Está en la página 1de 208

PARADIGM

Research

The
Anti-
Kritik
Handbook
The Anti-Kritik Handbook
by Roger Solt

Copyright © 2004 by Paradigm Research, Inc. All rights reserved.

First Edition Printed In The United States Of America

For information on Paradigm Debate Products:


PARADIGM RESEARCH
P.O. Box 2095
Denton, Texas 76202
Toll-Free 800-837-9973
Fax 940-380-1129
Web /www.oneparadigm.com/
E-mail service@oneparadigm.com

All rights are reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be
reproduced by any means - graphic, electronic, or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and
retrieval systems - without the written permission of the publisher.
Making copies of this book, or any portion, is a violation of United
States and international copyright laws.
PARADIGM
Research

The
Anti-
Kritik
Handbook
THE ANTI-KRITIK HANDBOOK

Copyright 2004
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

INDEX TO THE ESSAYS

I. INTRODUCTION

II. DEFINING THE KRITIK

III. TYPES OF KRITIKS


- language kritiks
- pure philosophical kritiks (metaphysical and epistemological)
- practical philosophical kritiks (moral and political)
- accompanying theoretical arguments

IV. THE KRITIK'S INTELLECTUAL BACKGROUND


- characteristic beliefs of the modern world view
- characteristic beliefs of postmodernism
- historical development of modern and postmodern perspectives

V. ANSWERING THE KRITIK


A. The case for the kritik
B. General tactics
C. General arguments against the kritik
- not germane in policy debate
- some assumptions necessary
- no alternative
- conditionality
- indictments of postmodernism and deconstruction
- answers to the case for the kritik
D. Generic answers to language kritiks
E. Generic answers to metaphysical kritiks
F. Generic answers to epistemological kritiks
G. Generic answers to moral and political kritiks
H. Answers to specific kritiks
1. Reason
2. Causality
3. Foucault
4. Heidegger/posthumanism
5. Normativity
6. Statism
7. Critical legal studies
8. Feminism
9. Anthropocentrism
10. Narrative
11. Non-violence
12. Cultural Relativism
13. Nuclearism
14. Threat Construction
15. Pragmatism
16. Terror Talk
I. Kritiks of Environmentalism and International Relations
- Deep Ecology
- Social Ecology
- Ecofeminism
- Heidegger
- Kritiks of International Relations Realism and Liberalism
- Radical Environmentalism
J. Counter-Kritiks

VI. A FINAL NOTE ON THE HANDBOOK'S ORGANIZATION


The Anti-Kritik Handbook

Countering The Kritik:


An Introductory Essay

INTRODUCTION what is frequently called "postmodern" thought. They also tend to


fit within recognizable categories to which various kinds of generic
The kritik began its controversial career in academic debate at the answers are possible. The key to coping with the kritik, I think, is
University of Northern Iowa inter-collegiate debate tournament in understanding. Once one understands the intellectual background
September 1991. At that tournament, teams from the University of to the kritik, then dealing with particular kritiks becomes less
Texas combined what was essentially a critical legal studies daunting and difficult.
critique of rights with a theoretical argument concerning the nature
of fiat. The result was a new form of debate argument: the "kritik." The evidence included in this handbook performs several
Immediately controversial, the kritik was also almost immediately functions. You will find many cards answering particular kritiks.
successful. Different kritiks (and even kinds of kritiks) proliferated, But you will also find many cards indicting the general approach
and use of the kritik spread rapidly from squad to squad. Quickly which the kritik embodies. You will also find plenty of evidence
penetrating the high school ranks, the kritik proved even more indicting the method and assumptions of the kritik itself--criticisms
popular with some segments of the high school circuit than it had of postmodern philosophy and the process of "deconstruction." The
been in college. goal is to provide evidence and arguments which can be adapted to
any kritik and any kind of kritik you may encounter. In addition,
Though successfully argued in many debates, the kritik has this introduction hopes to further a process of "demystifying" the
remained tremendously controversial. This is because the kritik kritik. It will attempt to define and to describe the various kritiks
attacks many of the most deeply held assumptions about both the which have been run to date. Most importantly, perhaps, it will
nature of policy debate and the nature of the contemporary world. detail some of the real world intellectual background from which
Different kritiks have argued for the rejection of reason, have the kritik emerged. The kritik has perhaps its main root in a
denied the validity of causal predictions, have indicted a focus on tradition of European philosophy which is not easy to comprehend
human welfare, and have even disputed the value of engaging in (nor do I pretend to be an expert on contemporary European
value-laden policy argument at all. Moreover, proponents of the thought), but to deal with the kritik on any but the most superficial
kritik sometimes seem literally to speak a different language. The level requires at least some familiarity with this body of thought.
word "kritik" itself is a German term corresponding to the word Finally, this introduction will review major arguments both for and
"critique" in the English language. The use of the German form by against the kritik.
kritik proponents is not incidental; it is intended to connote the
strangeness and distinctiveness of the argument. But even more Neutrality about the kritik is rare, and I do not pretend to be neutral
significantly, many of the authors quoted in kritik debates, while on the subject myself. I continue to believe that the kritik is on
they write in English also seem to be employing another language, balance bad for debate, especially high school debate. The major
an academic jargon derived largely from recent European thinkers from whom the kritik most directly derives--Heidegger,
philosophy. So it is no wonder that the kritik has proved Foucault and Derrida are difficult and problematic even for
disconcerting: it attacks some deeply held but seldom questioned professional philosophers. For those with next to no philosophical
assumptions, and it does so in a language which often seems background, such thought must be virtually unintelligible.
impenetrable to those outside its inner circle. Many of those who Furthermore, this kind of difficult philosophical thought does not
have lost to the kritik have undoubtedly not known what hit them. seem to translate well into the format and conventions of
contemporary academic debate. The result is that some extremely
Kritiks sometimes embody powerful arguments, but often their cryptic philosophies are selectively reinterpreted (and probably
success rests in important measure on a combination of confusion often misinterpreted) by self-interested participants in a
and shock, shock that some assumptions which seem so competitive activity. These arguments are then presented at a rate
self-evident are actually being questioned and confusion with which makes it difficult to understand even the simplest of
regard to what the particular kritik is actually saying. This arguments. These are not, of course, highly principled objections
handbook offers numerous arguments against particular kritiks, but to the kritik (some more theoretical objections will come later), but
even more importantly it attempts to offer a general framework they do seem to go the heart of how the kritik is employed in
within which to approach kritiks. The kritik, after all, is an practice. Although I find philosophical argument interesting, I have
extremely fluid form of argument. Virtually any argument in yet to hear what I would consider a good kritik debate. In terms
debate could be presented as a kritik, and there are probably therefore of its ultimate product, the kritik seems extremely
millions of implicit assumptions made within debates which could disappointing.
be kritiked. Simply to gather evidence on every kritik which is
relevant to a particular topic and which has actually been run This said, I do not believe that the kritik has been an unadulterated
would be a daunting enterprise. To anticipate all potential kritiks evil. Many of the issues which the kritik raises are interesting, and
is impossible. Fortunately, most kritiks embody some characteristic the attempt to introduce a new argument framework into debate has
themes and concerns. They tend to share a common grounding in certainly stimulated thought. From a personal standpoint, the kritik

