Dienstag, 8. September 2015

"Argumentationssklaven" - Performance at Philosophy Unbound #3


Together with Theresa Thomasberger I have done a performance called "Agrumentationssklaven" (argumentative slaves) at Philosophy Unbound #3 - "Menschliches, Allzumenschliches" in May 2015. Now the video of it got online, which I would like to share with you. I am sort of proud of our performance, for I feel we managed to get something across that is an old topic of mine (connected with my big project on Vernunft), but in a way that was quite new to me.
The performance sprung off from a lecture of Ray Monk's biography of Wittgenstein, in which following passage of Bertrand Russell about Wittgenstein can be found: 
"I told him he ought not simply to state what he thinks true, but to give arguments for it, but he said arguments spoil its beauty, and that he would feel as if he was dirtying a flower with muddy hands. … I told him I hadn’t the heart to say anything against that, and that he had better acquire a slave to state the arguments." (Monk 1996, p. 264)

We tried to enact this "slave to state the arguments" and see how far we can push it. The argumentative battles were completely improvised and worked surprisingly well. I feel that with it we managed to performatively criticize a certain image of thought and logic, which is still widely spread inside and outside the academic world. 
Why should arguments always be about being wrong or right? Is it really about the battle between to conflicting opinions? And does this notion of dualist logic really allow us to dismiss certain theories? (like here) Isn't this binary notion of right and wrong, victory and defeat a very primitive form of thought, impeding a lot of creativity and spontaneity?
As Nietzsche says in the very beginning of Jenseits von Gut und Böse, why should thought only be seeking truth? Thought can be so much more if it is liberated from the binary constraints of attaining the truth. It can be a wonderful dance between two or more equals, that together can achieve something, that none of them alone would have been able to imagine. 
Let's stop the warfare in our argumentation! Let's cease being slaves to them and liberate our thought!

The complete performance can be watched below (in German) - including a longer explanation in the end. 




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