On the 10th and last installment in the series The Power of Thought (on epistemology and logic), I have nothing to say.

When dealing with reduction to form, such as we find it in syllogistic logic, the discourse takes care of itself. And that is a beautiful process already – in and of itself. As such, it needs no addition and no comment – if it’s fully successful. What remains is the thought that the imagination is more restless than the materiality of language and articulation, body and form. (This reminds me of a great poet, Lyn Hejinian, who said: “restlessness is a form of doubt as well as a form of curiosity” My Life). If one articulates anything at all, however, one’s opinion is bound to take the form of a discursive dilemma: keep talking, keep it simple, or keep quiet. My all time favorite logicians – besides my mother – the two 17th century Jansenists at the Port-Royal Abbey, Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole, have already thematized the problem with embellishing:

“To be opinionated is very bad for two reasons. First, whoever has convinced himself that he already knows cannot learn. Second, recklessness itself reveals a mind which is not well disposed […] This is why all the philosophers maintained: Sapientem nihil opinari” (35). [A wise person has no opinion.] – ([Ut si!])

So, on to dilemmas – especially the invalid ones. Say the Jansenists, pointing out the fallacies in the following: (at this point, read their book if you want to laugh more, rather than say more).

"If one acts well, one will offend people, which is unfortunate.
If one acts badly, one will offend the gods, which is also unfortunate.
Therefore it is unfortunate in both cases to get involved in the affairs of the Republic." (Logic or The Art of Thinking, 180)

So, I say nothing, act nothing, and interfere with nothing. But I’ll demand something instead, which is different. If there is a sequel, in another time and day, Vincent F. Hendricks MUST invite 10 women on the show who SHALL talk about this top 10 list:

The philosophy of sexuality
The philosophy of language
The philosophy of madness
The philosophy of action
The philosophy of AI
The philosophy of the event
The philosophy of culture
The philosophy of writing
The philosophy of death
The philosophy of infinity

So, now that nothing has been said, there is some space for a gesture – of gratitude.
Thanks for great fun to Vincent and my fan club. The latter has been following my rantings with faithful regularity. I enjoyed all the comments both on and off the record, publicly and privately disclosed, in places likely and unlikely. I’ll stop spamming your emails with links – heeding the fragmentological.
– and of eloquence.

“Only fragments are accurate”. (Lyn Hejinian, My Life)

“Book Ends” (Tony Harrison, The School of Eloquence, read on or

"Baked the day she suddenly dropped dead
we chew it slowly that last apple pie.

Shocked into sleeplessness you're scared of bed.
We never could talk much, and now don't try.

You're like book ends, the pair of you, she'd say,
Hog that grate, say nothing, sit, sleep, stare…

The 'scholar' me, you, worn out on poor pay,
only our silence made us seem a pair.

Not as good for staring in, blue gas,
too regular each bud, each yellow spike.

A night you need my company to pass
and she not here to tell us we're alike!

You're life's all shattered into smithereens.

Back in our silences and sullen looks,
for all the Scotch we drink, what's still between 's
not the thirty or so years, but books, books, books."

QED (Camelia Elias)


Anonymous said…
brilliant and ...speachless
Bent said…
Saying nothing sure is a very telling move...

Let's hear what Tacitus has to say to Beecher's 'Eloquence is logic on fire':

"It is of eloquence as of a flame; it requires matter to feed it, and motion to excite it; and it brightens as it burns."

I say that there wasn't quite enough matter in this instalment of Hendricks' talk-show, and the motion of guest star Stjernfeldt's discourse was like watching a snail trying to break the speed of sound...
Ah, the last one! You make it sound so final. You've always had such dramatic flair for finality. Get rid of it. And start writing that book on all those subjects you mention would be interesting to hear some more about. Don't fuss. Don't philosophize. And for God's sake, don't close any books!

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