Thursday, October 30, 2003

Speaking of 101-280, he links to a dissertation of his which, in the course of dissecting a literary critic's claim that chaos theory and postmodern literary analysis are synonymous or interconnected, has some interesting comments touching on knowability. Specifically, he notes that postmodernism postulates nonexistence, while chaos theory is simply another method considering unknowability. The two are not at all the same thing, as anyone dealing with data ought to be damn well familiar. Essentially, this transitive point of his is that the scientific methods known as "chaos theory" have more relevance in a Kantian system than in a postmodern system.

I don't claim to understand his paper entirely - I have the sneaking suspicion that you can't understand nonsense. Not to cast aspersions on the writer of the paper, he does as good a job as possible in laying out the claims for the inner-relation of Derrida and chaos theory, but Derrida's theories are, I am beginning to suspect, inherently incoherent. Furthermore, there's some reference to two distinct "entropies", one statistical and the other thermodynamic. That kind of went over my head, and obviously that's due to my limitation, and not any on the part of the writer.

The later part of the paper goes through a number of examples of literary analysis whose authors use "chaos theory" mainly as a source for strained metaphor and analogy.

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