“Games Critics Play” by Carter Kaplan

Games Critics Play is an article with imaginative associations and different topics intertwined. Kaplan is combining the philosophy of Wittgenstein with literature theory.

Kaplan points out that critics can read a text differently. One can say that critics are playing different reading games. Examples of reading games includes treating the text as an artefact, a script, a subtext or a supersubtext;

Artifact games are those games that involve the critic with the physical, phenomenological text itself. […] Bibliographical critics look at a literary work as an artifact. They consider its manufacture, the style of its print, the type of paper upon which this print was applied, how these papers are gathered and sewn or glued together.

Scriptural games are those games that involve the critic with descriptions of setting, plot, characters, and the characters’ most overt motives.

A subtextual critic might consider the political, economic, psychological or ideological variables in the author’s environment that explain why the author consciously or “unconsciously” made certain creative decisions.

The supersubtextual text involves the critic in a game played in a hall of mirrors where author, character, setting, critic, ideology and culture reflect upon one another, usually to the embarrassment of all involved. […] Utilizing the techniques of parody, pastiche, multiple coding, and self-referential.

Reading games, can also be divided into Accurate reading and Appropriative reading. I won’t go into details on this, but the accurate/appropriative split seems to have much in common with the Rorty/Khunian split between ”normal discourse” and ”abnormal discourse”.

Kaplan presents a table of Dialectical Traditions, including the Cat-alytic (mix of the words cathegorical, analytic and catalyst) and the Syn-aestetic (mix of words synthetic and aestetic).
In a previous post on this blog I presented a table on Philosophy and Science, claiming that Philosophy is Logic, Analytic, Deductive and A priori whilst Science is Empiric, Synthetic, Inductive and A posteriori. Link here:
Distinguishing between philosophy and science with help of Wittgenstein
Kaplan does just the oppsite, and puts Philosophy in the same category as the Empiric, Synthetic, Inductive and A posteriori (that is the Syn-aestetic cathegory). And just as I used Wittgenstein to support my points, Kaplan uses Wittgenstein to support his points.
I find it peculiar that Kaplan puts philosophy in the synthetic/empirical category. Personally I wouldn’t say that philosophy is empiric, but I wouldn’t want to say I disagree with Kaplan either, before I understand what he means by claiming it.

I may write more on Carter Kaplan later on. He has written a book on Wittgenstein and literary theory entitled Critical Synoptics: Menippean Satire and the Analysis of Intellectual Mythology, which appears interesting!

Link to article:
Link to Carter Kaplans blog:

Related posts @ Recollecting Philosophy
“Reading literature and doing philosophy” by Dawn M Wilson
What justifies our meta-analysis?


About Dandre

Former student of philosophy, maths and literature. Now studying master program in sociology. Some thinkers of central interest include Ludwig Wittgenstein, C. G. Jung and Pierre Bourdieu.
This entry was posted in Game theory / game analysis, Language and communication, Literature and art, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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