The Corner

Called Into Their Thinging

Top ten reasons why Postmodernist philosophers should be burned alive in public squares atop piles of their books. (All taken from Stanley J. Grenz’s A Primer on Postmodernism.)

10. Whether we take the signified or the signifiers, language has neither ideas nor sounds that existed before the linguistic system, but only conceptual and phonic differences that have issued from the system. (Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics, p.120.)

9. Knowledge … creates a progressive enslavement to its instinctive violence. (Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, and Practice, p.163.)

8. No longer a coherent cognito, man now inhabits the interstices, “the vacant interstellar spaces,” not as an object, still less as a subject… (Edward Said, Beginnings: Intention and Method, p. 286.)

7. Understanding belongs to the being of that which is understood. (Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, p.xix.)

6. Post-modernism signals the death of such “metanarratives” whose secretly terroristic function is to ground and legitimate the illusion of a “universal” human history. (Terry Eagleton, Awakening from Modernity, p.194.)

5. Does truth, then, arise out of nothing? It does indeed if by nothing is meant the mere not of that which is, and if we here think of that which is as an object present in the ordinary way, and thereafter comes to light and is challenged by the existence of the work as only presumptively a true being. (Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, p.71.)

4. The author is therefore the ideological figure by which one marks the manner in which we fear the proliferation of meaning. (Michel Foucault, What Is An Author? p.159.)

3. It is these predicates … whose force of generality, generalization, and generativity find themselves liberated, grafted onto a “new” concept of writing which also corresponds to whatever always has resisted the former organization of forces, which always has constituted the rmainder irreducible to the dominant force which organized the — to say it quickly — logocentric hierarchy. (Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, pp.329-330.)

2. Truths are illusions of which one has forgotten that this is what they are. (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Portable Nietzsche, p.47.)

1. In the naming, the things named are called into their thinging. Thinging, they unfold world, in which things abide and so are abiding ones. (Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, pp.199-200.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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