Phony philosophy

We love stories as much as we need them, but a funny thing has happened to departments of literature. The study of literature as an art form, of its techniques for delighting and instructing, has been replaced by an amalgam of bad epistemology and worse prose that goes by many names but can be summed up as Theory. The situation seems to call for a story, and one written in the style of Jorge Luis Borges, the grand chronicler of the tragicomic struggle between humans and logic.

Check out this piece in The New York Times by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (Mrs. Pinker).  She of course has in mind departments that where a lack of philosophical culture licences uncritical and obscure thinking.

Theo alone insisted that Theory was no hoax but was intended as the most imperialist of cognitive campaigns, having designs on all the disciplines. Culture owns knowledge, and departments of literature own Culture. It follows (at least if logic can be said to hold constant in the face of frenetic Culture) that departments of literature can legitimately claim dominion over us all.