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What is philosophy today? The predominant answer of contemporary scientists is: its time is over. Even the most basic philosophical problems are increasingly becoming scientific ones: the ultimate ontological questions concerning reality (Does our universe have a limit in space and time? Is it caught in determinism, or is there a place for genuine contingency in it?) are today questions addressed by quantum cosmology; the ultimate anthropological questions (Are we free, i.e., do we have free will? etc.) are addressed by evolutionary brain science; even theology is allotted its place within brain science (which aims at translating spiritual and mystical experiences into neuronal processes). At most, what remains of philosophy are epistemological reflections on the process of scientific discoveries.

In today’s antideconstructionist turn, there are, however, many attempts to return to a realist ontology, with all the usual caveats (it’s not really a return, because it’s a new ontology of radical contingency, etc.). Perhaps the main precursor of this return to ontology is Louis Althusser’s “aleatoric materialism.” In his two great manuscripts published posthumously, Initiation à la philosophie pour les non-philosophes (1976) and Être marxiste en philosophie (1978), Althusser (among other things) outlines a specific theory of philosophy which overlaps neither with his early “theoreticist” concept of philosophy as “theory of theoretical practice” nor with his later notion of philosophy as “class struggle in theory”; while closer to the second notion, it serves as a kind of mediator between the two. Althusser’s starting point is the omnipresence of ideology, of ideological abstractions which always structure our approach to everyday life and reality; this ideology has two levels, the “spontaneous” everyday texture of implicit meanings, and the organized religion or mythology which initiated a systematic system of these meanings. Then, in ancient Greece, something new and unexpected happened: the rise of science in the guise of mathematics. Mathematics deals with pure, abstract numbers deprived of all mythic reference, it is a game of axioms and rule in which no cosmic meaning resonates, there are no sacred, lucky or damned numbers. Precisely as such, mathematics is subversive; it threatens the universe of cosmic meaning, its homogeneity and stability.

The true break happens here, not between mythic ideology and philosophy but Post too long. Click here to view the full text.


The irony of the history of philosophy is that the line of philosophers who struggle against the sophists’ temptation finishes with Hegel, the “last philosopher” who, in a way, is also the ultimate sophist, asserting self-referential play with no external support of its truth: for Hegel, there is truth, but it is immanent to the symbolic process—the truth is measured not by an external standard, but by the “pragmatic contradiction,” the inner (in)consistency of the discursive process, by the gap between the enunciated content and its position of enunciation.

Is not the way Althusser relates to philosophy one of the clearest cases of the gap that separates the position of enunciation from the enunciated (content)? At the level of the enunciated content, he is all modesty: he strongly opposes the idealist philosophical pretension to grasp the structure of the entire universe, to “know it all,” to reveal the absolute truth (or the truth of the Absolute). Against this idealist pretension, he praises accepting limits, openness to contingent encounters, etc., which characterize the materialist undercurrent from Epicurus through Spinoza up to Heidegger (although one might add here that it is difficult to imagine a more “arrogant” philosopher than Spinoza, whose Ethics claims to reveal the inner working of God-Nature—if nothing else, it can be shown that here Spinoza is much more “arrogant” than Hegel).

>Idealist philosophers speak for everyone and in everyone’s stead. They think, in fact, that they are in possession of the Truth about everything. Materialist philosophers are much less talkative: they know how to shut up and listen to people. They do not think that they are privy to the Truth about everything. They know that they can become philosophers only gradually, modestly, and that their philosophy will come to them from outside. So they shut up and listen.

However, in what Althusser actually does when talking about philosophy, his “process of enunciation,” his approach to philosophy, we can easily discern the exact opposite of what he characterizes as a materialist approach: brutally simplified universal statements which pretend to define the universal key features of philosophy, with no modest provisos. Philosophy as such is class struggle in theory, the eternal battle of two lines, “idealist” and “materialist”; it functions as an empty repetition of the line of demarcation idealism/materialism whichPost too long. Click here to view the full text.


