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Aaron Lercher

Can two things be the same thing, while having different histories?

Yes, if these things are best understood as modeled by Markov processes. If so, then the future is independent of the past.

But perhaps some might say that this is only a model, not how these things really are. That's why I stipulated that these things are "best" understood as modeled that way, such as random walks or Brownian motion.


I'm not sure I see the connection between the centrality of identity to analytical philosophy and hostility towards Freud. It's dubiousness as a science seems more than sufficient.

Whenever a Freudian explanation of some phenomenon is mooted, "Why should we bother accepting it, or even take it seriously?" seem like a challenging enough questions - without wondering what the impact that accepting the explanation has on our notions of identity. The worry is that such explanations don't make anything visible at all, and that the only fertility involved is in birthing multitudes of academic papers with similar armchair "explanations".+

+ For a recent example, consider Kate Manne's Freudian account of why (male) pro-lifers are pro-lifers, in 'Down Girl'.

Neil Levy

Cohen knew the mainstream Western Marxist tradition. I attended a seminar he hosted by an Italian Althusserian. It was clear he was very familiar with the tradition.

On another point - the current uncritical embrace of standpoint theory in analytic philosophy seems to ignore “how oppression as a social phenomenon generates, through violence and lies/ideology, the deformation, material and psychic, at the heart of of everybody's lives”, or more specifically how this deformation impacts more strongly on the more oppressed. I think there’s some truth in standpoint theory (which also has continental roots), but it has to be combined with an account of ideology or false consciousness.

Eric Schliesser

Perhaps, I misunderstand you; but I didn't mean to suggest that Cohen was unfamiliar with the tradition. (I used 'untouched' not unfamiliar. And I quoted him on Freud!)

I think I agree with your other point (although it is my sense that standpoint theory is more contested in many analytic circles).

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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