Discussion: integrationism, anti-humanism and the suprasubjective

Cobley, Paul ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8222-159X (2017) Discussion: integrationism, anti-humanism and the suprasubjective. In: Critical Humanist Perspectives: The Integrational Turn in Philosophy of Language and Communication. Pablé, Adrian, ed. Routledge Advances in Communication and Linguistic Theory . Routledge, London, pp. 267-284. ISBN 9781138656710. [Book Section] (doi:10.4324/9781315621760-18)

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The pressure to take at least partial or temporary residency on the high moral ground is quite considerable in our profession. One might cite standards and commitment to truth in research or provision of the best possible guidance for students as key humanist motivators. For those who have had a ‘humanist’ education or who clearly see the human virtues of learning, there is the temptation to intuitively applaud humanism and, certainly, it is difficult to renounce it in toto. To do so is to court suggestions that you are somehow ‘against’ humans, a nihilist or, worse, a pessimist. It is to be a debaser of all that is good and of value in either the human essence or, for the more philosophically circumspect, in human interaction. Very few state that they are against humanism, and very many profess that they are definitely humanists of one sort or another. It is part and parcel of being nice, the bandwagon of positivity that may or may not complement academic considerations. Of course, in the arts, politics and social life, there have been movements in the past century or so that have putatively renounced humanism, often for greater or lesser rhetorical effect. The movement of this kind that influenced me in my formative years was punk rock – a strategic, but strongly felt, renunciation of the unholy alliance of the establishment in general, business in particular and the music business especially. As a subculture, it was particularly successful – irrespective of later outcomes – in challenging a tired socio-political consensus in the United Kingdom (and the West). It brought into serious question a set of unquestioned values – for example, regarding race, gender, sexuality, respectability, diversity and tolerance – that have been comprehensively co-opted since by social democratic governments. And it effectively outlawed ‘progressive rock’. The other formative influence I should mention here is reading Althusser as an undergraduate. Even though Althusser’s work was now open to question as the news broke that he had murdered his wife, his theoretical anti-humanism overturned everything I had considered to be common sense, even in the postpunk environment.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media > English Language and Literature
Item ID: 25131
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Critical Humanist Perspectives: The Integrational Turn in Philosophy of Language and Communication on 22/05/2017, available online: http://www.routledge.com/9781138656710.
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Depositing User: Paul Cobley
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2018 13:08
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2022 16:39
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/25131

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