An Anarchist Education

Disciplinary Education

It is often said that Foucault compares everything to a prison. Schools are like prisons. Hospitals are like prisons. The factory or office are prisons. But this is simply not true. We could just as easily say that prisons are like schools. Insofar as both are outgrowths on what Foucault understood as a disciplinary episteme, they are alike. The prison does not give us a form upon which other institutions are modeled. Rather, disciplinary knowledge provides the blueprint for institutions that resemble each other because they are cut from the same cloth, so to speak. So, schools are like prisons and prisons are like schools are like hospitals and so on. This is nothing new. The anarchists of the Modern School Movement understood this just as well. Continue reading “An Anarchist Education”

Transphobe and Trans

TW: Transphobic language

If a person is inclined to count people who are transgender among the most significant threats to the rights of women or children generally, and if they are proposing to eliminate this threat by depriving trans people of their rights, by excluding them from participation in spaces reserved for the gender with which they are identified, by preventing them from participating in certain socio-economic activities, and by denying them the validity of their gender identity through the refusal to recognize their testaments to their own experiences, then we claim that they have transphobic views.1 Continue reading “Transphobe and Trans”

Giving the Lie to Truth: The Rupture of Totalities in Political Life

The idiom “to give the lie” means simply to prove something false. Thus, to “give the lie to truth” could mean, simply, to prove something that is perceived or taken to be true is, in fact, false. However, the phrase is sufficiently ambiguous that it could convey the alternative meaning that truth itself, the very notion of truth, could be proven false – and this again carries a double meaning in that there may be no “truth” to speak of or, conversely, that the way in which we have heretofore conceptualized truth is faulty, and that a new concept of truth is being called for that – forgive me – would be closer to “the truth.” The phrase then, so simple and elegant at first glance, has led us into the most basic and primordial questions of philosophy and communication: what is truth, and how can I communicate whatever truth there may be? Continue reading “Giving the Lie to Truth: The Rupture of Totalities in Political Life”

The Fanciful Theories of Helen Pluckrose

I had an interesting exchange with Helen Pluckrose and several acolytes of the Sokal Squared Trinity on Twitter the other day. Pluckrose herself was largely agreeable, even given my own dismissive attitude toward her cohort’s understanding of “postmodernism” after Peter Boghossian tweeted out an endorsement of Stephen Hicks’ Postmodernism Explained. Hicks’ book is notoriously bad […]

Origins of the Continental-Analytic Divide

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/Edmund_Husserl_1910s.jpg
Edmund Husserl (1859-1938)

To understand why academic philosophy in the dubiously titled “West” is divided between the so-called “Continental” and “Analytic” traditions, it is best to start with a rather esoteric debate concerning the origin of number. It is a strange history in which such a topic introduces a wedge that so bitterly divides a discipline, but one that is worth considering for both its philosophical and sociological significance. Continue reading “Origins of the Continental-Analytic Divide”