i
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

has induced me to become more familiar with a body of individual, actually exists. Each of us lives our lives making
contemporary thought that I had largely neglected previously. I numerous unexamined assumptions. These assumptions in many
have learned a lot from thinking about and trying to respond to the ways structure our world, and according the advocates of the kritik,
kritik. So, while I will probably continue to make occasional satiric it is profoundly liberating to question such assumptions.
digs against the kritik, this handbook represents in sum an attempt
to take the kritik seriously. It makes no real attempt at a balanced Third, the kritik is usually an argument made by the negative. This
exposition (though I do not, of course, wish to misrepresent the is not invariably true. Language kritiks, in particular would seem
views of kritik proponents). This is, after all, the ANTI-kritik to be fair game for either side, and indeed there have been some
handbook. But it now seems clear that to deal with the kritik affirmative kritiks. The affirmative, however, is generally held to
requires a serious and systematic effort. And while I continue to be responsible for advocating something--ordinarily a plan--and for
believe that there are some compelling arguments for why most upholding the resolution. This tends to force the affirmative into a
kritiks are not germane in conventional policy debate, the main comparative mode, opposing what they propose to the status quo.
emphasis of the handbook is to make arguments against particular Most resolutions call for an action, whereas the negative can
kritiks on their merits and against the philosophical assumptions conceivably negate the resolution merely by justifying a suspended
which they employ. Jon Brody has argued that believers in liberal judgment or by negating the affirmative case while not defending
humanism and scientific rationalism should welcome the a constructive alternative of its own. This view of the negative's
opportunity to defend their core assumptions. This handbook and role, it should be added, is not unique to the kritik. For hypothesis
this essay are, in part at least, attempts to do just that. testers, the negative did not need to defend an alternative (though
that usually helped), but merely needed to persuade the judge that
DEFINING THE KRITIK he or she should not endorse the resolution. And even the stock
issues paradigm allowed the negative the option of straight
Proponents of the kritik are reluctant to ascribe to it a formal refutation--to simply indict the affirmative case's internal
definition. Since they see it as properly a highly fluid argument coherence without necessarily supporting an alternative. The policy
form, they see definition as a restraint on its potential evolution. making paradigm, of course, has generally insisted that both sides
But for those trying to respond to the kritik, a definition is defend well-articulated constructive alternatives.
useful--it helps to pin it down. So, with the reservation that the
kritik is an evolving theory, I propose the following definition: a Fourth, a related point is that the kritik rarely embraces a policy
kritik is an argument operating outside the framework of normal, alternative. The kritik is not totally non-comparative; it necessarily
comparative policy debate, attacking a (usually implicit) offers some theory, whether it be about morals or metaphysics,
assumption of an opponent's analysis. which it is willing to compare to the affirmative's theory. But the
fact that the kritik may offer an alternative theory does not mean
I wish to highlight several points about this definition. First, it that it offers an alternative policy. For kritik proponents, an
suggests that the kritik is a non-policy argument. This is not a alternative theory about some aspect of the world seems to bee
statement which all kritik proponents would accept. Bill Shanahan, enough. Kritik opponents, however, generally argue that the
for example, who is probably the leading pro-kritik theoretician, counter-theories the kritik may raise are irrelevant unless they are
insists that the kritik can function both within and outside the shown to support a specific policy alternative.
policy framework. This corresponds to a distinction found among
some non-debate scholars between internal and external critiques. Finally, fifth, the kritik is, in at least a broad sense, a conditional
The problem here may turn in part on two somewhat distinctive argument. That is it is made with other inconsistent arguments. The
meanings of "critique." In common usage, a critique is a kind of claim is made that the kritik functions like a topicality argument.
systematic criticism of a position. In that sense, debate has always For the affirmative to justify some basic assumption is said to be
possessed critiques--every affirmative case is a critique of the a threshold test which must be met before the specifics of
status quo and every lNC a critique of the affirmative. A "kritik," affirmative policy analysis become relevant. But, according to this
however seems distinctive precisely because it steps outside the perspective, the fact that the affirmative assumption has been
normal policy framework. Arguments within the policy framework proven does not mean that its plan is a good idea, merely that it's
may still be "critiques," but they are not necessarily "kritiks" in the an idea we can now consider on its merits. Some kritiks, however,
technical debate sense. Or, to put it another way, a kritik which was seem to function more like conditional counterplans. The kritik of
seen as functioning within the normal policy framework would be statism, for example, is often just a way of recasting the old
dealt with essentially like any other policy argument; it is only if anarchy counterplan--in a way which avoids normal standards of
it challenges that framework that it becomes distinctive or acquires negative competitiveness, fiat, and conditionality. More broadly,
theoretical interest. the kritik may represent (when combined with other positions) a
kind of waffling between contradictory world views. Whether it is
Second, the kritik attacks usually unstated assumptions. Again, appropriate to both attack a basic philosophical position and then
were the kritik countering explicit claims made by the affirmative, to proceed to make negative arguments within the framework
it would seem to be functioning in the normal policy framework. which has been attacked is a question for later discussion. For the
Instead, it generally attempts to move the debate to a higher (or present, descriptive and definitional purpose, it is enough to note
occasionally a lower) level of abstraction. Whereas the affirmative that the kritik frequently operates in just such a way, both attacking
may have argued for a specific immigration policy, the kritik will the affirmative's framework and arguing against the affirmative's
question whether there should be borders (or even a state) at all. plan within that same framework.
Or, in response to a rights advantage, the kritik might question
whether the "autonomous subject," that is, the free self-determining TYPES OF KRITIKS

ii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

As with definition, the categorization of kritiks is something which important than policy. No policy is actually adopted at the end of
kritik proponents sometimes resist. The process of categorization the debate, but our linguistic patterns can actually be affected. At
is believed to be part of a process of excessive rationalization the very least, it is argued, language counts for something and
which the kritik and its intellectual mentors often attack. It should should be a factor in the decision calculus.
also be noted that some kritiks fit into more than one category, and
that categories in general should be regarded as provisional and can The second major type of kritik is what I have called pure
sometimes become too rigid. All of that said, it should be added philosophical kritiks. There are basically two subcategories of this
that categorization seems to be a necessary tool of human type of kritik, kritiks which focus on metaphysical questions and
understanding. Categories are fluid, and the importance of certain kritiks which focus on epistemological issues. Metaphysics
categories will certainly change with time, but they remain involves the first principles of philosophy. It is concerned with
necessary analytical instruments. questions such as the existence of God, free will, human nature,
and the nature of being. Whereas metaphysics asks questions about
In practice, there seems to be some degree of consensus about the the ultimate nature of reality, epistemology concerns itself with the
various types of kritiks, both among proponents and opponents of nature and possibility of knowledge. Questions of empiricism, the
the strategy. First, there are language kritiks (sometimes referred rational foundations of knowledge, the philosophy of science, and
to as kritiks of rhetoric). Second, there are what I would call "pure the logical status of morality are all epistemological issues.
philosophical" kritiks. These are sometimes referred to as kritiks of
thought or systems of thought. Third, there are what I will call The pure philosophy kritiks question some core philosophical
"practical philosophical" kritiks. These are sometimes referred to assumptions of an opponent's analysis. One metaphysical kritik
as kritiks of value or as moral and political kritiks. Finally, there involves questioning the idea of the "subject." We have
are arguments pertaining to the framework of the kritik, arguments traditionally thought of the subject or self as a unified ego, an
about the nature of fiat and of the debate process. These could be integrated and autonomous individual. This kritik argues that the
treated as a separate fourth category, as something like "kritiks of integrated self is in fact a myth. Rather than unified wholes, people
the debate process," but since they generally operate in conjunction are an ever shifting composite of disparate elements. One is not the
with other kritiks, it seems better to simply think about them as same self today that one was yesterday, or the same self in one
theory arguments expounding the impact of the other types of setting that one is in another. Going along with the kritik of the
kritik. subject is a kritik of free will. This argument, which frequently
forms a part of the kritik of normativity, asserts that freedom is an
There are three main types of language kritiks. First, there are illusion, and that autonomous, self-determination is also mythical.
kritiks of the language embodied in the resolution. Second, there Since affirmative analysis arguably rests on belief in just such an
are kritiks of language found in opponents' evidence. Third, there autonomous individual, its case is fundamentally flawed. Other
are kritiks of the language or rhetoric used by the opposing team metaphysical kritiks are possible to imagine. One might kritik the
members themselves. existence of an objective, external, material reality. Indeed, radical
empiricism of the type proposed by Bishop George Berkeley, an
A number of examples should help to clarify these distinctions. eighteenth century British philosopher, suggests just such a kritik.
One of the earliest common kritiks centered around the wording of The famous question which Berkeley asked is whether when a tree
the 1991-92 college topic concerning development assistance to falls in the forest, but no one is there, it makes a sound. He
South Asia. The argument made was basically that the term concluded that we have no basis in our experience for concluding
"development," as embodied in the resolution was inherently that it does, that all we directly know are our sense experiences,
ethnocentric. To call one part of the world developed and the other and therefore that the external world is cast into doubt. As a
undeveloped implies concepts of superiority and inferiority and minister, Berkeley had a way out of this dilemma: the
therefore should be rejected. Another kritik of resolutional omnipresence of God serves to secure an enduring reality whether
language has centered on the term "and/or." This has been said (by humans are around or not. But the negative in a debate need not
some overly finicky grammarians, I would suppose) to be a make this final religious retreat from skepticism. A kritik of the
"grammatical abomination." Since the topic embodies such an existence of other minds would also be possible. Since we only
abomination, it therefore should be rejected. A common kritik of directly experience our own existence, we can only infer but never
a term often found in evidence is the kritik of "Islamic positively prove that other selves exist. If we don't even know that
fundamentalism." The argument is that this phrase embodies a other selves exist, then it might be futile to argue about what
derogatory ethnic stereotype, that it conjures up images of potentially unreal public actors should do about some alleged
turban-wielding bomb throwers, which is both demeaning to a problem. (Of course, if other minds don't exist, the judge might
group of people and an intellectually stultifying stereotype. well wonder what he or she is doing judging this debate.)
Another such kritik is directed at "nuspeak " This argues that
rhetoric which trivializes the nuclear threat, using, for example, a Metaphysical kritiks represent a kind of reductio ad absurdum, and
dehumanizing jargon such as "nuking" another country, makes they are likely to stir the greatest resistance among judges. In fact,
nuclear war more thinkable and therefore more likely. Other kritiks though various kritiks may contain metaphysical elements, purely
have been made referring to the language of race, gender, and metaphysical kritiks are rarely run. Much more common are
sexual orientation. various epistemological kritiks. Among these is the kritik of cause.
This kritik derives from another eighteenth century British
Why are such language kritiks a voting issue? Basically, the philosopher, David Hume. Hume noted that we can never directly
following argument is made. Language matters; it structures our observe causation. All we can do is to observed repeated sequences
world view and thereby our actions. Arguably, it is even more of events, that eating alleviates hunger or drinking satisfies thirst,