For Lacan, modern science is defined by two concomitant foreclosures: the foreclosure of the subject and the foreclosure of truth as cause. A scientific text is enounced from a desubjectivized “empty” location, it allows for no references to its subject of enunciation, it is supposed to deliver the impersonal truth which can be repeatedly demonstrated, “anyone can see and say it,” i.e., the truth should be in no way affected by its place of enunciation. We can already see the link with the Cartesian cogito: is not the “empty” enunciator of scientific statements the subject of thought reduced to a vanishing punctuality, deprived of all its properties? This same feature also accounts for the foreclosure of truth as cause: when I commit a slip of the tongue and say something other than what I wanted to say, and this other message tells a truth about me that I am often not ready to recognize, then one can also say that in my slips the truth itself spoke, subverting what I wanted to say. There is truth (a truth about my desire) in such slips, even if they contain factual inexactitude—to take an extremely simple example, when the moderator of a debate, instead of saying “I am thereby opening the session!” says “I am thereby closing the session!” he obviously indicates that he is bored and considers the debate worthless. “Truth” (of my subjective position) is the cause of such slips; when it operates, the subject is directly inscribed into its speech, disturbing the smooth flow of “objective” knowledge.

How, then, can Lacan claim that the subject of psychoanalysis—the divided subject, the subject traversed by negativity—is the subject of modern science (and the Cartesian cogito)? Is it not that, by foreclosing truth and subject, modern science also ignores negativity? Is science not a radical attempt to construct a (literally) truthless discourse of knowledge? Modern science breaks with the traditional universe held together by a deeper meaning (like a harmony of cosmic principles—yin and yang, etc.), a universe which forms a teleologically ordered Whole of a multiplicity of hierarchically ordered spheres, a Whole in which everything serves a higher purpose. In the philosophical tradition, the major vestige of the traditional view is Aristotle: Aristotelian Reason is organic-teleological, in clear contrast to the radical contingency of modern science. No wonder today’s Catholic Church attacks Darwinism as “irrational” in comparison with the Aristotelian Post too long. Click here to view the full text.


The return of the traditional order in capitalism is thus not simply an indication that the logic of science is somehow constrained in capitalism, it is an indication that this containment is immanent to the universe of modern science, implied by the foreclosure of the subject. To put it bluntly: science cannot stand completely on its own, it cannot account for itself (no matter how much positivist accounts try to do so), i.e., the universality of science is based on an exception.

When and how, then, will politics be synchronized with modern science? It is not that the universe of modern science should directly impose itself onto the sphere of politics, so that social life will be regulated by the insights based on the cognitivist/biogenetic naturalization of human life (the tech-gnostic vision of society regulated by the digital big Other). It is simply that the subject engaged in politics should no longer be conceived as the liberal free agent pursuing its interests but as the subject of modern science, the Cartesian cogito, which, as Lacan said, is the subject of psychoanalysis. Therein lies the problem: can we imagine an emancipatory politics whose agent is the empty Cartesian subject? Jacques-Alain Miller’s answer is that the domain of politics is by definition the domain of imaginary and symbolic collective identifications, so that all that psychoanalysis can do is to retain a healthy cynical distance toward the sphere of politics—psychoanalysis cannot ground a specific form of political engagement. The wager of the Communist hypothesis is, on the contrary, that there is a politics based on the empty Cartesian subject: the political name of the empty Cartesian subject is a proletarian, an agent reduced to the empty point of substanceless subjectivity. A politics of radical universal emancipation can be grounded only on the proletarian experience.


OP Here, I cobbled together excerpts from zizek in an attempt at something like an entry point into his project. Something that connected the three different realms of hegel, marx, and freud. With any luck it generated some interest and/or understanding in you. It was based on this talk http://zizekpodcast.com/wp-content/uploads/surplus-value-surplus-enjoyment-surplus-knowledgepart1.mp3 and came from his book "incontinence of the void"


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Whoops here's the book. Although I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a starting point for zizek. That's part of how the whole idea for this thread came about.
While it's not a book, this short pdf he writes about different varieties of surplus might be better
This starts through an introduction of object a. Which is a good thing to know about. But offers little in the way of a contextual introduction. That's what I like about this as a starting point, it starts with some relevant philosophical history.

