File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0107, message 181

Subject: Re: A few questions
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 15:09:37 -0500

In response to the idea of paralogy being superior, I have this to say:

The concept of parology is about NOTHING if not "the issue of power and

Paralogy, before Lyotard (and still in most circles), was(is) usually waged
as an insult.  It means "wrong reasoning."  Lyotard's political act is to
argue that we have considered all kinds of paralogy wrong because of
political reasons, pretending that there is some form of abstract truth
behind our distinctions.  For instance, homosexuals and transexuals were/are
put in mental institutions on the basis that there thinking is illogical by
the dominant standard.

To say that paralogy is superior would be to miss the whole point.  It would
just flip what and who was excluded.  The idea is not to put the traditional
philosophers in mental institutions, just to take away their right to be the
final arbiters of the good.

The idea of paralogy, I think, is that we have to try to listen to people
who reason differently, rather than ruling them out altogether based on
grammatical rules.

Many parologies are exclusionary, racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, etc.
No one is defending wierd reasoning used to hurt people.  But, the concept
of parology is supposed to expose how "right reason" has been used to
justify exactly the same sorts of things.

Judging the concept of paralogy by the standard of CAN IT GUARANTEE  NO MORE
EXCLUSIONS? will cause us to miss the point.  Nothing meets that criteria!

Matthew Levy

----- Original Message -----
From: Sissy <>
To: lyotard <>
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 12:52 AM
Subject: A few questions

> I have some additional questions
>  Is paralogy something that is a superior form of
> communication which some people are not worthy of or fit
> for participating  in?
> Would the form paralogy exclude people on the basis of power,
>  position, sexuality, race, etc. ?
>  Is the issue of power and position addressed in the
> writings of Lyotard and if so how and is it considered
> significant?


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