Dog Days of Summer

Dennis R Redmond dredmond at
Sat Aug 12 15:24:48 PDT 2000

On Sat, 12 Aug 2000, Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:

> Alternatively, you might think of Butler's theory of identity
> performance as a postmodern reworking of David Hume's bundle theory
> (in Hume's work as well, personal identity is theorized as if it were
> a necessary fiction that masters humanity through imagination,
> unjustifiable as it may be by any appeal to "reason").

Butler as an 18th century ideationist? This is like dialing the 1-800-IDEO-LOGY party line or something. Hume's deal was liberal-era skepticism, a kind of Tory empiricism of the colonial speculation (some folks end up with shares of East India Trading Co., others get wiped out by the American Revolution, but the sun never sets on Albion, etc.). Identity is not even in question in Hume; the veil of "tradition" tactfully intervenes. This has remarkably little to do with neoliberal cynicism or postmodern skepticism, which is all about ideologies of mediatic or informatic consumption, and nothing to do with Butler, who says some pretty cogent things about how gender micropolitics work in late capitalism.

-- Dennis

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