It's a real struggle, where to begin with zizek. I thought about posting this to /leftypol/ but considering that the focus on this isn't explicitly on politics, and that this board is more likely to have a background in some of the more advanced concepts required to read higher level zizek, figured this was better.

Feedback, questions, etc.. welcome.

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Britbong here,

As a brit, I believe it's necessary to educate myself on the history of the previously vast British empire to understand how the modern Britan evolved from that.

If anyone has any good resources on this, especially the Empire's exploits in India, Africa, China and Ireland, please leave them below.
Bonus points if they are Marxist works.


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I read Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis when I was just becoming a leftist and it was some hard hitting stuff for me.


This looks fantastic, thank you for the recommendation!

(The epub you attached is corrupted, the chapters are blank.)


To add to the other Anon's post, End of Empire is a pretty good overview of the end of the british empire, and while not terribly detailed in any particular area, it gives a pretty thorough overview of the bush conflicts and dirty wars that made up the Empire's death rattle after the Second World War


Who would be the author for that?


Brian Lapping

The Decline and Fall of the British Empire by Piers Brendon might be better though, covers from Yorktown to the end

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Anyone have a PDF of Charles Fourier's "The Hierarchies of Cuckoldry and Bankruptcy"? I need it because reasons.



I found the bankrupts, but not the cucks. I looked all over libgen, it's not there. I don't know where else you'd find it.


>Not on libgen
Then was it ever even real?


I've been looking for it as well, and it is indeed difficult to find online.


It's real: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12400532-the-hierarchies-of-cuckoldry-and-bankruptcy

I've been looking further and it appears there isn't even a commercial eBook available for purchase. Honestly at this point I think the best route is to find a library that carries it. It's only 90 pages, so if you go that route, please consider scanning it for all of us.

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My problem focuses on history and humanities, but I guess it could apply to other subjects. How do you guys "use" sources? How should leftists approach primary and secondary sources when studying or debating? How should we approach anticommunist ones? How do you make sure sources are correct? For example: Say you have 2 books on the Russian revolution, the first one is more left wing and the second is more anticommunist. How do you prove who's right and wrong? What do you do if the two books contradict each other? Sorry if that's too many questions, but I have a lot of doubts when it comes to learning from books and using them for debates.


>How do you guys "use" sources?
By quoting them in the text, referring to them, and then listing them in the bibliography. The key here is to be true to the sources. It is bad historic writing to use a source that does not say what you want it to say, but pretend like it does.

>How should leftists approach primary and secondary sources when studying or debating?


>How should we approach anticommunist ones?

Even more critically.

>How do you make sure sources are correct?

You don't. You can never know something for sure, but corroborating sources are usually a good sign. When reading historical works you have to be aware that a lot of it is conjecture. Not made up, but kind of pieced together to make sense, often by generalising what we know of the time. Like for example you can say a particular Consul in 50 CE Rome had a bath in his house without having evidence of that Consul having a bath, but having evidence that rich people in Consuls in Rome in 50 CE generally had a bath.

>Say you have 2 books on the Russian revolution, the first one is more left wing and the second is more anticommunist. How do you prove who's right and wrong?

You don't "prove" anything, but you can do two things: 1) attack the book you disagree with, which can be anything from attacking the sources, criticising the way the author uses sources, criticise the author himself (ad hominem, despite its bad rep is a legit argument, e.g. Ancient aliens guy has no business speaking about aliens cause he has a bachelor in communication, not history or something relevant); 2) find sources that corroborate an opposing view.
Post too long. Click here to view the full text.


Much appreciated, comrade!

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What are some essential western Marxist works? Which work(s) would you classify as your favourite(s)
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Anybody have any thoughts on this? Seems really neat just to get a different perspective. The way it reconciles marxist thought and the individual seems fascinating.



I guess being head of the Italian Communist party doesn't count.