iii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

for example. Inductive reasoning is based on just such a process of are a number of readily accessible kritiks of science which may be
repeated observation. Nonetheless, causal relations and inductive forthcoming at some later date. Among these is the argument that
reasoning remain logically uncertain. We do not know, as a matter reality is socially constructed. The way we view the world is
of logical certainty, that the future will repeat the past. merely a function of social mores, training, and outlook. Science
Furthermore, the observed sequence of events might just be is therefore wrong in claiming to reveal an objective external
coincidental and not causally necessary. As applied to debate, the reality. As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche suggested,
argument follows that if we cannot logically make causal there are no facts, only interpretations. Feminist and
predictions, then there is no reason to believe that the affirmative environmentalist kritiks of science are also available. Science is
plan will actually solve the problem to which is it is addressed. said to be a masculine way of viewing the world, as opposed to the
more intuitive and empathetic female ways of knowing.
A second epistemological kritik takes issue with the idea of reason Environmentalists tend to disparage the way in which science
or rationality. In intellectual history, the seventeenth and analyzes the holistic natural world into component parts. In an
eighteenth centuries are commonly referred to as the early nineteenth century critique of the scientific approach to
Enlightenment or the Age of Reason. Though certainly not the only nature, the romantic poet Wordsworth noted that "We murder to
rationalistic period in human history, the Enlightenment was dissect." And, his more recent followers might add, in the process
definitely an era in which reason was venerated and believed to of dissecting, we falsify the nature of the whole; our categories
hold a solution to many if not all social problems. This faith in attempt to break apart an indissoluble unity.
reason has, over time, generated many critics, from religious
conservatives to romantic writers to postmodern philosophers. Why should these highly abstract philosophical kritiks constitute
There is not, therefore, just one kritik of reason; there are many. voting issues in debate? At least two answers seem to be possible.
Among the common arguments directed against reason are the First, it might be argued these are the most fundamental of issues,
following. Reason is an instrument of domination and oppression. and the unexamined life is not worth living. A second, more
As French philosopher Michel Foucault argued, in establishing the pragmatic, answer is that policy questions rest ultimately on these
category of "reason" we create simultaneously the counter-category metaphysical and epistemological assumptions. If they are proven
of unreason or madness. And speech which we define as "not untrue (or least cast into serious doubt), then there is no basis left
reason", we then feel free to ignore. Another argument is that for voting affirmative.
reason is impotent when it comes to moral questions. This view,
also associated with Hume, holds that reason is purely The third basic type of kritik is what I have called a practical
instrumental; values are merely subjective preferences about which philosophical kritik. Rather than dealing with questions of pure
reason ultimately has nothing to say. But the idea that reason is reason, such as metaphysics and epistemology, these kritiks deal
purely instrumental has also been subject to critique. It is argued with the questions of practical reasons in particular questions of
that a narrowly focused, purely instrumental reason undermines ethics and politics. These kritiks are obviously closer to policy
imagination, intuition, and empathy. At its worst, it may lead to debate in the way in which it has commonly been practiced.
atrocities such as the holocaust in which highly "rational" and Nonetheless, they still operate at a relatively high level of
efficient techniques are employed in the pursuit of morally philosophical abstraction. A number of essentially ethical or moral
barbarous ends. Finally, it is argued that reason lacks firm kritiks have proven popular.
foundations, that it can not validate its own first principles. It is
often said that modern philosophy begins with Rene Descartes in One of these is the kritik of anthropocentism. An anthropocentric
the early 1600s. Descartes' philosophical quest was to find some view is one which centers on humans, and this is an attitude which,
absolutely certain foundation for knowledge. He thought that he from the perspective of the so-called deep ecologists, is
had found such a foundation in his own intuitive certainty of his fundamentally perverse. Humans are not in fact. uniquely
own existence. "I think, therefore I am." important, this kritik would argue, and their tendency to
self-aggrandizement is in fact the root of many of the earth's
More recent philosophers, however, have found even this environmental problems. Rather than being anthropocentric, we
formulation of certainty to be questionable, and have opted instead need to become ecocentric or biocentric. The affirmative, however,
for a doctrine commonly called "antifoundationalism." According by focusing solely on human welfare preserves the anthropocentric
to this position:, there are no certain foundations for knowledge, focus.
either in reason or experience; thus, once again the pretensions of
reason need to be deflated. As the kritik of reason goes in debate, Another, closely related kritik, has been labeled "posthumanism."
affirmative analysis relies on reason, but reason is inherently This kritik derives from the work of German philosopher Martin
flawed; thus, the basis of affirmative analysis has been undermined Heidegger. Heidegger's argument (and his technophobia) in many
and there is no reason to vote affirmative. ways parallels that of the deep ecologists. Most of the world's
problems are linked to human self--centeredness. Instead of
Sometimes the kritik of statism has taken on an epistemological focusing on human being, attention should be directed to the nature
flavor. It has been argued that the affirmative assumes that the state of Being in general. Were we to do this, we would reject the
is a rational actor, one whose behavior is predictable. But if in fact narrow self-centered concerns of humans and become post-
as the negative argues, the state's behavior is irrational and humanists.
unpredictable, then there is no basis for concluding that the
affirmative plan will make things better rather than worse. A third ethical kritik is the popular kritik of normativity. A
normative question asks what should be done. But to raise
Though I have not yet heard them formally argued in debate, there normative questions in a policy context, it is said, assumes that

iv
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

humans are free, politically efficacious beings. The normativity first amendment and the right to privacy are in effect used to
kritik questions just this assumption, arguing that people are in fact preserve male dominance.
determined and that political power is really held not by the people
but by impersonal bureaucratic forces not subject to democratic Though both CLS and feminist arguments against rights and the
control. To ask what should be done, therefore, merely masks the rule of law have been made as kritiks, they have probably been
reality of our political impotence. made more often simply as policy arguments either turning or
neutralizing affirmative value claims. And whether or not they are
Deontological arguments, that is, claims that something should be presented as kritiks does not really alter their logical force very
done because it is morally right, regardless of its consequences, are much. Given this, it isn't clear that it is worth taking on the added
sometimes treated as if they were a species of ethical kritik. I theoretical baggage to run these arguments as kritiks, though of
believe that this is a misunderstanding. While one could certainly course their impact could be articulated both in kritik and
construct and label a deontological argument as a kritik, there is no non-kritik terms.
real value in doing so. Deontological arguments can function
within the realm of policy discourse. The abortion debate, for Another popular kritik has been the kritik of statism. This argument
example, centers around questions of moral rights and wrongs has taken several forms. In its most common incarnation it seems
more than it does on the actual consequences of banning abortion. to be essentially a recasting of the familiar anarchy counterplan.
And if deontology is proven to be the proper moral perspective, The affirmative employs the state, but the state is inherently
then a deontological argument is almost always by nature absolute. oppressive and destructive; therefore every policy which employs
In other words, it need not be cast into the form of a kritik in order the state should be rejected. Another version of the statism kritik
to be a voting issue. focuses on the effectiveness of state action. It basically argues that
the state never succeeds in what it sets out to accomplish, that its
Essentially political kritiks are also among the most common. efforts are as likely to be counterproductive as successful. Thus,
Probably the earliest kritik was a kritik of rights grounded in a once again, state action should be rejected. Finally, the notion that
perspective known as critical legal studies. Critical legal studies the state is neither a rational nor a predictable actor has been
became popularized in the 1970s and 1980s. The critique of rights, discussed above as an example of an epistemological kritik.
however, is far older. The utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham
was a forceful critic of the doctrines of natural rights popular in the Related to statism is a kritik very popular on the high school
later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Even more immigration topic, a kritik of borders. Borders inherently limit free
influential was Karl Marx's "kritik" of rights. According to Marx, movement of people and generally tend to reinforce inequality; so,
the appeal to rights is merely an ideological mask for class the kritik goes, they need to be rethought. One problem with this
oppression. kritik is that it offered no clear alternative to the present system.
Anarchy would be a world without borders, but so perhaps would
The CLS kritik in many ways parallels the Marxist, but it goes be a state of world government. And even within the present nation
even further. Rights claims, CLS authors such as Georgetown's state system, a regime of completely open borders would be
Mark Tushnet argue, are inherently indeterminate; that is, one possible. The kritik of borders thus seems to have provided a way
rights claim can always be countered by another rights claim in a for the negative to covertly run three radically utopian conditional
way which is ultimately irresolvable. Furthermore, the emphasis on counterplans in the same round.
rights leads to a process of "reification." This means that rights
which are merely empty abstractions, are treated as if they were Another kritik which has gained some currency is one which
actually something real. And in the process actual human interests indicts the idea of "the national interest," especially in contrast to
and experiences are neglected. CLS also provides the basis for "foreign" interests. Focus on the national interest (assuming that
another common kritik, one of the rule of law. The argument here such a concept is even coherent) tends to be xenophobic; that is, it
is similar to the argument against rights. The idea is that the rule of excludes and marginalizes "other" people.
law, conceived of as a neutral and objective arbiter of differences,
in fact merely masks the ongoing oppressiveness of an Finally, there have been a number of kritiks based on Michel
economically racially, and sexually hierarchical society. Foucault's theories concerning the nature of social power. Power
has traditionally been conceived of as hierarchical, with the state
Feminist perspectives also have provided the basis for a number of seen as the central focus of power. In contrast, Foucault argues that
kritiks of the political order. The relational feminism of Harvard power is diffused throughout society. Social control is not
psychologist Carol Gilligan contrasts the female "ethic of care" produced primarily by the central authority of the state but rather
with the essentially masculine "ethic of justice." The argument, at is supported by a type of disciplinary power spread throughout the
least in its extreme formulation, is that the ethic of justice is society. The prison is an example of disciplinary power, but so is
excessively legalistic and rule-bound, whereas the ethic of care is the hospital, the asylum, the school, and the workplace
empathetic and compassionate. Other kritiks derive from a school (presumably even the family). The implication of this is that
of legal thought known as feminist jurisprudence, of which political action may be futile; attacking power in one form merely
University of Michigan law professor Catherine MacKinnon is causes it to shift to another manifestation and locale.
probably the most prominent advocate. MacKinnon is especially
critical of the idea of neutral rule of law. Sincere historically Another; related kritik, also based on Foucault, has been labelled
women have been placed at a tremendous disadvantage, "the panopticon." Historically, the panopticon was a model prison
supposedly neutral legal rules merely lock into place preexisting designed by utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Its distinctive
inequalities. Ostensibly neutral procedures and rights, such as the feature was that it provided a central vantage point from which all

