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Down the Memory Hole

After repeated, unexplained censorship of a comment I first posted April 5, 2011 on the continuumphilosophy.typepad.com blog, on April 20, 2011 I posted the following comment, "Down the Memory Hole," here: http://continuumphilosophy.typepad.com/continuum_philosophy/2010/09/new-philosophy-catalogue-2011-now-online.html.

It would seem that, finally, Continuum Books has been shamed into halting, or at least moderating, its censorship, while nevertheless continuing their unethical behavior concerning a volume that can be described as a scab translation (see "Gabriel Rockhill and Continuum Books: A New Exemplification of “The Rising Tide of Insignificancy.” Or, How a Philosopher Chose the Path of Deception and Failed to Honor His Word In Order to Gain the Dubious Distinction of Publishing A Scab Translation of the Work of Cornelius Castoriadis"

Down the Memory Hole

I posted the following comment here: http://continuumphilosophy.typepad.com/continuum_philosophy/2011/02/castoriadis-hot-off-the-press.html

“Please be advised that this highly de-politicized translation by Gabriel Rockhill, which you mention, is in fact a scab translation. See http://www.kaloskaisophos.org.pagesperso-orange.fr/rt/rtdac/rtdactf/rtdac-gabriel-rockhill--continuum-books.htm . A reliable, politically engaged and philosophically honest translation of these texts, plus many others on the same subject, may be found at http://www.notbored.org/PSRTI.pdf under the title Postscript on Insignificancy, including More Interviews and Discussions on the Rising Tide of Insignificancy, followed by Five Dialogues, Four Portraits and Two Book Reviews. Translated from the French and edited anonymously as a public service. Electronic publication date: March 2011.”

The first time around, this informative comment was summarily censored by continuumphilosophy.typepad.com through its removal without explanation and without even any indication (a highly irregular method of proceeding for a list that supposedly allows discussion). Down the Memory Hole! Continuum Books seemed to have preferred to hide information from consumers rather than let them know what is being said about their controversial book, whose ethical character has been called into question.

So, the second time I posted this comment, I added the following, um, “Postscript”: “This note was originally posted April 5 but was apparently censored by Continuum. Let’s see whether Continuum seeks to start a new controversy by censoring this remark a second time....” Unsurprisingly--that is, of course, if one confuses the love of wisdom (philosophy) with mere business as usual and self-promotion shed of all possibility of criticism--this comment was censored a second time and sent back down the Orwellian Memory Hole.

Finally, continuumphilosophy.typepad.com has solved the problem by announcing: “The comments to this entry are closed.” Still no indication that the only comment (or the only one we know of...), already posted twice there, was secretly removed by continuumphilosophy.typepad.com itself. So, in addition to censorship not once but twice, thereby denying consumers the opportunity to know what is being said about a volume they might contemplate buying, Continuum Books now believes that the best way to promote the writings of--of all people!--Cornelius Castoriadis, one of the leading revolutionary thinkers of the second half of the twentieth century, is not to allow anyone to say anything. By itself alone, this series of highly unphilosophical actions demonstrates beyond any doubt the dishonest and dishonorable character of this Castoriadis book project and of the publishing company that produced it.

Continuum Books’s actions also wonderfully illustrate a key point Castoriadis made several times: the capitalist business enterprise is a mini-totalitarian society comparable to the “totalitarian bureaucratic capitalism” of Russia and China in their heyday. What’s the difference between what continuumphilosophy.typepad.com has just done here and the sort of internet censorship we’ve recently witnessed in the Arab world, in China, and elsewhere, except the scope? Of note, included at the end of Postscript on Insignificancy http://www.notbored.org/PSRTI.pdf is a book review by Castoriadis where he asks under what social-historical conditions philosophy can be freely practiced and under what social-historical conditions its free pursuit is stifled. It’s worth reading. You won’t find that chapter in the unethical Continuum Books volume.

Does Gabriel Rockhill, a “professor” of Philosophy at Villanova, approve of censorship and prevention of criticism? Does the “Association Cornelius Castoriadis” www.castoriadis.org approve of censorship and prevention of criticism? Does its President, Vincent Descombes, approve of censorship and prevention of criticism? Do the Castoriadis heirs, Zoé, Sparta, and Cybèle Castoriadis, approve of censorship and prevention of criticism?

Let’s see how long it is before continuumphilosophy.typepad.com disgracefully censors this comment, too.

It is to be noted that this is not the first time that a publisher of a scab translation of the writings of Cornelius Castoriadis has resorted to threats of censorship as a way of trying to avoid criticism. See "'Amazon has been directed to remove and block all posts from you.' Fordham University Press Editorial Director Helen Tartar Responds to Criticism of Book She Published By Threatening Censorship."