In response to ‘Textures of Language and Thought’

Written in response to: Textures of Language and Thought

There are some definitions in Luke Fischer’s ‘Textures of Language and Thought’ that need unpacking. What strikes me as particularly important, is his credentialised view of philosophy (shared with the Peter Boyle essay he cites). Fischer defines philosophical poets as essentially those with PhDs. As valid as this seems initially, it fails to think about ogrniased thought beyond the university discipline. In doing so, it reeks of white institutionalism. This comes through in his citations that are hegemonically dead, white, European men. Surely, Australia is not so colonial that we need to pray at the altar of Heidegger? And surely we are thoughtful enough to know that ‘the East’ (and ‘the South’) has ideas too. This would then allow us to see Othered contemporary philosophical poets from Michelle Cahill to Eileen Chong to Javant Biaruja. Or, would Fischer propose like Hegel in his Lectures that ‘the Indian has no history’? Surely, from the Upanishads to Sangaam poetry there is a philosophy beyond ‘the North’ and ‘the West’, which is to say nothing of it internal radical wing that might find correspondence with the Marxist provocations of vernacular performers here from Pi O to Benjamin Solah. And, we cannot forget the poetry that takes Indigenous philosophies here as their bedrock. Perhaps, rather than reifying the author’s identity by attention to qualifications, enlarging one’s definitions might help us recover a project that deserves more from its very own critics. For more on that people might want to look at The African Enlightenment, Black Issues in Philosophy, and a new definition of philosophy.

Robert Wood