Questioning of axioms is great, but it's when I stop questioning the arbitrarity of axioms and start on their 'artificiality' that I fall into trouble; to question the basis of axioms would be to argue against the monarchic structure of cells, the tyrannic power of the nervous system, to ask for a silent spoken language.
This is probably because I'm confounding definitions and functions. Axioms aren't objects or foundations -- or rather, foundations aren't objects, they're functions. A definition survives by excluding its outside -- but are functions established on the 'basis' (ha! there again!) of this opposition?
Who is it that talks about this? Deleuze? Flow? But I need to think more, write more, and after that read more...
Oh, and A. O. Scott says it, get it, pins part of it down. yes yes. The Best Mind of His Generation, A. O. Scott, The New York Times, Sept 20, 2008.
"When, as an undergraduate with a head full of literary theory and a heartsick longing for authenticity, I first encountered David Foster Wallace, I experienced what is commonly called the shock of recognition. Actually, shock is too clean, too safe a word for my uncomfortable sense that not only did I know this guy, but he knew me. He could have been a T.A. in one of my college courses, or the slightly older guy in Advanced Approaches to Interpretation who sat slightly aloof from the others and had not only mastered the abstruse and trendy texts everyone else was reading, but also skipped backward, sideways and ahead. It was impressive enough that he could do philosophy -- the mathematical kind, not just the French kind. But he also played tennis -- Mr. Wallace, in fact, had competed seriously in the sport -- and could quote lyrics from bands you only pretended you'd heard of. Without even trying, he was cooler than everyone else.
All this shone through Mr. Wallace's fiction. He had the intellectual moves and literary tricks diagrammed in advance: the raised-eyebrow, mock-earnest references to old TV shows and comic books; the acknowledgment that truth was a language game. He was smarter than anyone else, but also poignantly aware that being smart didn't necessarily get you very far, and that the most visible manifestations of smartness -- wide erudition, mastery of trivia, rhetorical facility, love of argument for its own sake -- could leave you feeling empty, baffled and dumb."