24 Matching Annotations
  1. Jun 2021
    1. Engineering and the sciences have, to a greater degree, been spared this isolation and genetic drift because of crass commercial necessity.

      Or maybe rather, engineering and the sciences, have, to a greater degree, been very differently shaped due to their different connections to commercial forces.

      Critical theory invites us to step away from an idea of there being some kind of realm of pure, valid thinking/knowledge that might be corrupted/shaped by either academic structures (as Morningstar finds in critical theory), or commerce (as Morningstar finds in engineering and science), or connections to reality and instead explore how any human practice is connected to, shaped by and shaping of all those things and more.

    2. It is a cautionary lesson about the consequences of allowing a branch of academia that has been entrusted with the study of important problems to become isolated and inbred.

      Morningstar is on to something here in explaining critical theory's faults as the result of some structural, social/culture forces, but ends up misrecognizing his own insight for something that derives from intrinsic qualities of critical theory itself rather than how it participates in specific historical periods.

    3. Buried in the muck, however, are a set of important and interesting ideas: that in reading a work it is illuminating to consider the contrast between what is said and what is not said, between what is explicit and what is assumed, and that popular notions of truth and value depend to a disturbingly high degree on the reader's credulity and willingness to accept the text's own claims as to its validity.

      Morningstar steps away from his clever ridicule to finally reveal what he found valuable in his exploration of critical theory.

    4. Baudrillard

      Surprised to see Baudrillard categorized as harder? more opaque? more sophisticated? than Derrida... Someone who had read both might switch the order...

    5. he intellectual equivalent of peacock feathers

      I can't find it right now, but recently came across an example of how a different field, perhaps closer to Morningstar's, has experienced a kind of "drift", wherein a sizable portion of artificial intelligence research was characterized as being of low quality and published only due to a small "in group" colluding.

    6. Another minor point, by the way, is that we don't say that we deconstruct the text but that the text deconstructs itself. This way it looks less like we are making things up.

      One of the things critical theory does is try to understand how culture works beyond this or that individual human interaction with say, one specific text. Part of this line of thinking is that culture (a critical theorist might say "discourse") has its own patterns, histories, structures, effects, etc. This might be why Morningstar finds the idea that a text could "deconstruct itself" fantastical.

    7. being gainfully employed, I don't have to worry about graduation or tenure

      Again Morningstar shows a lack of recognition that academia (most especially in the USA) operates in a marketplace, even though he describes some of its market characteristics elsewhere.

    8. Programmers and computer scientists may find the concept of a hierarchy consisting of only two elements to be a bit odd

      So for example, if a computer program had one primary database and one replica of the primary database that copied the primary database nightly, a computer scientist wouldn't recognize that setup as a hierarchy with two elements?

    9. cheap trick

      Does Morningstar think that math too suffers from the same issues he finds in critical theory, or just Godel's incompleteness theorem (I'm assuming that's what Morningstar is alluding to)? Explore a deep discussion about whether Godel's incompleteness theorem is a cheap trick.

    10. stir up metaphysical confusion by questioning the very idea of labels and categories

      Or is questioning labels and categories a quite legitimate move given that one of the primary focuses of critical theory is to look at how labels and catetgories shape understanding?

    11. with a sufficient amount of clever handwaving and artful verbiage, you can interpret any piece of writing as a statement about anything at all

      Morningstar's big takeaway.

    12. guilty suspects

      Morningstar frames his inquiry as a crime investigation.

    13. one of the beliefs that seems to be characteristic of the postmodernist mind set is the idea that politics and cleverness are the basis for all judgments about quality or truth, regardless of the subject matter or who is making the judgment

      hmmm...this needs to be unpacked...I might start by suggesting that critical theory does indeed often explore how judgements of quality and truth are shaped by politics, power, desire, knowledge, etc, but that's not a point against such work, but rather a recognition of part of its main practice.

      Cleverness is another matter...there's quite a bit of cleverness here in Morningstar's post, so should we judge it less worthy?

    14. an isolated population with unique selective pressures resulting in evolutionary divergence from the mainland population

      I would suggest a different understanding: Much of what's happened in critical theory (especially the parts more visible to "outsiders") is deeply embedded in "mainland" contexts, including, most importantly for critical theory, being embedded in the expansion of higher education in the USA after the GI Bill and the long tradition of "pragmatic" thinking in mainstream US thought that may find its roots in Protestantism and flower in the mythic "American" "everyman".

    15. Contrast this situation with that of academia.

      Morningstar misses here how he goes on to describe exactly how academia acts as a marketplace and how academics do get paid by convincing somebody else that "what [they] are doing is worth" payment. The idea that academia is not participating in market-based dynamics seems like just the old "ivory tower" myth.

    16. in order to remain employed I have to convince somebody else that what I'm doing is worth having them pay for it

      hmmm...so projects that participate in the marketplace are inherently...what? this needs to be thought through...see below where Morningstar returns to this point and suggests the answer is something like "more tied to reality".

    17. require precise language in order to talk about it clearly

      This is a key point: Complex, unobvious topics can not always be talked about in simple, plain language anyone can understand. There are texts that needlessly obfuscate and maybe something easier to understand can be said about almost anything by way of an introduction or at least to explain "why it matters", but critical theory at its core is pretty deep work, resting on a lot of other material (eg, philosophy), and exploring areas that a lot of folks aren't deeply acquainted with. The fact that much critical theory is not easy of a newcomer to understand is not proof that it is bogus.

