philosophical systems, language and stubborness

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i am really fed up of people criticizing theories of how society works because they can find an example that either (a) doesn’t fit in the system or (b) pokes a whole in the system. i think that historians in particular are proving to be most obnoxious about this. philosophical systems and theories are almost inevitably being presented as heuristic devices – not the blueprint to all knowledge (unless of course, you’re that nut Hegel).
so, historians are criticizing any system for understanding the social phenomena they study. why? do they refuse to discuss it using language? no. but the language they adopt is always a conceptualization of phenomena, that blurs the specifics of any particularlity. by calling “rape” rape, you are applying a definition to it that, though you admit is sometimes flawed or unclear, is still required to actually discuss a group of phenomenon that have a lot in common. you don’t deny the efficacity of that particular heuristic device (the adoption of conceptual labels called language) but you will critique Foucault for attempting to provide an interesting method of looking at the modern world by interpreting the ancien regime in a new way. foucault doesn’t even attempt to be a historian. and what is the point of history if you aren’t going to attempt to learn something worthwhile from it rather than just study separate cases. that type of history is not one i want to engage in anyways.
oh well. this is spurred on by general conversations in my Violence and Disorder Seminar with Professor McSheffrey. No one has actually been this stubborn in holding the other camp’s point of view, i am putting up a tad of a strawman to defend the theorists’ projects. oh wait. that’s a heuristic device – i’m not allowed to do that.
i am doing well for your info. not getting much work done, but doing well. no latin homework for the week-end. woohoo. must write a paper tonight. ciao.

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