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Between Pedagogy And Democracy: On Canons And Aversion To Conformity In Ordinary Language Philosophy

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Chapter Summary

A canon, etymologically referring to a reed or a rod, is primarily an instrument of measurement (hence an instrument in support of judgment) and the debate is thereby one of seeking, questioning and accepting or rejecting standards, conceived as conditions of understanding, reading, thinking and of judgment: scientific, legal, religious, aesthetic and ethical. John Gibsons argument significantly extends the wide scope of the yardstick metaphor in Wittgenstein with the consequence of becoming vulnerable to the question of the legitimacy of such an extension.There is a strange undecidability here between a standard of measurement perceived as something that is set beyond the ordinary and the same standard being relentlessly chiseled by the ordinary. According to Harold Bloom, the critique of the canon does not promote individual emancipation but merely ventilates resentment in its classical Nietzschean version.

Keywords: classical Nietzschean; John Gibsons argument; Western canon; Wittgenstein



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