the logic of three kinds

So sometimes two might meet

Archive for March, 2008


Posted by achresis on March 15, 2008


Edmund Husserl

“For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams” (EAP).

Is it still the case, as Kristeva once put it, that “the theory of meaning now stands at a crossroads”?  The choice she gave (in a thoroughly contemporary terminology) was between regarding meaning in a Cartesian/Husserlian way as “the act of a transcendental ego, cut off from its body, its unconscious, and also its history”; or on the contrary as regarding it from the point of view of “The Freudian revolution,” according to which the speaking subject is divided between, on the one hand, unconscious drives (the biophysiological processes) and, on the other hand, social constraints (the institutions and economics of a history).   Science would henceforth, if choosing the second road rather than the first, be simultaneously physical and social. 

It’s odd that the project to establish a transcendental subject should find itself on the road less taken along with the several loose forms of humanism that would otherwise have resented and resisted sternly the encroachments of any science into the literary terrain.  Is it still the case that the theory of meaning stands at this crossroads?  Beneath the act there may lie–as Chomsky, the chief Cartesian in Kristeva’s characterisation of generative linguistics would insist–the innate competence without which such acts would be impossible.  Is there no shared ground between the two roads?



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