Wednesday, March 30, 2016

De Man
Avoiding Responsibility

Paul de Man

The late Paul de Man was one of the most influential Postmodernists.1 Paul de Man was born in and lived his early life in Belgium after World War II he moved to the USA where he taught at Yale University. Paul de Man's writing were rather turgid and difficult but beneath the verbiage we sometimes find stuff that is unintentionally revealing, such has this passage:
Yet without this moment, never allowed to exist as such, no such thing as a text is conceivable. We know this to be the case from empirical experience as well: it is always possible to face up to any experience (to excuse any guilt), because the experience always exists simultaneously as fictional discourse and as empirical event and it is never possible to decide which one of the two possibilities is the right one. The indecision makes it possible to excuse the bleakest of crimes because, as a fiction, it escapes from the constraints of guilt and innocence. On the other hand, it makes it equally possible to accuse fiction-making which, in Holderlin's words, is "the most innocent of all activities," of being the most cruel. The knowledge of radical innocence also performs the harshest mutilations. Excuses not only accuse but they carry out the verdict implicit in their accusation.2

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Causes of the
American Civil War
A Brief Note

Image of Battle From the American Civil War

Debates about the causes of the American Civil War have been going on since it was over and have not died down since it was over because sadly the causes of the American Civil War are not just past history they are also contemporary history and concerns.

In the USA the past in terms of the Civil War resonates even now with the whole witches brew of contemporary issues; most especially those related to the issue of race.1

The result is that the causes of the American Civil War cannot be discussed without impinging on contemporary reality. However in many respects this is very much a post Civil War creation because before and at the time the Civil War was being fought there was little debate about the causes of the conflict.