v
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

of the prisoners could be observed. For Foucault, the panopticon leading theorists and practitioners. (The two best articles defending
serves as a symbol of liberal reformism run amok. Bentham a great the kritik with which I am familiar are Shanahan's "Kritik of
liberal social reformer, ends up designing more efficient ways to Thinking," published in the 1993 Debater's Research Guide, and
exercise social control. For Foucault this seems to demonstrate the Brody's essay, "The Praxis of Kritiks," available on Harvex.)
limits of liberal reformism--that is always ends up reinforcing the
repression it attempts to alleviate. This, however, is only the label Speaking more broadly, however, the kritik brings together a
of the argument. In its substance it attacks the time honored number of intellectual tendencies both within and outside of
distinction between knowledge and power. According to Foucault, debate. There is a good deal of intellectual background to be
these two concepts have been wrongly separated. The assumption grasped in order to really understand where the kritik is coming
has been that power is always oppressive and knowledge always from. Within debate itself the kritik seems mainly to represent an
liberating. In fact, knowledge and power are inextricably tied. extension of the tabula rasa perspective toward judging.
(Foucault, indeed, uses a composite term "knowledge/power" to
indicate this unity.) Rather than embodying a desire for Tabula rasa judging is an attempt to minimize judge intervention;
disinterested truth, Foucault believes that knowledge is merely it basically accepts all claims made in a debate on their face until
another form of power; knowledge is merely the perspective which they have been answered. One result of a tabula rasa (or blank
those with power succeed in imposing on everyone else. slate) approach is that many arguments tend to be labelled as
Affirmative analysis is said to rest on this false distinction between "voting issues," which would not ordinarily be considered to be so.
knowledge and power, which Foucault labels as "the repressive Similarly, the kritik takes arguments which would not ordinarily be
hypothesis." To reject the repressive hypothesis therefore requires absolute within the traditional policy framework and devises a
rejecting the affirmative. framework intended to make them into voting issues. the kritik also
has some affinities to hypothesis testing, both because it sometimes
In addition to a specific kritik of one of these three types (or some focuses on resolutional rather than specific plan wording and
hybrid thereof), arguments are frequently made pertaining to the because it possesses an orientation toward academic scholarship
framework of the kritik, especially in terms of how it relates to the rather than practical political concerns. The kritik may also
idea of fiat. The initial "kritik of fiat" argued that fiat is utopian, embody vestiges of the old stock issues approach of straight
that no policy is really enacted at the end of the round. And refutation. But, as noted above, it definitely departs from the
because no policy is adopted, the actual effects on the in-round prevailing policy advocacy paradigm.
participants are more important than any policy conclusions which
might be reached. It became clear fairly quickly, however, that the The kritik also has affinities to trends in contemporary politics,
object of the kritik of fiat was something of a strawman. No one especially the politics of the university campus. Over the past few
ever really thought that real policies were put into place at the end years, one of the hottest topics of academic controversy has been
of the debate; all that happens is the judge makes a tentative the idea of "political correctness." One aspect of political
endorsement of one side or the other. And, while this tentative correctness has been a great increase in sensitivity to language
endorsement may not be of earth-shattering significance, it has which might be disparaging to some group. Kritiks of language
some importance because our political judgments do matter--they obviously parallel this political correctness concern.
constitute forces in process of democratic decision-making and
they structure how we respond to our environment. Over time, Most significantly, however, the kritik appears to be an attempt to
advocates of the kritik have come to recognize at least some of this, introduce some of the traditional problems of philosophy into
and their arguments concerning the nature of fiat have been debate. Questions of cause and induction, rationality, and the state
refined. One approach, argued by Jon Brody, is that while policy are all familiar philosophical concerns. But, more particularly,
arguments may matter, they are not the only thing that matters. many if not most kritiks appear to be grounded in a specific
Aspects of the round such as the participants' language also help to philosophical perspective, commonly termed "postmodernism."
structure their view of the world, and therefore should also count (Postmodernism, in turn, has had a good deal of influence on the
in the decision calculus. Another alternative framework for politics of political correctness.)
evaluating the kritik has recently been advanced by Bill Shanahan.
His current position is apparently that a vote for the kritik is "Postmodernism" is on its face a fairly ambiguous term. It is
essentially a decision to "rethink" the idea or assumption in probably most readily grasped as a historical concept. In the
question. In effect, this seems to be an attempt to redefine the kritik traditional division, Western civilization has passed through three
as an alternative (such as a plan or a counterplan) which one can stages: antiquity (the classic Greeks and Romans), the Middle
vote for at the end of the round. We will discuss later on whether Ages, and the modern age. What postmodernism asserts, in part, is
or not this approach really disposes of the "no alternative" problem. that the modern age (or modernity) has ended or is coming to an
end. Postmodernity, therefore is the period coming after the
THE KRITIK'S INTELLECTUAL BACKGROUND modern age. This is paradoxical, of course, since we commonly
equate the modern with the contemporary--that is, we customarily
In terms of its immediate genealogy, the kritik is part of the Austin think of ourselves as living in modern times. Furthermore, to say
sound--it was initially developed by coaches and debaters at the that something comes after the modern age says nothing particular
University of Texas. Probably the most influential of the kritik's about what that something is. The postmodern, it therefore seems,
developers has been Bill Shanahan, though Joel Rollins, Ryan can only be understood in relationship to the modern, and in many
Goodman, and others appear to have been important as well in the ways as a reaction against the modern. Nor is postmodernism a
kritik's initial development. More recently, Jon Brody, another completely unified set of beliefs. Post-structuralism and
University of Texas debater has emerged as one of the kritik's deconstruction, neopragmatism, radical feminism, and critical legal

vi
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

studies, among others, are all considered to be postmodern Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Both
philosophies. of the predominant schools of modern philosophy are rationalistic
in a broad sense. The first school, the continental rationalists
In addition to offering a theory about history, postmodernism can begins with Descartes in the 1630s and continues through Spinoza
be understood as a criticism of and alternative to the prevailing and Leibniz. Later descendants of this view include Kant and
philosophy of modernity. To say that there is a single Hegel. For the continental rationalists the world was objectively
characteristically modern perspective is a vast oversimplification. knowable mainly through reflective thought. Descartes believed
Modern times arguably begin in the Renaissance Italy of the that merely through reflection he could establish various
fourteenth century. Modernity was certainly in full swing by the intellectually foundational truths, beginning with the certainty of
seventeenth century, and it continued at least into the twentieth his own existence. The other major school of modern philosophy,
century. Obviously not all moderns shared a single philosophy any British empiricism, took a very different approach but still arrived
more (and probably less) than all postmoderns do. Nonetheless, at the conclusion that the world is rationally knowable. For the
there are a set of characteristic beliefs which seem to typify the empiricists, the world is knowable through sense experience. This
modern view. Furthermore, it is precisely these characteristic empirical orientation arguably begins with Sir Francis Bacon in the
beliefs which postmodernism tends to attack and the kritik to early 1600s. It was furthered by Hobbes and Locke in the later
indict. So, to understand both postmodernism and the kritik, it seventeenth century and by Berkeley and Hume in the eighteenth
seems necessary to offer some discussion of the general world view century. The utilitarians, such as Bentham and Mill, follow in this
of modernity. empiricist tradition, as do such twentieth century analytical
philosophers as Bertrand Russell and A.J. Ayer.
A belief in humanism is the first characteristic of the modern world
view. If the Middle Ages was the age of faith, the Renaissance and Related especially to empiricism is a fifth characteristically modern
the period which followed it placed far greater emphasis on idea: science. Science was not of course invented in the modern
secular, human concerns in this world rather than in an afterlife. As era, but modernity has been the period in which it flourished. The
Alexander Pope, the eighteenth century poet put it: "The proper seventeenth century was in particular a great period of scientific
study of mankind is man." discovery, with major figures ranging from Galileo to Newton,
Science rests on the belief that the world is knowable through
A second trait of the modern world view is an emphasis on repeated observation and controlled experiment.
individualism. If a secular versus a religious focus is what mainly
separates the modern from the medieval, an emphasis on the A sixth, related idea is progress. The view that human history is
individual rather than on the group (the community or the polis, the essentially progressive, that despite its ups and downs things
city or the state) is what is generally said to separate the modern generally tend to improve, is an old idea, but it is one which was
age from antiquity. In the typically modern view humans are especially pronounced in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
understood first as individuals and only secondly as members of Hegel's philosophy is perhaps the most systematic expression of
groups. This individualistic emphasis is in part an outgrowth of the this idea. Hegel believed that both history and philosophy proceed
Protestant Reformation, which attacked the central authority of the dialectically. In terms of intellectual matters, the dialectic occurs
Catholic Church. An important expression of this attitude is the as follows. One begins with an idea (a thesis). That idea, however,
modern emphasis on individual rights. is likely to be incomplete, and its inadequacies are likely to
generate a counter-idea, or antithesis. This antithesis too, however,
A third typical attitude of modernity is a belief in universalism. is likely to be onesided, so superior understanding is gained if the
This is the idea that values and standards should apply to all people two ideas can be combined to form a synthesis. The new synthesis
equally (or perhaps even to all rational or sentient beings). The two however, is still likely to leave something out; so in effect it
major modern moral philosophies, utilitarianism and Kantian becomes a new thesis, generating a further antithesis, another
deontology, both express this universalism. Utilitarianism seeks to synthesis and so on. (Hegel himself may not have developed the
promote the greatest good for the greatest number. This might dialectic in precisely these terms; they are, however, the terms in
seem like a rather communitarian approach, but for the utilitarian which his philosophy has commonly been understood.)
overall utility is merely the sum of all individual utilities. And in
making this utilitarian calculation, the interests of everyone are to A similar dialectical process occurs in terms of human history. For
count equally. Kant's ethical formula, the categorical imperative, Hegel, history is the working out of the idea of rational freedom,
asserts that it is morally essential to act as if the principle on the its progressive enlargement and completion. Though Hegel's is
basis of which you are acting would be universalized. That is, if obviously a theory of progress, it is a somewhat ambivalent one
you do something, you have to be willing to accept that everyone because he believed that as of the early nineteenth century (the
else would do it too. In another version, Kant argues that the period at which he was writing), the end of history had been
fulfillment of the categorical imperative requires that one always reached. In terms of politics, he saw the early nineteenth century
treat others as ends in themselves, not merely as means to some German state as the perfect embodiment of reason, a view that not
other end. Thus, in effect, Kant unites universalism with too many would embrace today. Furthermore, he saw his own
individualism. He universalizes the principle of respect for each philosophy as the capstone of human thought, the final
individual. philosophical synthesis. Not surprisingly, subsequent philosophers
disagreed; indeed, much of subsequent nineteenth philosophy,
A fourth hallmark of modernity is the belief in rationality. In from Schopenhauer and Kierkegaard to Marx and Nietzsche
essence, this view states that the world is rationally knowable represents a militant reaction against Hegel. Still, despite Hegel's
through observation and reflection. This belief dominated the vagaries, the idea of progress remained extremely influential at

