On Structuralism

Levi Bryant has a post up going over a discussion we had this weekend about structuralism. Two things: (1) I don’t think Levi and I are far off (this appears one of those philosophical discussions that’s really over nomenclature), and (2) I’m not defending structuralism, but was merely asking a follow-up to Levi’s contention that we need to get rid of structures. That is, it wasn’t an “attack” question, but one where I was genuinely interested in the answer.

But this has had two good side-effects: (1) it led to Levi’s post explaining clearly his take (though what I was going to say was that the unconscious and various structures of structuralism are indeed material and dynamic, thus Levi’s own reference, not mine, to the Purloined Letter), and (2) I then got and read before leaving Albuquerque a new biography of Levi-Strauss. The biography is good on several fronts, giving a more ‘anthropological” take on Levi-Strauss more unfamiliar to me, while also providing wonderful quotes from Levi-Strauss’s later years. (Question: What do you think your legacy is? Answer: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”)

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