    18. On Deconstruction by Jonathan Culler

      I wouldn't recommend Culler's worthy book as a primer — it's more like an advanced read. One might actually do far better just reading wikipedia entries on a few critical theorists and theories, or maybe a book like Terry Eagleton's Literary Theory, which I might not agree with in places but can be an approachable starting place for someone new to critical theory.

    19. I figured that one of three cases must apply. It could be that there was truly some content there of value, once you learned the lingo. If this was the case, then I wanted to know what it was. On the other hand, perhaps there was actually content there but it was bogus (my working hypothesis), in which case I wanted to be able to respond to it credibly. On the third hand, maybe there was no content there after all, in which case I wanted to be able to write these clowns off without feeling guilty that I hadn't given them due consideration.

      These seem like the three most common uninformed opinions about critical theory, with maybe the middle being most commonly held, though perhaps in close competition with the third, but with most adherents unwilling to undertake Morningstar's due diligence and so just jump directly to writing it all off as the bogus work of clowns.

  2. Mar 2021
    1. n emphasis is placed on the ability to‘actively listen’ on a one-to-one basis using Nelson-Jones’s (2010) ten skills of activelistening and also group facilitation (Benson, 2010).

      theme for deconstruction sheet - sinead's class on active listening

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  3. Jan 2021
    1. L’apparition des nouvelles technologies a conforté cette mise à distance/relativisation de l’information médicale donnée par le médecin. Les patients sont aujourd’hui plus (mieux ?) informés, via internet et notamment les forums de discussion qui favorisent un échange asynchrone, des « conversations discontinues » (Marcoccia, 2003) sur des thématiques définies et cadrées où chacun peut être à son tour éditeur, lecteur, « modérateur », et où « la mise en scène de soi et l’interprétation de la conduite de l’autre pren­nent […] des formes spécifiques, qui utilisent les ressources du contexte : l’écrit électronique, le multimédia, les manières de se comporter dans l’espace du forum, la maîtrise technique du me­dium, la familiarité avec les règles de conduite locales… » (Beaudouin, Velkovska, 1999 : 145). Si les forums sont des espaces privilégiés de circulation de l’« information de santé1 », ils induisent une « scénographie particulière » (Monte et Oger, 2015 : 6) qui contribue fortement à la (dé)construction de l’autorité et forment ainsi des espaces où peuvent être discutés les figures de l’autorité médicale.

      De mon point de vue et gardant à l'esprit notre but d'analyser si le web favorise ou non le discours d'autorité, il est essentiel de porter l'attention sur deux caractéristiques de la communication dans le web: la grande diversification des sources d'information et le changement d'attitude des individu vis à vis de ces sources. Bien évidemment, l'enseignement en ligne est de plus en plus répandu (c.f. article précédent), mais ainsi le sont les plateformes qui donnent accès et qui permettent de partager toute sorte d'information, quiconque en soit l'auteur. L'article ci-présenté analyse les nouvelles pratiques de légitimation de l'information médicale dans les forums de discussion. L'article illustre clairement un phénomène apparu avec la diffusion et la démocratisation de l'accès au web: les participants assument une posture active dans le processus de production et de légitimation de l'information. Avant la diffusion du web, la production et la transmission de l'information étaient l'apanage presque exclusif de l'autorité médicale institutionnellement reconnue. Aujourd'hui, selon les auteurs, "nous assistons à une déconstruction" de l'autorité": la multiplication des sources d'information ainsi que le changement d'attitude entrepris par le participants aux forums, démontrent une tendance à vouloir (et pouvoir) complémenter et parfois contredire les experts institutionnellement reconnus et "voix" du discours d'autorité. Nous pouvons alors affirmer que les nouvelles formes de diffusion de l'information émergées dans le web ne favorisent pas et, au contraire, fragilisent le discours d'autorité.

  4. Apr 2019
    1. As with justice and the law what becomes crucial within this conception of self and identity is the willingness to deconstruct or interpet. Damaging essentialization based on shoring-up (sure-ing up?) well worn binaries such as real/virtual, authentic/fake falls away as the ‘work’ of identity becomes interpretation, questioning and negotiation.

      Thinking of identity as contextual, interpretive, work-in-process, instead of as a static output, seems really positive and potentially integrative.

  5. Mar 2017
    1. Deconstruction cannot be re-stricted or immediately pass to a neutralization:

      Alright, so a rejection of a nihilistic rejection of meaning, but at the same time, I'm not sure I'm so following his point on how to achieve that.

      My guess: like with the signature example, just because we don't have a master-reference doesn't mean we can't make pragmatic associations, but it does mean we can't assume there exists a master-reference, and any system that assumes it (e.g. Sheridan's "correct" enunciations, Blair's belief in naturally-inclined taste) is inherently leading to failure. Deconstruction breaks down those structures... but I'm still lost as to what comes next. Bail me out, here.

    1. hypostasis, literally, a standing under: hence anything set under, such as stand, base, bottom, prop, support, stay; hence metaphorically, that which lies at the bottom of a thing, as the groundwork, subject matter, argu-ment of a narrative, speech, poem

      All this talk of grounding is going to be really important when we get to Derrida and deconstruction. Burke seems to believe in the grounding, the scene, but it's often mutable, unstable, and ambiguous. Derrida's just gonna drop the bottom out and see how it falls.