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>He claims that they seek to draw a distinction between the theory of Marx and that of Engels.
Lukacs points out some differences between Marx and Engels in History and Class Consciousness (https://www.marxists.org/archive/lukacs/works/history/), for example:

>The statements of Marx and Engels on this point could hardly be more explicit. “Dialectics thereby reduced itself to the science of the general laws of motion – both in the external world and in the thought of man – two sets of laws which are identical in substance” (Engels). [5] Marx formulated it even more precisely. “In the study of economic categories, as in the case of every historical and social science, it must be borne in mind that … the categories are therefore but forms of being, conditions of existence ….” [6] If this meaning of dialectical method is obscured, dialectics must inevitably begin to look like a superfluous additive, a mere ornament of Marxist ‘sociology’ or ‘economics’. Even worse, it will appear as an obstacle to the ‘sober’, ‘impartial’ study of the ‘facts’, as an empty construct in whose name Marxism does violence to the facts.

&ltend notes: 6. _A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy_ , (my italics). It is of the first importance to realise that the method is limited here to the realms of history and society. The misunderstandings that arise from Engels’ account of dialectics can in the main be put down to the fact that Engels – following Hegel’s mistaken lead – extended the method to apply also to nature. However, the crucial determinants of dialectics – the interaction of subject and object, the unity of theory and practice, the historical changes in the reality underlying the categories as the root cause of changes in thought, etc. – are absent from our knowledge of nature. Unfortunately it is not possible to undertake a detailed analysis of these questions here.

The other work I see mentioned (although I haven't read it) is Marx and Engels: The Intellectual RelationsPost too long. Click here to view the full text.




Thank you anon! I will be taking a look at those.

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So I wrote a pdf, on the reconstructed language of old Prussian. This language is actually going through a revival, from what I could gather. Since last year I found a YouTube channel where a family from Lithuania speak this language in a daily basis, and even their daughters speak it. So I got the dictionary of the language, read some posts on their facebook page, and listened to their speech. This pdf is mostly an overview of the language, I am not a linguistic or anything like that, I am just a random guy who likes languages.

So I wanted to post it somewhere, and I decided to post it here first, I think that there are some people here that would be interested in this.

The YouTube channel

The dictionary

A site with good resources

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Does someone have to be skilled/proficient in a subject in order for their teachings to be taken seriously? Can you be mediocre, or even bad at something, but great at teaching it? Should you listen to someone of a low skill level in that subject?

Does this answer vary among subject matters? Like do you have to be a good artist to be able to teach art? Do you have to be proficient in writing to be able to teach that?

This is a continuation of the drawing thread I derailed on /hobby/: >>>/hobby/8436
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Based. Tank you anon.


Knowing the formal rules, though processes, steps to take, fundamental principles conciously is not the same as being able to apply those things on autopilot.
The former makes a good teacher, being able to explain exactly why and how, through concious effort, the latter makes a skilled person.
You can have the former without the latter or vice versa. Often people who are very skilled have internalised the rules to such an extend they cannot seperate the rules from the whole and are thus unable to teach. Also often the people with the theoretical knowledge spend most of their time formalising those rules than applying them in day to day work, and as such aren't as skilled.

So no you don't have to be a good mathematician to teach maths, you don't need to be a good programmer to teach coding. Being a good programmer is applying all those rules instinctively, quickly, without effort, you have to feel instinctually that a piece of logic is "not nice". But teaching requires the ability to apply all these steps conciously, out loud, step by step, formally, not quickly. Same for a mathematician, same for an artist, same for any job.

Skill is not neccecarily knowledge and knowledge is not neccecarily skill.


Does everything have to be explicitly said for the student to learn? You can learn a lot about good programming by carefully reading good programs, you can learn a great deal about dancing by carefully watching experts dance. In workplaces a good deal of training is often done simply by observing more experienced colleagues working.


You can learn by trying to decipher what makes other works good but that is not what you pay a teacher for. It takes many times longer to get a feel for good code, and even then it's total bs to think you can learn good code from experience alone.
Good code is build on strict principles, database designs have hyper formalised definitions to ensure it meets all qualities of good design. Solid dry and other quasi buzzwords have to be explicitly taught in order to be applied, even if the programmer later forgets which of the 20 buzzwords made him consider that choice.

