Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 20, number 58, abril 1988
Reflexiones sobre “La crisis de la modernidad”
[Reflections on the "Crisis of Modernity"]
Marcelo Dascal
Universidad de Tel-Aviv

Abstract:

The aim of this paper is to analyze the apparent radicality of recent ‘post-modern’ or ‘post-philosophical’ critiques of philosophy. The key features of this radicality singled out here are: (a) its deliberate search of paradox; (b) its ostensive insensibility to tu quoque counter-arguments; (c) its promotion of a flattening of all levels of discourse, as well as of a removal of all barriers between kinds of discourse, both of which yield a sort of pluralistic holism, which may be called ‘discourse egalitarianism’; (d) its uncompromising rejection of all the categories, distinctions, strategies and methods of [classical] Reason, including dialectics; (e) its peculiar notion of ‘criticism’, not to be confused with ‘rejection’, ‘denial’, or ‘demolition’, all of which make room to the position criticized, but rather to be seen as radical deconstruction or suppression.

In the light of this analysis, an attempt is made to explain the radicality of this critique in terms of a cyclic model of increasingly sharper confrontations between ‘constructionists’ and ‘deconstructionists’ in the course of the history of philosophy. What accounts for the need for increasing radicalization is the fact that, at each confrontation, the opponent has strengthened his position by having learnt from previous criticism. Seen in this broad perspective, the current ‘crisis’ in philosophy can be interpreted as one more episode in the Great Critical Tradition, to be located not outside philosophy, as it contends, but rather at its very core.


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