Friday, February 27, 2009

Baudrillard’s Philosophy Of Seduction: an overview.

To appreciate Baudrillard s philosophy of Seduction what is at stake in it and why it is important today - we should remember the historical situation from which it evolves, viz., the postmodern context, in which it appears that rational theory has autodestructed and truth is dead . This autodestruction is said to occur for several reasons, eg: 1) The first principles of any rational system or theory, or the first rules of any language game, cannot prove themselves without logical circularity, or else falling into an infinite regress of first principles. But if the first principle is dubious and unproven, then the whole system derived from it is also dubious and unproven. Therefore all systems are questionable and truth cannot be established. 2) Theoretical systems or language games contain within themselves their own criteria for deciding such central issues as: good evidence, proper test, right method, authority, reliability, validity, and value. The criteria differ with the system. Therefore, there is no independent position from which one could judge between the systems to ascertain which one is correct, if any. Therefore the systems are said to be incommensurable, ie, they can t be measured or judged against one another. Therefore, the correct system or the real truth cannot be established. 3) The question may be posed: Why be rational? If the modern rationalist uses reason to provide rational arguments for being rational then he or she is simply begging the question. For he or she is assuming the validity of reason to argue toward the validity of reason. 4) Epistemology (the study of knowledge) has been at the heart of the philosophical enterprise from the beginning; for it was assumed that, before we can hope to say whether this or that worldview or theory constitutes true knowledge we need to know what knowledge is. Therefore, we must study what knowledge is first. But to know what knowledge is presumes we already have knowledge in knowing what knowledge is. So an assumption about knowledge is always made at the start. But, once again, this initial assumption cannot be validated without circularity. Therefore, there is no proven knowledge or truth. 5) Can we now draw the sceptic's conclusion, then, ie, that the truth is that there is no truth? Obviously not, because that statement itself claims to be a truth, so it undermines itself. Hence: epistemology, rationalism, critical theory, philosophical scepticism, even deconstruction, all now appear aporetic. Rational theory in all its forms autodestructs. Therefore - modernity is dead. (May it rest in peace.)

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