Philosophy and Toilet Design


In a September 2004 issue of the London Review of Books, trendy Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zisek made the point that the essential ideological differences in German, French, and British- American societies, as noted by G. W. F. Hegel and others, can be represented by their countries' respective toilet designs.

The German toilet's evacuation hole is in the front, facilitating "inspection and analysis," but the French design places the hole in the rear, so that waste disappears quickly.

The British-American toilet allows floatation, which of course signals that society's "utilitarian pragmatism." Zisek described his theory as an "excremental correlative-counterpoint" to a framework identified with French philosopher Claude Levi-Strauss.

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