Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Wolin, Richard. "America's Tolerance for French Radicalism." CHRONICLE REVIEW June 13, 2008.
French theory's 'antifoundationalism' jibes surprisingly well with the precepts of American pluralism. Both traditions are deeply wary of metaphysical absolutes and high-flown theoretical speculation. Liberalism can be frustratingly nonprescriptive: It democratically allows everyone the luxury of having his or her own opinion. Deconstruction — which, under Derrida's stewardship, embraced the confusions of "undecidability" instead of taking a firm position — similarly ended up in a state of self-canceling judgmental paralysis. Little wonder, then, that on this side of the Atlantic, poststructuralism has frequently been assimilated with the tepid and stolidly reformist orientation of American pragmatism. . . . Read the rest here: http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?id=ww474bgn53kn7fv2g17ytbnzwr2rxhpt.