Here is a surprisingly edifying and entertaining synopsis of structuralism. I particularly like how Prof. Louis Markos connects Saussure's work to the "proto-structuralism" of Freud and Marx. Also enjoyable is Markos' mini-rant, in light of Wes's recent post:
Structures are found in all areas of thought and study, from history to linguistics, psychology to anthropology.
Structuralism as a method is interdisciplinary, and structuralism seeks to re-found even the humanities on a more objective, scientific base. Structuralism, again, crosses all...disciplinary boundaries.
Now, a lot of you may not realize this, but let me give you an example of how structuralism has impacted our academy. 100 years ago, history was considered one of the humanities, and I believe that's where it belongs. But today, what is it? A social science. Psychology, which I believe also should be a humanity, or at least, a social science, is often considered now to be a natural science.
What's happening? All of our disciplines, and I think this is bad, but...all of our disciplines are running to science. It's almost as if we want to take the human element out of the humanities. But, remember: structuralism is deterministic, rather than humanistic. It wants to take all the disciplines, including the humanities...theology, literature...all the humanities, it wants to take them and re-found them...turn them into a structure that is mathematical, logical, and scientific.
couldn’t take more than the first 3min, why is ontology equated with platonic eternals and structuralism reduced to materialism?
leaving this fellow aside the question of whether or not there is something to philosophy (maybe metaphysics?) that isn’t now perhaps understood in terms of “theory” is an interesting question.
Heidegger was certainly exercised by the invention/pretensions of ‘scientific’ historiography and cybernetics.
David Buchanan says
Yes, the science envy of structuralism really comes out in this guy’s lecture. If his picture is accurate, then scientism in this movement is even worse than I suspected. And it ends with Derrida’s criticism of exactly that scientific certitude as just another Platonic “center”. It was a pretty good summary of all the readings for last episode. And it takes just over 30 minutes, so it’s free!
Seth Paskin says
Man, that’s a lot of ground to cover in 30 minutes. Thanks Daniel!
Daniel Horne says
Yeah, I get the sense he was aided by 3 espressos before the lecture. Hope it was entertaining!
A Corresponder says
Stumbling on this page a year later, so not sure if this comment will even be seen, but the video’s been taken down from YouTube. I was looking for more information about it so I could maybe find it again.
Mark Linsenmayer says
Daniel looked around, and I’ve updated the post to point at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcR-4y3Npqc&feature=youtu.be&t=1m31s. Thanks.