accounts for my earlier point.

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