zombie.html

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Subj: why there are zombies

Date: Tuesday, March 9, 1999 9:16:35 PM

From: Joseph
Mosconi


To: Earl
Jackson, Jr
.


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Earl. 

You ask why
you have received no responses to Javiera’s
intervention
 

concerning the
elenchus
. I think this might be symptomatic
of the elenchus
 

question itself. While I’m quick to agree with Lauren
that our lack of pre- and early- modern European Studies
 

experience is probably a primary factor in our apparent
dialogical
 

zombification,
I’m sure its not the only reason why no-one
has spoken up.

When I first read
Javiera’s response — and here I speak for at least two
 
other semenarians
as well — I agreed with her premise of „the
 
impossibility of
exhaustive consideration“ but thought it self evident: of
 
course there is
only a perspective of duality here, of course the wrong
 
mind does not necessarily
follow the lack of right mind, of course there
 
are places between
both right and wrong that are cancelled by the elenchus
 
as displayed in
Plato’s text.

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After some re-reading and consideration, I 

feel that the feelings of „suspicion“ Javiera has are
the central to the
 

mystery of our own silence.
I’m not sure if I’m totally off the mark or
 

not, but this seems connected somehow to your „ethics
of teaching
“ problem
 

(I’m operating on intuition here). Javiera says that
she sees „the person
 

of Socrates prodding
specific answers and questions from his addressee in
 

order to justify and perhaps even glorify his arguments.“Ý
When you ask us 

to respond to these sorts of statements,
I have the feeling that you are
 

asking us to object, „But wait, Earl! Isn’t
this what
is happening in real
 

life, in our own seminar?“

Ý 

For instance,
the other day when we were talking
 

about Contempt,
you brought up the question of the difference between what
 

Joyce does in Ulysses and what
Lang does in the film he is making.Ý
The 

questions you asked were leading,
because you had specific „right“ answers
 

in mind.Ý

  

ÝI said that Joyce’s characters were not
aware of their Odyssean
 

heritage whereas Lang and the others were hyper-aware
of their intentions
 

of invoking Homer, whereupon you asked me to follow up
with a
 

„therefore…“Ý

This actually led to an embarrassing silence on my part,
and


to a relative silence for the rest of the period. This
is strikingly


similar to what Javiera
accuses Socrates
of doing
. I have no comment at


this point on Jeff’s
message
, other than you seemed to display a bit of


indignation. But maybe I’m reading too much into it [Earl:
You are – I was displaying nothing of the kind ;-)].
Don’t get
me wrong, I


find all this interesting but sort of creepy when the
issues of the texts


invade our real lives [What
other lives should they invade?].
I mean: it’s creepy but still
fun. -JM

To Earl’s
letter
containing Jeff’s
letter

To Jeff’s
Other
letter


.

To theÝ Syllabus

To the Elenchus
Intervention

To
Our Orientation

To a vision

To other takes on
the elenchus
.

tomrip5@aol.com
web-top

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