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Sometimes Always TrueUndogmatic Pluralism in Politics, Metaphysics, and Epistemology$
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Jeremy Barris

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262144

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262144.001.0001

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The Logic of Genuine Political Pluralism and Oscar Wilde’s Artificiality of Wit and Style

The Logic of Genuine Political Pluralism and Oscar Wilde’s Artificiality of Wit and Style

(p.102) 4. The Logic of Genuine Political Pluralism and Oscar Wilde’s Artificiality of Wit and Style
Sometimes Always True

Jeremy Barris

Fordham University Press

The chapter argues that the artificiality of Oscar Wilde’s wit and style exemplifies the logic and method of genuine, undogmatic political pluralism in a deeply consistent and illuminating way. The chapter argues that while the most widely known current approaches to political pluralism suffer from the unacknowledged and unmanaged contradiction of definitively rejecting all nonpluralistic positions, Wilde acknowledges and manages that contradiction. His work presents the serious and unartificial possibility of things’ being essentially otherwise than they can be conceived to be in any given standpoint. Now, raising the possibility of thoroughly new meanings, entirely unrelated to all the familiar meanings we have access to in considering that possibility, is nonsensical: it undermines its own meanings in raising that possibility as something it aims to mean. But, as the book argues, this kind of nonsense is so thoroughgoing that it cancels itself in turn and restores the original sense whose conflicts produced it. As a result, this process both opens the possibility of essentially new standpoints and also validates incompatible, familiar standpoints exactly as they are. This validation, then, involves the self-canceling recognition, without simple mutual elimination, of essentially different and therefore mutually exclusive “spaces.”

Keywords:   Political pluralism, Aesthetics, Style, Artificiality, Difference, Wilde, Contradiction, Nonsense, Self-cancellation

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