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Sunday, August 08, 2010

Obscurantism in Philosophy

philosophy bites: Mary Warnock on Sartre's Existentialism

"[On Sartre being on Speed when writing his later works] It was appalling. It was absolutely ghastly. I mean, I didn't like the style of Being and Nothingness, though I enjoyed the anecdotal part of it. And I enjoyed the sort of huge metaphysical structure that it was all built around.

But it appalled me when I first read it. But it was nothing... the incomprehensible and really shoddy way that the critique was written

But when that book came out, we hadn't yet had the benefit of yet more incomprehensible and deliberately incomprehensible French philosophers like Derrida... who really are unreadable, and meant to be so...

They wanted to be profound. And I think they were unduly influenced by Heidegger, who thought that philosophy had to have a whole special vocabulary and way of going about things, that nobody could possibly understand.

I think really, from Hegel onwards, one branch of philosophy did delight in obscurity. And I think that is a totally mistaken view of what philosophy should be about."
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