Are obscurantists unethically self-indulgent, uncharitable in not writing more readably?



Is it rational or levelheaded to regard obscurantists as brash, unprincipled, and self-centered? That's how I feel when I try to read their writing.

I refer only to those obscurantists who can, but have forsaken to, write plainly. I'm not chiding obscurantists who are incapable of writing plainly.

Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Butler, Professor of English Literature at Oxford University.

p. 8

Postmodernists, who were rightly enthusiasts for ‘liberating’ ethical and political doctrines, were at the same time immensely dependent on the extraordinary prestige of these new intellectual authorities, whose influence was not a little sustained by their heavy reliance upon a neologizing jargon, which imparted a tremendous air of difficulty and profundity to their deliberations and caused great difficulties to their translators. According to the American philosopher John Searle:

p. 9

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p. 10

scholarly journal Philosophy and Literature. It may or may not become clearer to the reader by the end of this book, and it comes from Homi Bhabha’s much referred to The Location of Culture (1994).

If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses of discipline, soon the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities and classification can be seen as the desperate effort to ‘normalise’ normally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality.

Understand Postmodernism: A Teach Yourself Guide, by Glenn Ward BA in fine art (painting), University of Plymouth, 1990; MA in Visual Culture, Bath Spa University, 1992; PhD in film studies, University of Sussex, 2011. p. 191.

Psychoanalysis can therefore learn much from linguistics and should look harder at the linguistic processes involved in reading and speaking. For this reason Lacan’s writing is, like Jacques Derrida’s, dense with puns and wordplay. The unconscious, for Lacan, manifests itself in the way words fail to work. Thus the client in effect speaks the unconscious into being.


Posted 2018-08-24T05:12:29.790

Reputation: 271

Question was closed 2018-10-08T13:37:49.360

Yes. Unless they're doing so for the sake of art. In which case they should make this clear. – None – 2018-08-31T17:25:40.783

1There seems to be a mix-match of targets or referents in your question. The very term "obscuritanists" seems to imply an intentional desire "to be obscure", which might apply to some one, but would not those who have very precise defined rationales for their styles of engagement e.g. Derrida and Lacan (as your very quote about their concerns for the unconscious demonstrates). So is the question 'Are "obscuritanists" unethical?' Or 'Is the lack of simplicity (or conformity with a readers expectations) unethical?' – ClearMountainWay – 2018-08-31T22:20:51.273

@ClearMountainWay Can I ask both questions? – Vast – 2018-09-06T03:30:00.843

No answers