You could try to learn to draw or learn to code just by watching other people draw or other people code, but in reality that is not what happens. In businesses were programming happens, new colleagues are corrected with explicit mentions about why a certain choice is better than others. When drawing, or any other skill, trying to decipher the reason behind a choice will just lead you to 20 wrong ends. The total accumulated decisions obscure the reasoning and in trying to immitate it you end up with people who exhibit cargo cult mentality.
Just look at people who for no reason try to apply certain coding patterns everywhere because "he saw someone else do it" or all the artists drawing horrible shaded drawings because "they saw other artists put in highlights".

You can't learn well from just observing the end result. You have to know the reasons for all choices, so you know why it's there, so you know when to break the rules. That is what a teacher is for.


Relational databases have well-understood mathematical properties but even those can't tell what a good database design is, only pinpoint some obviously bad ones. For example, you can calculate how much redundancy you store, but some extra redundancy may actually be desirable to speed up critical queries. It's not as black and white as you make it to be. There are some similar metrics for code but I don't think anyone actually makes use of them, since blind conformance to metrics is a sure way to ruin your code. Programs are written to be read, not to satisfy "cyclomatic complexity" targets.

Design patterns are a good counterexample, because often they are taught to be a silver bullet for good programming when in fact they are not. They are just common solutions to common problems. Students will mindlessly try to apply them to every problem they come across even when there is a much better solution, because they were taught that this is what they should be doing. I never heard of this actually happening because "they saw someone else doing it", like you claim, but I can recall many cases where they did it because they were taught to. Maybe in drawing it is different, but I am sceptical. The problem with teachers is that they become the sole arbiters of what is considered good/desirable/acceptable and thus rob the student of their confidence in their own judgements. In industry if every code review you give ends up in a small lecture of coding practices, there's a good chance your poor colleague will forever remain a junior programmer because you don't even give them the chance to explain their reasoning. Anyway, they are going to learn a lot more from reviewing your code than from your code reviews.

> You can't learn well from just observing the end result.

Experience says otherwise.

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I was reading a book by Laal Khan on the history of proletarian and communist struggle in pre-Partition India and I was baffled at the fact that I had no idea about this event. This has to be the greatest rebellion/revolution in India before Partition.
>On the eve of February 19 1946, much wider layers of the Naval personnel had joined in this revolt. The union jacks on most of the ships of the Royal Indian Navy in the Bombay harbour were torn down and the rebel sailors hoisted red flags along with the flags of the political parties that were involved in the struggle for independence.

Within 48 hours the British imperialists were faced with the largest revolt ever of their Naval units. The message of this rebellion started to spread by word of mouth and then over the radio (the radio station had been taken over by the rebels) to military garrisons and barracks across India. Some of the leaders of the sailors broadcast the message of the uprising and revolutionary songs and poetry were also broadcast round the clock. The revolt spread to 74 ships, 20 fleets and 22 units of the Navy along the coast. It involved Bombay, Calcutta, Karachi, Madras, Cochin and Vishapatam. On February 20 only 10 ships and 2 naval stations were not in complete revolt.
>One of the effects of this uprising was that the British Prime Minister Clement Atlee was forced to announce that the British would leave India before June 1948.




>On 19 March, a strike wave penetrated the police force throughout the major centres of the country. At Allahabad, the police went on a hunger strike. The Delhi police joined them on 22 March. On 3 April, 10 000 police personnel in Bihar joined the strike movement. Soon the workers also joined this mass wave of strikes. On 2 May 1946, the workers of the North Western Railway went on strike. On 11 July, more than 100 000 postal workers started an all-India strike. Industrial workers across the subcontinent joined the movement with massive strike action. The whole of India was engulfed in these mass uprisings, revolts and strikes. The British were losing control over the armed forces. The first to come to the rescue of the imperialist Raj were the political leaders of all religions.

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ITT post ur favourite historical uniforms
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One that I hate. The Legión Española, the Christ… and the famous goat. A fascist remnant in the army of Spain, certainly ridiculous.


that emblem is very Juche.


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I loled overall, but in particular at how they had to accentuate the Bulge. I wonder if the put some socks there too if they don't have the goods necessary for the parade…


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