vii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

least until the early twentieth century, when the period of the two particular communities and cultures. From this standpoint, the idea
world wars provided it with something of a setback. of universal human rights would seem especially misguided.

A seventh precept of modernity is the idea of freedom or liberty. A fourth attribute of the postmodern view involves radical
Freedom is a term which is used in an incredible variety of ways, skepticism towards the use of reason. Postmodern thinkers are
but two are important for present purposes. As a metaphysical probably all anti-foundationalists, meaning that they believe that
concept, freedom implies the idea of free will as opposed to there are no certain foundations for human knowledge. They thus
determinism. As a political doctrine it is associated with the belief are skeptical both towards Cartesian rationalism and scientific
that people should possess both personal and political liberty. empiricism. According to the French philosopher Lyotard, what
These beliefs, especially the latter, are associated with the tradition distinguishes the postmodern is its rejection of all "grand
of natural rights and limited government which extends from narratives," that is, all comprehensive explanations of human
Locke to Jefferson and Madison to Mill. reality. According to this perspective, great systems such as
Hegel's, Marx's, or Freud's inevitably fail. Any system is simply
An eighth and final characteristically modern view is the belief in one perspective on the world and therefore is bound to leave
democratic problem solving. The Greeks, of course, are commonly something out. Finally, reason is seen in essentially political terms
credited with having invented democracy, but the great expansion , as an aspect of power rather than a disinterested instrument of
of democratic institutions has occurred only over the past several truth. The kritiks of reason and the Foucault-based kritiks
centuries. The English, American, and French Revolutions were discussed above are obviously grounded in this outlook.
obviously important in the process of democratization, as was the
gradual extension of the franchise throughout the nineteenth and Fifth, for postmodernists, technophobia tends to replace the respect
twentieth centuries. More broadly speaking, the democratic faith for science. On one hand, based on postmodern
appears to be that humans can collectively and rationally solve anti-foundationalism, the unique truth value of science is cast into
problems. The twentieth century American philosopher John doubt; it is merely seen as another, no longer "privileged"
Dewey has been among the foremost exponents of this view, and perspective. On the other hand, science and technology are seen as
it is certainly one of the most fundamental presuppositions profoundly destructive forces, massively increasing the
underlying policy debate--an activity which has been traditionally destructiveness of war and threatening the natural environment.
conceived of as an adjunct to democratic decision making.
Sixth, postmodernism also tends to reject progress. One argument
In contrast to the modern world view, the postmodern perspective is that all "progress" involves costs. The twentieth century may
seems to reject each of these perspectives in all or in part. (It is of have achieved a "higher" standard of living in purely material
course important to remember that there is no one postmodern terms, but it has been at the cost of a loss of religious faith, what
world view. But to be postmodern implies at least a departure from Max Weber, echoing Friedrich Schiller, called "the disenchantment
the perspectives of modernity in some important particular.) of the world." Furthermore, a belief in progress is undermined by
a widespread attitude that non-progressive forces dominate the
First, postmodernism tends to reject humanism. This rejection world, forces of racism, classism, and sexism. The twin threats of
occurs in part on environmental grounds. Humanism is nuclear war and environmental destruction have also cast a deep
anthropocentric, and anthropocentrism is equated with shadow over the idea of progress.
environmental destruction. The most prominent critic of
humanism, however, is probably the German philosopher, Martin Seventh, postmodernism tends to believe in determinism rather
Heidegger. For Heidegger, the tendency to focus on human being than freedom. The individual is seen as trapped in a network of
encourages the forgetfulness of Being in general. (Just what vast impersonal forces. The autonomous self is rejected as a myth,
Heidegger means by Being remains an open question.) The and the individual is seen as totally socially constructed. Again, the
Heideggerian rejection of humanism is associated with a doctrine kritik of normativity is grounded in part in this set of ideas.
commonly termed "posthumanism," the source for a kritik of the
same name. Finally, postmodernism tends to replace the idea of constructive,
democratic problem solving with pure critique. Based on the
Second, postmodern perspectives tend to focus on the group rather assumptions discussed above, it is easy to see why this would be
than the individual. Group identity based on class, race, gender, the case. If reason is inherently flawed, if no grand theories can
ethnicity, or sexual orientation is what is seen as key. This attitude withstand scrutiny, then arguably all that one can do is to debunk
tends to be associated with a kind of cultural determinism, one or deconstruct the theories that other have futilely attempted to
which insists that individuals are socially constructed and that the build. Again, the parallel to the kritik in debate seems obvious.
autonomous individual is a myth. Group orientation seems to be an
important part of "political correctness," and the rejection of the In sum, it seems fair to say that traditional policy debate rests on a
autonomous individual is an important element of the normativity set of assumptions closely associated with the modern world view.
kritik. Similarly, the kritik seems to be associated in general with the
characteristic attitudes and assumptions of postmodernism. This is
Third, postmoderns tend to embrace particularism rather than not to say that all kritiks are grounded in postmodernism. The
universalism. In this regard, outlooks such as cultural relativism kritik of statism is based on anarchist thought which is highly
and communitarianism appear to be characteristically postmodern. rationalistic. Even Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism has been
Both these perspectives would insist that there are no universal turned into a kritik, and Rand would have embraced all of the
values or standards. Rather, values develop over time within characteristic beliefs of modernity as I've described them and none

viii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

of the beliefs of postmodernism. Still the idea of kritik itself seems The eighteenth century is commonly seen as the age of reason, a
closely related to deconstruction, a primary technique of at least period of Enlightenment in which reason was virtually deified.
one branch of postmodern thought. To deconstruct is in effect to (Indeed, at one point in the French Resolution, reason was literally
kritik, to indict without an alternative because in a world of deified.) This stereotypical view of the eighteenth century certainly
overwhelming uncertainties there really are no compelling has some degree of validity. The French philosophers, figures such
alternatives to embrace. as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Diderot, were great believers in
reason both as a means of combating religious prejudice and
Unquestionably, postmodernism is a very important and influential hereditary privilege. The philosopher were for the most part
contemporary intellectual perspective. In fields such as sociology believers in the kind of social engineering of which liberals are still
and literary criticism it has been a pervasive presence; its influence accused today; they believed profoundly in the abilities of the
extends from architecture to law to philosophy. In some sections human mind to progressively reshape social realities. But even at
of academia it has achieved something of the status of an the height of the age of reason, there were counter-tendencies. The
orthodoxy. Still, it would be a mistake to perceive the postmodern radical skepticism of Hume, for example, placed severe limits on
perspective as intellectually triumphant. Certainly outside of the power of reason. And Jean-Jacques Rousseau, though often
academia, characteristically modern attitudes continue to reign classed among the philosopher, was a fervent critic of the modern
supreme, and even within academia postmodernism remains an age. In contrast the highly mannered and artificial society of the
embattled outlook, one challenged by many alternative views. period of Louis XV, Rousseau defended the natural world and the
noble savage.
Postmodernism may well prove to be a kind of intellectual fad,
rather like existentialism was in the 1950s and 1960s. Some The philosophy of the eighteenth century climaxed in the work of
authors even claim that in France, where many of its key ideas the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant. Kant is important for our
originated, postmodernism is already obsolete. At any rate, it is purposes for several reasons. First, Kant popularized the term
certainly not my intent to suggest that there is any kind of "kritik" in the world of philosophy. He wrote three famous
historical inevitability at play in the displacement of modern ideas critiques: THE CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON (concerning
by postmodern ones. The characteristically modern ideas detailed metaphysics and epistemology), THE CRITIQUE OF
above have been challenged but none has been decisively rejected. PRACTICAL REASON (having to do with ethics), and THE
Postmodernism enjoys the benefit of relative novelty, but novelty CRITIQUE OF JUDGMENT (mainly about esthetics). I have
wears out, as the proponents of communism eventually discovered. borrowed Kant's distinction between pure and practical reason in
This said, it still seems worthwhile to spend some time discussing my own categorization of the various types of kritiks. This
how the postmodern perspective emerged, if not to decisively distinction is of more than terminological interest. In terms of pure
displace then certainly to challenge the modern perspective. reason, that is in terms of what we can ultimately know, Kant
remains predominantly a skeptic (even though he purported to be
The modern period is most commonly said to begin with the Italian answering Hume's skepticism). For Kant, pure reason has the
Renaissance of the fourteenth century. Still, it was not until the ability to outline possibilities and alternatives but is largely
seventeenth century that the distinctively modern world view powerless to resolves the dilemmas that it creates. Thus, for
seems to have been in full flower. The 1600s were a great era of example, Kant sees the opposition between free will and
scientific advance, in astronomy and physics especially. Kepler and determinism to be one of the antinomies (oppositions) of pure
Galileo were the great figures of the early part of the century, and reason which pure reason itself is powerless to resolve. Practical
it climaxed in its later years with the development of the reason, however, is concerned with the realm of action, and the
Newtonian system. Newton, in particular, was seen as the great belief in free will is a necessary assumption of all practical activity.
unveiler of the mysteries of nature, and his work greatly expanded This distinction between what we can in theory doubt and what we
the prestige of science. must practically assume in terms of any practical activity such as
politics suggests some limits to the skepticism which the kritik
The 1600s were also the century in which the major schools of embodies. Still, despite his critiques, Kant was essentially a
modern philosophy first distinctively emerged. Descartes attempted rationalist, especially in his ethical theory, in which he believed he
to establish certain foundations for knowledge through a process had established objective and universal standards of morality.
of systematic doubt and concluded by establishing a philosophical
system based on rationalism and mathematics. Francis Bacon, an The nineteenth century in many ways continued the rationalism of
early apostle of the methods of experimental science, and his the eighteenth century. The utilitarian philosophers, most notably
followers, especially John Locke, established British empiricism, Bentham and Mill, followed in the philosophical tradition of
the other leading school of modern philosophy. Locke and Thomas British empiricism, and were active proponents of the use of reason
Hobbes also made important contributions to political philosophy to solve social problems. And Hegel stands as one of the most
developing early versions of the social contract theory. ambitious rationalists in the history of philosophy. But throughout
the nineteenth century, Hegel's belief in the supremacy of reason
Yet even in the seventeenth century, one of the most significant in was attacked in numerous ways. Schopenhauer downplayed the
terms of modern science and philosophy, the modern view was importance of reason and stressed "the will to life" as the main
subject to extensive criticism. Its main attackers at this point were motivation. Kierkegaard rejected reason in favor of religious faith.
Add religious conservatives, such as those members of the And Marx, of courser is said to have turned Hegel on his head,
Inquisition who forced Galileo to recant his defense of the accepting much of the Hegelian dialectic, but insisting that it is
Copernican theory that the earth goes around the sun. material, economic forces which drive history not ideas.

