Friday, February 26, 2010

Philosopher that I became the most disillusioned with.

As the most overrated philosopher meme continues to circle, I wanted to try a variation.

Levi pointed to Badiou for him as the most overrated philosopher. But it contained a level of disillusionment. After an initial excitement with Badiou, there was a let down. I think this might be a more interesting way to do this. After all, for most of us feeling a thinker is overrated is never liking them. But there are any number of reasons that could be true, and not particularly insightful. I believe thinkers that caused excitement an then stopped being useful is a different category all together.

For me, that'd be Paul Virilio. When I first ran across his work as an undergrad I was really excited by him. There was a particular kind of marxist strain at the time that I was finding suffocating, and he and Delanda were the main thinkers who opened up a path out of that. But, shortly after I was no longer there I was increasingly annoyed by Virilio (though I continue to find Delanda provocative and useful). His apocalyptic visions, while perhaps the stuff of a great graphic novel, didn't seem very useful for doing philosophy. And whereas calling Derrida a one-trick pony, whatever, but Virilio really is.