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From 'Theoretical Cleansing' to Basic Philosophical Rights: A Manifesto Author(s): Martin J.

Matutik Source: Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, Vol. 67, No. 6 (Jun., 1994), pp. 72-73 Published by: American Philosophical Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3130539 . Accessed: 19/07/2013 02:30
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PROCEEDINGS AND ADDRESSES OF THE APA, 67:6

6. Examplesare to be found in the journals and the recent EtappeandJungeFreiheit, edition of on and national Fichte-Studien the of nation identity. concept special Other examples were provided at the XVI. German Congress of Philosophy, Technical Universityin Berlin, Sept.20-24,1993. See Ulrich Ernst, "Hohle mit
Fermseher" in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 30.9.1993, p. 38.

FROM 'TIEORETICAL CLEANSING' TO BASIC PHILOSOPHICAL RIGHTS: A MANIFESTO Martin J. Matustik Purdue University There is a new specter haunting the academy on both sides of the Atlantic, the specter of those concerned with race, gender, and class as legitimate issues of philosophical importance. And there are, at the same time, those who long for that philosophical purity which effectively relegates topics of race, gender, and class to the

dirty marginsof the 'nonphilosophical.'Can this zeal for restoringthe purityof a discipline escape becoming a professionalcover for various forms of 'theoretical of the academy?If diversephilosophersare incapable cleansing'withinthe hallways other than an of cooperation at home, what can they contributeinternationally academicmirrorimage of Sarajevo's sniperalleys? In 1977, when I was a nineteen year old freshmanat CharlesUniversity,the of philosophical purityweregoingto throwme out for readingJan Pragueguardians
Patocka. They advised me then that Patocka was infiltrating the academy with his subversive political agenda, and requested that, if I wished to study, I had to make public statements distancing myself from his thought. In 1977, he was interrogated after he issued with Vaclav Havel the manifesto for human rights, Charta 77, and he suffered a kind of Socratic death (heart attack) at the Secret Police station in March of the same year. Patocka's underground "Flying University" was nurtured on the basis of broad philosophical rights and solidarity among theoretically diverse intellectuals, and provided a model of collaboration that later manifested itself in the revolution of November 1989. This autobiographical example evokes dangerous

before them by the cold war guardians of purity: viz., that we need to return to the pure western tradition, because paying attention to race in examining our received texts is just hatred of that tradition; because the feminist theorists are just feminazis bent on hating dead white males; and because blacks and women are just taking jobs from white men. While this is a naively obvious way in which the undergraduates nursed on Rush Limbaugh voice their biases, one hears from many a graduate student a serious worry that the cultural climate for getting hired as a feminist or a race or class theorist in philosophy is inhospitable if not subliminally hostile. It is not uncommon that newly hired specialists in these areas must constantly try to prove themselves as philosophers to their departments even after they have gotten through the hiring committees during their APA and on-campus interviews. One reads in

memories:One reads nowadayspapersby undergraduates adoptingthoughts held

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ISSUES IN THE PROFESSION

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some letters published in the APA Proceedings,or even in some course descriptions, proposals that define philosophical purity in reaction to race, gender, and class and their dirty 'agendas of non-philosophy'. When I encounter in print or in the university hallway the professionally posturing claims about race, feminist or class theorists-'she or he is just a non-philosopher' or 'what they do is non-philosophy'-I can't help but see the shadows and hear the echoes of those Prague totalitarians from 1977. I can't but be reminded that it is also an academic culture of resentment which contributes to today's new forms of hatred. It would be wise to move from narrow 'philosophical correctness' and 'theoretical cleansing' to a charter of basic philosophical rights that would accompany any domestic and international collaboration among philosophers. The questions of gender, race, class aim to include, not exclude, certain topics as legitimate in philosophical conversation. Hence, by 'philosophical correctness' is meant here a form of theoretical racism, nationalism, and sexism masked by a language of professional or procedural objectivity and institutional legitimacy. A marginalized group is not in a position from which it could level this exclusionary practice-concepts of black racism, women's sexism, gay homosexism, and classism among the poor are dishonest inventions and defensive reactions of the privileged. Hence the term 'philosophical correctness' applies here only to the posture that uses its power to further 'theoretical cleansing'. Both terms designate uses of power with the intent to exclude, to theoretically cleanse, under the appearance of objectivity, legitimacy, and democratic voting, a professional meeting, a hiring, tenure, or promotion process, a publication or peer review process, an association, a discourse, etc. The rationale for a charter that would oppose this trend would not infringe on the freedom of philosophical speech and expression. Any self-limitation on freedom would be for freedom's sake and would itself embrace a philosophical commitment on the part of all affected, to oppose the harmful and self-destructive violence of 'theoretical cleansing'. This understanding would provide a basic overlapping consensus that all parties affected can use their freedom only in such a way that would be commensurate with the freedom of others. A minimal consensus would, in turn, pertain to substantive and procedural issues alike; no individual or group can pursue 'philosophical correctness' by the 'theoretical cleansing' of another.

GLOBAL ORDER AND THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH Hans Seigfried Loyola University, Chicago Many philosophers disagree with Nietzsche's and Dewey's claims that it doesn't matter whether our conceptual organizations of experience are true or not; what matters are only their life-preserving consequences, or that they help us to settle conflicting existential situations. But in face of the need for a global order, it seems to be irresponsible to keep alive the belief in universal, non-negotiable truth. A

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