ix
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

In literature, the romanticism of the late eighteenth and early is dead, and the loss of religious belief has brought the modern
nineteenth centuries was a sustained attack on Enlightenment world to a state of nihilism, a condition without viable moral
rationalism. Wordsworth followed Rousseau in stressing nature standards or beliefs. For Nietzsche, what this situation requires is
over the artificiality of human society. In his prophetic poems, a new set of values, values which for Nietzsche would presumably
William Blake indicted "Urizen" (your reason) as an oppressive be both more aristocratic and more life enhancing. What
tyrant. Percy Bysshe Shelley argued that the poet is the post-modernism has taken from Nietzsche is the sense of cultural
unacknowledged legislator of mankind, and his wife, Mary crisis, while at the same time essentially rejecting his alternative.
Shelley, wrote the classic anti-scientific masterpiece,
FRANKENSTEIN. In sum, the romantics tended to downplay Second, Nietzsche has been extremely influential because of his
reason in favor of the powers of creative imagination. moral subjectivism. He argued that there are essentially two kinds
of morality, master morality and slave morality. Master morality,
This period, the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries also which he obviously prefers, is associated with aristocratic
saw influential conservative critiques of the intellectual pretentions civilizations such as ancient Greece; slave morality he associates
of the Enlightenment. Edmund Burke, the British statesman and with Christianity. Despite his obvious personal preferences,
philosopher, is commonly seen as the father of modern Nietzsche fellows Hume in seeing the choice among basic moral
conservatism. In his REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN values as essentially arational. For Nietzsche, the philosopher is
FRANCE, he defended an organic view of society and therefore not the discoverer of objective values but rather is a legislator or an
opposed ideas of mechanistic social engineering. He also opposed artistic creator of values. Again, the Nietzschean critique has
the predominant emphasis on reason by defending decisions based proven far more influential than the Nietzschean alternative. He
on the accumulated "prejudices" of a given cultural tradition. A contributed strongly to contemporary doubt about the validity of
second conservative critic of the Enlightenment was the Reverend moral rationalism; his postmodern followers, however, have been
Thomas Malthus. Malthus' "Essay on Populations was a sustained far less willing to propose a clear set of alternative values.
attempt to show why the perfectibility of human society was
impossible (population will always outstrip resources). Though Third, it is also possible to derive from Nietzsche an extremely
neo-Malthusianism is considered today to be a philosophy of the radical epistemological skepticism. His position in this area is
left, Malthus' own motives in writing his essay seem clearly commonly referred to as "perspectivism." Each person views the
conservative--Enlightenment perspectives left too little room for world from a particular perspective or angle of vision, and all
God. Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection also perspectives are partial. This means at minimum that a claim such
dealt a blow to the power of reason, with its emphasis on blind, as Hegel's to have produced the ultimate synthesis should be
instinctual forces. treated with extreme skepticism. No philosophical system can be
all-encompassing or ever reveal definitive truth. It is clear that
As Jon Brody suggests, Karl Marx stands as a kind of transitional Nietzsche meant his perspectivism to critique philosophical
figure, part modern, part anti-modern. He can be seen as in part a systems such as Hegel's. Whether he would have agreed with the
debunker of the power of rational ideas. For him, economic forces, more radical conclusion, drawn by some postmodernists, that all
not ideas, are what make history. He also stands as an early critic perspectives are equivalent, none better than any other, is more
of universalist moral thinking. Marx saw rights (and all other moral doubtful.
formulations) as rationalizations for class oppression. Furthermore,
Marx's emphasis on the interests of the working class and his A fourth Nietzschean idea of great importance for postmodern
defense of the dictatorship of the prolitariat constitutes a rejection thought is the will to power. Most centrally, this is a theory about
of the idea that all persons should be treated as ends in themselves. human motivation. On one hand it is anti-utilitarian; whereas the
Still, Marx was in many ways still a modern thinker. He believed utilitarians believed that pleasure is the ultimate motive, Nietzsche
that he was a "scientific" economist, and he certainly saw history claimed that the ultimate motive is power. (Power is, of course, a
as involving a progressive movement toward a socialist utopia. multifaceted notion. It can be equated with the sense of vitality in
a biological sense, power over others in a political sense, creative
Writing toward the end of the nineteenth century, the German artistic power, or even power over oneself.) The emphasis on
philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is the first thinker who is power also deemphasizes the idea of knowledge. For Nietzsche,
commonly labelled as postmodern. Nietzsche is an extremely thought is not undertaken out of any will to disinterested truth but
complex thinker (though unlike Kant, Hegel, or Heidegger, he is rather is also an expression of the will to power. This idea is the
also an extremely readable one), and to approach Nietzsche primary source of Foucault's conflation of knowledge and power.
through the lens of postmodernism is only one of many ways to
understand his work. Nietzsche is also widely seen as an early In many ways, Nietzsche was not postmodern. His affinities for
existentialist, and efforts have been made, notably by Columbia aristocratic cultures like ancient Greece and his ideal of heroic
philosopher Arthur Danto, to assimilate him to the tradition of individualism (expressed in his concept of "the overman") would
analytical philosophy. Other thinkers have depicted him as find few fans among the postmodern or the politically correct. Still,
everything from a liberal humanist to a proto-Nazi. My point in all it is arguable that with Nietzsche there is a decisive turn in modern
of this is that one can admire Nietzsche and still not follow him thought. But it is highly contested just how that turn should be
very far down the postmodern path. interpreted.

Nonetheless, there are still at least four major themes in Nietzsche Moving into the twentieth century, a certain paradox presents
which have been very important for postmodern thought. The first itself. At an institutional level, the modern scientific world view
of these is the idea of cultural crisis. According to Nietzsche, God continues to reign supreme. Science and technology have made

