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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Seminars
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1159  Friday, 18 May 2001

[1]     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 May 2001 12:59:53 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.1147 Re: Seminars

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 May 2001 14:49:48 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1133 Re: Seminars


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 May 2001 12:59:53 +0100
Subject: 12.1147 Re: Seminars
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.1147 Re: Seminars

All very curious.

I wasn't aware that I was 'having a row' with anyone.  The issue may
very well be one which concerns the way in which the term 'ethics' is
being deployed in this discussion.  I'm concerned that a term that has
crept into post-modernist discourse, and is now finding its way into
Shakespeare Studies should be properly examined.

This is, let me emphasise, not a personal matter at all (at least as far
as I am concerned).  It is academic 'business'. My resistance to it
stems from my resistance to a Kantian strain that has surfaced in
Critical Discourse that reduces the social, the political and the
cultural to the exclusively personal.  My point is that there is an
implicit politics in this discourse that require careful examination.

To all those (including my alleged victim!) who think that this is some
kind of argumentum a hominem against Sean Lawrence, could I ask you to
read these emails just a little more closely. Lawrence's 'personal
ethics' about which I know absolutely nothing, and upon which I am not
in any way qualified to pronounce are not at issue here.  The 'ethics'
of scholarly discussion, which was here all this started, are.  If we
keep this in mind then what gets discussed / dissected/ rejected /
butchered are issues not people.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 17 May 2001 14:49:48 -0700
Subject: 12.1133 Re: Seminars
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1133 Re: Seminars

John Drakakis suggests that

>Sean Lawrence is in danger of tying his ear to no tongue but his own.
>May I suggest that before he trails words like 'ideology' he takes the
>trouble to find out the way that they are used in academic debate these
>days.

Actually, I have looked a little at the broad and promiscuous ways in
which 'ideology' is used in academic debate these days.  Levinas has a
nice essay ("Ideology and Idealism") on how the concept of ideology
arises from an ethical moment which it then betrays.  By the way, may I
suggest that you familiarize yourself with the use of 'ethics' in
contemporary continental philosophy before assuming to be able to
contain it unde 'personal life'?

>I'm not quite sure whether my invocation of 'socialism' or my reference
>to a North American contributor (against whom he seems determined to
>want to distinguish himself), has pressed Sean's buttons.

Well, I usually think of myself as vaguely socialist, so it probably has
something to do with the sloppiness by which you conflate "American" in
your first response with "North American" in this one.  Apparently
you've never seen a map of this continent, or think that calling people
by the wrong nationality is not liable to cause offence.

>Frankly I'd
>prefer that he keeps his 'personal' like out of the public business of
>academic debate, since that may be of no interest to anyone but himself.

I did not decide to get personal by introducing a gratuitously offensive
comment.  Or perhaps you're just trying to change the topic from the
true subject of debate--whether an academic forum frees you from all
ethical restraints--to some tangent about what you think I should be
offended at.

>On my choice of the 'mafia' movie, I think that his argument
>demonstrates my point admirably.  Maybe if he gives some thought to the
>concept of displaced violence we might be able to have a serious debate.

Not really.  I'm not the one doing violence to anyone's nationality, or
arguing for the right to do violence since it's just "business" (another
term worth analysing--why should capitalism be a sphere in which all
which is possible is to be permitted?).  And while you're meditating on
displaced violence, you might want to look into some of Girard's work on
ethics, and specifically on how the symbolic violent can become
unnecessary.

>Finally, I urge him to give serious critical attention to the concept of
>'ethics' to which he refers.  Again, what he does in his personal life
>is none of my, or this list's concern. When an appeal to 'ethics' is
>offered as part of an ensemble of academic protocols then we are
>entitled to ask for a more substantial justification than the rather
>thin one he has offered to date.

Your effort to restrict 'ethics' to 'personal life' shows that you
clearly have no concept of the ramifications of ethics in contemporary
philosophy, or specifically its far-reaching importance in the work of
Levinas, Ricoeur, Kierkegaard, etc.

>Of course, if I have to engage in butchery, let me assure Sean, that
>it's not personal, it's business.

Rather like those death-camp commandantes who were only doing their
jobs, I suppose?

Cheers,
Se

 

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