The Questions

Here are the three questions from Seulemonde:

  1. At the beginning of Socrates in the Web, you offer a fairly traditional definition of philosophy, a definition tied to linear argumentation and the drawing of conclusions as the responsibility of philosophy since Plato. Although you later problematize this definition through reference to Hegel and Derrida, to what extent does your reading of hypertext's potential and limitations rely on this definition? More specifically, how might we read this teleological definition of philosophy in relation to what certain contemporary philosophers (notably Richard Rorty) have offered as alternative definitions of postmodern philosophy--an ongoing conversation that no longer attempts to ground itself in foundationalist assumptions?

  2. Despite the insistent questioning of forms and modes of argument in your essay, the philosopher-as-subject in your essay seems rather conventional, even Cartesian/classical-- consciously knowing, in total control of the discourse and its effects. In what ways might postmodern conceptions of the subject-position of the philosopher in discourse serve to change or reinforce your opinions about the possibility of a hypertextual philosophy? Or reversing the question: in what ways might hypertextual writing change the postmodern conception of the death of the author or the disappearing subject? Derrida's critique of the philosophical tradition continually refers to the attempts by philosophy to define its own borders by inclusion/exclusion (Tympan comes to mind) and thus ensure the philosopher's possession of his/her work; does the possibility of a hypertextual philosophy call into question this time-honored assumption in the philosophical tradition?

  3. In considering Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and Derrida's deconstructive experiments with writing, you suggest that hypertext does not question the unity of the text deeply enough. Could you elaborate on this, and perhaps suggest ways in which it either could question that unity or, alternatively, offer reasons why it could, but should not? (This perhaps returns to your earlier conception of the responsibility of philosophy, a responsibility undergoing serious questioning today.)

Back to the beginning.