x
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

unprecedented progress, and, through bureaucracy, more and more is a large literature exclusively devoted to postmodernism in
of social life has become subject to rationalistic and rationalizing architecture.)
procedures, But among intellectuals the sense of cultural crisis has
continued to prevail, and even as human life has become more and Modernism in the arts began well before the first world war, but it
more rationalized, the power of reason has been more and more was in the period immediately following the war that modernism
disparaged. may have come into its full ascendancy. The war also, not
surprisingly, turned both literature and the other arts in a far more
Clearly one of the most influential thinkers of the century was the pessimistic direction. What remained of the nineteenth century
Austrian psychologist, Sigmund Freud. With regard to reason, faith in progress received a decisive shock. Perhaps the single work
Freud's ideas have a dual thrust. On one hand, he stresses the idea which best captured this new cultural pessimism was a two volume
of the unconscious--the forces of id and superego, of sex and treatise entitled THE DECLINE OF THE WEST, by German
aggression, are seen as the dominant human motives. Yet Freud historian Oswald Spengler.
considered his own work to be part of the Enlightenment project.
By understanding the irrational forces of the psyche, Freud thought In place of the view that history is in the long run progressive,
it was possible, at least in part, to bring them under the control of Spender argued that civilizations are essentially organic entities,
the rational ego . He attempted, in sum, to rationally understand possessing a period of growth, a time of maturity, and an inevitable
and control human irrationality. period of decline and death. As his title indicated, Spengler thought
that Western civilization was on the downward path.
The sociological thought of the early twentieth century, as seen in
figures such as Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, also displays an It was in the midst of this climate of cultural pessimism that the
ambivalence toward rationality. Weber in particular displays a second major postmodern philosopher, Martin Heidegger began his
certain discontent with regard to the modern scientific world view career. Heidegger has been a very influential philosopher, but he
(a view which he nonetheless embraces). The rationalism of is also a very obscure one. He also had an extremely long
modern life has led to "the disenchantment of the world," and it has philosophical career, living from 1889 to 1976. Given this, a
also led to the ascendancy of impersonal control, a process which summary of his major ideas within this limited a scope seems
Weber sees as pretty much inevitable. This idea of pervasive impossible, and I will only attempt to outline a few of his themes
bureaucratic forces is presumably one source Schlag's kritik of especially those which have intersected with debate.
normativity. The rise of sociology has had another important
influence on postmodernism; it has substituted essentially The major kritik which has been derived from Heidegger has been
sociological explanations of human behavior for the primarily titled "posthumanism." For Heidegger, most of the world's
biological explanations of the nineteenth century. Thus, it provides problems stem from the narrow, anthropocentric attitude which
an important source for the postmodern insistence on the "social makes "man" the measure of all things. He especially sees modern,
construction" of reality. technological civilization as shallow and riddled with
inauthenticity.
Another important cultural force which would strongly influence
postmodernism (as well as the rest of twentieth century) was the Heidegger believed that the excessive preoccupation with human
development of "modernism" in literature as well as many other art being and human problems results in the neglect of Being. Being
forms. The terms "modernism" is sometimes used as a synonym for is Heidegger's central philosophical concept, but it remains an
the belief system of the modern age. In this usage, its relationship extremely elusive one. We might think of Being as the totality of
is to modernity what postmodernism is to postmodernity. But what exists, or perhaps as that which exists apart from all particular
"modernism" also has a technical meaning within literature and the beings. But neither of these formulations is highly illuminating.
fine arts. It connotes a style of intense experimentalism, coupled This obscurity has led many readers of Heidegger to view Being as
with what is often a rather bleak view of the modern world and a kind of quasi-religious concept. Heidegger appears to take over
(especially} in literature) an attempt to formulate a new set of from Nietzsche the idea of a cultural crisis based on the death of
myths appropriate to the modern age. Postmodernism is thus Cod. For Heidegger, it seems that the debased, fallen state of the
closely related to modernism in its artistic sense; both are highly modern world is closely associated with the loss of faith which the
critical of modern life. Perhaps the definitive work of modernist phrase "death of God" connotes. Even if we do not literally equate
literature was T.S. Eliot's poem "The Waste Land," the title of Being with God, it seems that for Heidegger the recovery of Being
which serves as an extended metaphor for the modern world. Other entails a revival of faith in something beyond the merely human.
important literary modernists included James Joyce, Ezra Pound,
William Faulkner, and Franz Kafka. (Modernists in various other Coupled with this indictment of the humanistic perspective is a
art forms include Picasso, Stravinsky, and Frank Lloyd Wright.) repudiation of the central thrust of the Western philosophical
Literature which is commonly described as postmodern, including tradition, at least from Socrates on. One aspect of this tradition
the novels of John Barth, Thomas Pynchon, Italo Calvino, and which Heidegger indicts is the distinction between subject and
Umberto Eco, continues in many ways the experimental emphasis object (the self-conscious ego versus the external world).
of early twentieth century modernism; in fact, the distinction Heidegger seems to feel that this dichotomy obscures the degree to
between modernism and postmodernism in literature is a much which humans are immersed in the world. Heidegger coins the
disputed one. (In contrast, in architecture the difference between phrase; "being-in-the world" to connote this sense of being situated
modernism---which emphasized a unity of form and function, as in rather than detached from reality. Heidegger also uses the term
seen for example in skyscrapers and postmodernism--which tends "dasein," which means literally "being there" to refer to the human
to be more eclectic and ornate--seems considerably greater. There condition. This appears to suggest that human being does not exist

xi
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

abstractly or in isolation but that human being is always being theme of postmodern thought. Structuralism exerted a large
there, in a particular situation. influence in virtually all of the social sciences, especially in
anthropology, where the work of Claude Levi-Strauss is central.
Along with his critique of the Western philosophical tradition, Pierre Schlag's insistence that humans are determined by
Heidegger is a critic of the technology which Western scientific institutional structures also reveals a strongly structuralist
rationalism has produced. His indictment is basically that orientation.
technology represents a manipulative, instrumental attitude toward
the world, which is, once again, an attitude which tends to alienate In France, the intellectual orientation which succeeded
one from Being. structuralism has been called, appropriately if ambiguously
enough, post-structuralism. Post-structuralism seems to be
Given these beliefs, Heidegger seeks a fundamental reorientation simultaneously an extension of the principles of structuralism and
of philosophy. Whereas philosophy, especially modern philosophy, a reaction against some of those principles. Among the things
has previously attempted to be like science, Heidegger believes which leading post-structuralists such as Michel Foucault and
that philosophy should be more like poetry. Logic and careful Jacques Derrida seem to have carried over from structuralism is the
reasoning, therefore, are not central elements of Heidegger's emphasis on language. Foucault seems less concerned with
thought. Instead, his method of philosophy tends to be meditative describing reality than with discussing "discourses" ostensibly
and contemplative, a kind of intellectual wandering which waits for about reality. And in Derrida any idea of an objective, trans-human
truth to "unveil" itself. reality seers to have pretty much disappeared; his emphasis is
solely on the reading, interpreting, and deconstructing of "texts."
Heidegger has been associated with virtually all of the major (Among Derrida's most famous statements is the assertion that
developments in continental European philosophy in the twentieth "there is nothing outside the text.") This emphasis on the text is one
century. His early work developed out of a philosophical approach of the hallmarks of postmodern thought; at its extreme it expresses
known as phenomenology. Developed by the German philosopher itself in a tendency to refer to individual people as "texts." One
Edmund Husserl, under whom Heidegger studied, phenomenology point of this rather extravagant metaphor seems to be to further
attempts to arrive at an understanding of "the thing itself " through denigrate the idea of the subject (that is, the autonomous,
a process of introspective psychological inquiry. Later on, self-conscious ego). Rather than a self-directing, volitional being,
Heidegger would influence and be associated with the a text is something which is written (i.e., socially constructed) and
existentialism of French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartrean is there to be read and interpreted.
existentialism, however, is self-avowedly humanistic, and
Heidegger emphatically insisted that he was neither a humanist nor Post-structuralism and post modernism are sometimes used
an existentialist, even though he is commonly categorized as such interchangeably. To be more precise, however, post-structuralism
and certainly shares some existentialist themes. Finally, of course, should be understood as one of a number of "postmodern"
Heidegger has been associated with the postmodernism of the past philosophies. (Neo-pragmatism, radical feminism, and critical legal
twenty years. studies have already been mentioned as other examples of
postmodern thought.) This said, it is also probably the case that
For a period of twenty years or so following the Second World post-structuralism has been the most influential (and the most
War, the French existentialism of Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and radical) of these postmodern theories. When postmodernism is
Albert Camus was the most influential philosophy in the world. generically indicted, it is probably the post-structuralist variant
The central thesis of at least Sartrean existentialism is that there is which is being attacked. I've introduced these terminological
no pre-set human nature. Rather, existence precedes essence, a distinctions in order to try to clarify prevailing usage, but it should
formula which means basically that one becomes the person that be noted that all of these terms are ambiguous and used in
one is through experience rather than innate characteristics. This somewhat different ways by different authors.
anti-essentialism has been taken over by many postmodern
thinkers, but much of the rest of Sartre's philosophy has been The major ideas of Foucault which have had impact in debate have
rejected. Sartre remains in many ways within the Cartesian already been discussed for the most part in terms of the specific
framework. Sartre's philosophy stresses consciousness and the kritiks which his work has inspired, so I will just briefly summarize
responsibility of each individual for the choices he or she makes a few of his major themes here. First, Foucault denies the
and the self that he or she becomes as a result of those choices. distinction between knowledge and power. Knowledge isn't
objective but rather is an interpretation which gains power over
In contrast to existentialism, structuralism, a far ranging others. Second, power is diffused throughout society in the form of
intellectual orientation which became popular in the 1960s and disciplinary controls; it is not simply the top down influence of a
1970s, views conscious choice as secondary and stresses the degree central authority. Third, "reason" is seen as a method of
to which behavior is determined by underlying structures of domination. In setting up the category of reason, we
various types. In a very broad sense, one could say that Marx and simultaneously create the category of unreason or madness. This
Freud were both structuralists. Marx saw underlying economic thereby justifies the repression and institutionalization of the
structures and Freud saw underlying psychological structures as "insane." Fourth, liberal reformism is generally seen, from a
decisive, rather than conscious choice. In a narrower sense, Foucaultian perspective, as an instrument of social control.
however, structuralism is grounded primarily in the linguistic Foucault sees the prison, for example, not as a means of controlling
theories of Ferdinand de Saussure. Saussure stressed the degree to crime but as a mechanism for branding a certain category of people
which thought is governed by the basic structures of language, and as "delinquent." Reforming the prison, however, is seen as merely
this emphasis on the primacy of language has become a primary a means of extending and enhancing social control.

