Edited (13/01/2019): Jordan Peterson on his Q&A for January has just stated that he and Žižek have a debate tentatively lined up for April in Toronto and he just downloaded 6 of Žižek books to study-up on his material. See Jordan’s announcement here.
Here is an excerpt of Zizek’s critique on Peterson.
(13/07/2019): On the 19/4/2019 The two great public intellectual heavyweights Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Žižek met for their much anticipated debate: Happiness: Capitalism v Marxism. You can read my post about the debate here.
Noam Chomsky hit the nail on the head when discussing Slavov Žižek with words to the effect: ‘Where’s the theory? Where’s the content? It’s just posturing’. I have watched a fair few videos of Žižek and I fail to find anything of substance/empirical in his discussions. I can’t help but agree with Chomsky’s opinion of Žižek. Take Peterson or even Chomsky for that matter, there is a lot of substance and empirical data behind a lot of what they have to say. I just don’t see that when I listen to Žižek.
Jordan Peterson isn’t an empirical theorist exactly. He reflects heavily on Jungian psychoanalysis. Based on his expert determination in the psychoanalytical realm he believes that a Jungian psychoanalytical voice transfigured into layman’s speak is required in the world right now. Dr Peterson has single-handedly brought contemporary empirical psychoanalysis data out from the cobwebs of fancy psycho-babble journal articles and applied them to addressing what he deems as fundamental problems in western culture.
The argument by his critics that he really is just a ‘Post-Modernist – Conservative’ I would contend relates principally to his modus operandi when discussing religion, such as his ‘Logos’ interpretation and ‘I act as if God exists’ rhetoric. The former; his explanation / interpretation of ‘the Logos’ and it’s application is a huge paradigm shift in traditional religious thought especially regarding its practical application of the Bible and the metaphorical significance of the archetypes (meta-heroes) and stories (meta-truths) on ‘Judea-Christian’ western culture.
On the latter ‘I act as though God exists’, take for example this exert from the recent interview with British GQ:
The interviewer is trying to insinuate she knows how he thinks and implies there is something illogical in his argument, but he ‘won’t have any of that’ – to use a familiar Peterson turn of phrase. I don’t think that Peterson brought his A game to this interview, but more often than not he slithers out from the interviewers’ grasp and turns the interview on its head illustrating the nonsensical nature of the questions and disingenuous motives of the interviewers. More over, very few can match his command of the English language and his ability to make a reasonable argument.
Peterson has said ten’s of times in other interviews that the Bible is not science. To him as aforementioned the stories in the bible encapsulate spiritual truths or meta-truths and the archetypes are like meta-heroes. How many more times does he have to repeat the same thing until people understand this? Regarding Peterson’s answer: ‘I act as if God exists’, critics jump on Peterson’s apparent reluctance to just simply express a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to that age-old question ‘Do you believe in….’? The irony is Jesus was just as elusive in the gospels when asked similar questions about his divinity by mainly those wanting to trap him. I think Peterson’s answer is deftly nuanced and is in harmony with his Logos interpretation.
Wait! Jordan Peterson has already debated Slavoj Zizek on the Rueben Report.