I have only pretended to pretend.

I’ve always had a passing interest in philosophy. Not in any sort of constructive way, of course, but it’s kind of satisfying to be able to quote Pascal, or apply Mill to something I’m studying. So I read Sophie’s World, and the Guardian series of booklets a few years ago; I’ve bought philosophy books in charity shops which remain fairly unthumbed (although I’ve no regrets – a Bertrand Russell hardback is an impressive thing to have on a shelf); and I’ve explored the more exciting moments, like Wittgenstein’s poker.

But it’s not been until recently that I’ve had any call to apply philosophical thoughts to anything useful. My course has given me the opportunity to do such, and I can cheerily say that I’ve just finished writing an essay that cites no less than five pretty heavyweight French writers. They were always the ones that put me off – I can grasp Cartesian science, and I love the succintness of Hobbes, but put me in front of a Baudrillard text and I just glaze over. It’s not that I’m not interested, it’s just so difficult to read. But yesterday, I put to bed an essay that cites Baudrillard twice – I understand now the detachment of signifier and signified, and I had to rein myself in so I didn’t go nuts with Levi-Strauss and floating signifiers.

So I’ve developed a lot in just a few months, from my years worth of random reading I can now apply it to stuff – Foucault’s power relations, Derrida’s linguistic deconstruction, de Certeau’s everyday life, Lyotard’s rejection of metanarrative. It’s all pretty interesting – as long as there’s something to apply it to. My problem before was, what’s the point? But I’m getting the hang of it.

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One Response

  1. […] hours now, and I have random tidbits of urbanisms roving around my head constantly. As I mentioned previously, one of them was a philosophical exercise as much as anything, which flexed my conceptual […]

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