Re: if -- And

On Tue, 3 Jul 2001, Patrick Crosby wrote:
> Come on dude, this is all a bunch of bullcrap and you know it. Plato's
> texts, like all texts, stand on their own. Your claim "to have known
> Plato the person" is laughable.

i believe that we can read texts "as if" they stand on their own, but even
then they come with baggage. such as our own cultural context, our own
interests, our own training. otherwise, a literate 6th grader could read
foucault or kant or debeauvoir and get the same thing from it as a person
who studies philosophy for a living.

reading is interpretive.
interpretation takes place in a context.

maybe knowing more about the context of gay politics in the u.s. and
france, of aids, of sadomasochism, or the stigma, of the pride, etc would
help one understand why foucault was so interested in truth/power. perhaps
when one feels constrained by "truths" (ie. it's morally wrong to be gay,
it's a reason to be persecuted, it is/was a psychiatric disorder, etc) one
has to ask why they have so much power, what makes that possible. how
power circulates in society. and then one applies that thought more
generally. say, to sexuality, to prisons, etc.

hell, why did franz fanon write about "the wretched of the earth"?
"black skins, white masks"?maybe his personal experiences informed his
method, thought, tactics, in some way? perhaps?

i don't understand how a person could think that knowing a person's
biographical experiences wouldn't inform a reading of their work. it may
not provide "The One True" reading, but it would inform that reading.


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