xii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

The second major thinker whose work has been labelled extent of this influence. Postmodernism has had little if any
post-structuralist is Jacques Derrida. Even more than Heidegger, influence on the natural sciences, and even in important areas of
Derrida's thought is extremely elusive (even Foucault criticizes him social science such as economics its influence seems negligible.
for his obscurity), so I can only offer a tentative summary of some The idea, popular among many conservatives, that the whole
of Derrida's themes. Probably Derrida's most influential idea is the university has been taken over by "tenured radicals" is a definite
concept of deconstruction. In common usage, deconstruction seems exaggeration.
to have come to mean something very similar to what "kritik"
means in debate; that is, it involves the debunking or dismantling Likewise, since this discussion has aimed primarily at explaining
of an idea or theory. For Derrida himself, deconstruction seems to the emergence of postmodern thought, it has tended to exaggerate
have a slightly different meaning. Derrida deconstructs the importance of these postmodern tendencies. I therefore wish to
philosophical texts by revealing their internal contradictions. To conclude this section by discussing a number of perspectives which
put it in a slightly different way, the central theme or point of can be opposed to postmodernism. Some of them explicitly attack
emphasis is displaced or decentered in favor of what had the postmodern view, others represent perspectives which clearly
previously been marginalized or neglected. The process of clash with postmodernism. Before doing this, however, I wish to
deconstruction produces a new interpretation, but not necessarily briefly draw a few conclusions from this description of the
the "correct" interpretation, for the new perspective which thereby emergence of postmodern thought. First, it should be noted that the
emerges is likewise subject to deconstruction. The process of kritik of modernity is not something new; indeed, it is as old as
deconstruction thus does not lead to "truth" or even to a superior modernity itself. Religious conservatives have always been critics
interpretation, but it does serve as a recurrent reminder that all of modernity, and the romanticism of the eighteenth and nineteenth
perspectives are partial, that all exclude or marginalize certain centuries was essentially opposed to modern scientific rationalism.
considerations. Second, the kritik seems grounded in modernity. Postmodern
thought is radically skeptical, but so to a substantial degree was
A second key concept for Derrida is the idea of "difference." This modern thought. Descartes may have thought that he had found a
term (which in the original French includes a pun on the words foundational truth, but he began by doubting everything. Berkeley,
"differ" and "defer") seems to have both a social and a linguistic in the early eighteenth century managed to doubt external reality,
significance. In social terms, the emphasis on difference involves and Hume, only slightly later was questioning cause.
an attack on the idea of universal standards. The argument would Postmodernism merely carries the critical, skeptical nature of
be that the attempt to universalize or totalize always leaves modern thought one step further.
something out, always marginalizes some group. In what is
sometimes referred to as the politics of difference, the emphasis is Third, to some extent postmodern thought beats dead horses.
on what uniquely distinguishes a certain group, rather than what Bacon and Descartes are favorite targets, but both were writing in
unites them with others. In terms of language, Derrida sees the first half of the seventeenth century. Modern thought developed
meaning as based on difference rather than resemblance. According a long way after them. Fourth and finally, it seems that many of the
to the theory of meaning which Derrida attacks, words stand for or insights of postmodernism can be accounted for within the
represent objects in nature, or at least in the world outside of framework of the modern world view. Freud, for example,
language. recognized the profound force of irrational motives, but still
attempted to understand and control those forces within a
For Derrida, in contrast, language is essentially self-enclosed. rationalistic framework.
Words, for him, gain their meaning from their difference from
other words. What this seems to imply is that humans exist totally One perspective from which postmodern thought can be fruitfully
within language; if there is an objective, external reality, we seem criticized is pragmatism. Pragmatism is probably the leading
to have no access to it . Hence, the emphasis on texts and on the indigenous American philosophical tradition. With roots in the
unending process of interpretation and reinterpretation. writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, pragmatism was developed as
an explicit philosophy by Charles Pierce and William James in the
Obviously, within this perspective, reason has limited power to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The leading
discover "truth," and indeed it is "logocentrism" (the emphasis on pragmatist philosopher of the first half of the twentieth century was
logic and rationality) which Derrida seeks to displace from the John Dewey. Pragmatism is useful in this context because it
center of philosophy. basically accepts the principle of anti-foundationalism (that no
knowledge is certain) and argues that that really doesn't matter. For
Though Derrida is a philosopher and most of his writing involves the pragmatist, truth is defined in terms of what works; thus even
the deconstruction of philosophical texts, his main influence has if knowledge lacks absolutely certain foundations, we can still base
not been in philosophy but rather in fields such as literary criticism. our actions on the probabilistic truths of our experience. In
In addition, both Derrida and Foucault have had considerable particular, pragmatism tends to vindicate the use of science, since
influence on groups seeking to construct an "oppositional" politics. science clearly has great predictive powers. Pragmatists, especially
It is relatively easy to see why groups such as radical feminists Dewey, also tend to defend the viability of democratic
would find post-structuralist thought appealing. Both Foucault and decision-making. Although pragmatism is not a new philosophy,
Derrida are concerned with the oppression of marginalized groups, it has experienced a recent revival. The philosopher Richard Rorty
and the idea of difference has proved appealing for groups seeking of the University of Virginia is probably the leading figure in this
to formulate a distinctive identity. Especially in the American neo-pragmatism. The problem here is that neo-pragmatism is
university, this post-structuralist/postmodernist species of thought commonly classified as a postmodern philosophy. Nonetheless, it
remains highly influential. It is possible, of course, to overstate the still provides a perspective from which to attack such

xiii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

post-structuralist thinkers as Derrida and Foucault. Like responsibility of each individual. For Sartre, humans are free
post-structuralism, neo-pragmatism accepts the limits of essentially because they can envision alternative futures; the ability
knowledge, but, in the face of uncertainty, it seems far more to hold these different possibilities in consciousness is what gives
willing to say that we must still act on the basis of what knowledge humans the power of choice. Because human beings possess the
we have rather than simply suspending judgment altogether. authentic possibility of choice, they are not completely the
products of their society; humans are also self-creating and
A perspective closely related to pragmatism is articulated by the therefore have responsibility for the selves which they have
leading German philosopher, Jurgen Habermas. Habermas likewise produced.
rejects eternal, external standards of rationality. But he also
believes that functional standards of rationality can be established Linguistic philosophy has been one of the central themes in
based on intersubjective agreement. That is, Habermas believes twentieth century Anglo-American thought in the twentieth
that we can arrive at what are for us "good reasons" based on free century. Associated with figures such as Bertrand Russell, Ludwig
and equal dialogue. Habermas also defends the project of Wittgenstein, and A.J.Ayer, linguistic philosophy offers another
modernity as an essentially valid one, believing that the basic perspective from which a good deal of postmodern thought can be
framework of Enlightenment thought needs to be refined rather criticized. The basic insight of linguistic philosophy is that many
than rejected. of the traditional problems of philosophy are essentially artifacts
of language. Thus, for example, it is argued by Ayer that
A third critic of postmodernism is the British sociologist Anthony Heidegger's idea of "Being" is essentially empty. The idea of Being
Giddens. Giddens argues that we are not, in fact, entering the is a linguistic confusion resulting from the grammatical structure
postmodern era, but that the basic social forces which characterized of the verb "to be." The verb "to be" is useful in ascribing attributes
modernity are still in play. According to Giddens, what we are now to things; for example, the sky is blue. But the idea of being,
experiencing is the period of "high modernity," analogous to the divorced as it is in Heidegger from any particular attributes, is
high Middle Ages which followed the dark ages of the early nonsensical; it is a grammatical fiction. One form of linguistic
medieval period. philosophy is logical positivism. The central theme of logical
positivism is that statements are meaningful only if they are
Among younger French philosophers, Luc Ferry and Alain Renault objectively verifiable. One conclusion which Ayer and others draw
have been especially critical of the "60s philosophy" they associate from this is that metaphysical statements (such as statements about
with Foucault and Derrida. They see Foucault as largely a more Being) are incapable of being tested and therefore are literally
radical version of Nietzsche and Derrida as a radicalization of meaningless.
Heidegger. They see similar tendencies in other thinkers of this
period to radicalize Freud and Marx. The basic point made by The politics of difference can be effectively criticized from the
Ferry and Renault appears to be that while great thinkers such as standpoint of liberal egalitarianism. According to Harvard
Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud invariably have useful insights, that philosopher John Rawls a diverse society can only function with
they almost always overstate their central themes. So, for example, a shared value of liberal tolerance. For difference to function
Freud's emphasis on sex was a useful corrective to the Victorian effectively, there must be a universal principle of respect for
repression of sexual issues but still probably went too far in the difference. Without such a universal norm, the emphasis on
other direction. Similarly, Marx has a valid insight in noting the differences tends to pull societies apart, as the former Yugoslavia
influence of economics on history but goes too far in suggesting all too graphically illustrates.
that history is solely the product of economic forces. Postmodern
thought is characterized by its extremity; and while it may validly Ayn Rand's Objectivism is on almost every point diametrically
criticize perspectives such as the extreme rationalism of the opposed to postmodernism. She was a particularly strong defender
eighteenth century, it goes too far if it rejects reason altogether. of the position that the use of reason is key to human survival.
According to her, rationality is the one unique tool humans possess
Much of postmodern thought is ultimately directed against Hegel, which enables them to preserve their lives. Among the other
but Hegel also has his contemporary defenders. Francis Fukuyama, anti-postmodern themes in her thought is the belief that there is an
a former State Department analyst who now works for the Rand objective, external reality which is neither linguistically nor
Corporation, offers one such defense. In THE END OF HISTORY socially conditioned, and her belief in the ethical primacy of the
AND THE LAST MAN, Fukuyama argues that Hegel was individual.
essentially right about the evolution of political institutions. What
Hegel glimpsed, and what the history of the twentieth century While this obviously does not exhaust the list of anti-postmodern
confirms, is that liberal democratic institutions are indeed the best perspectives, it should illustrate the point that there are many
form of government. Thus, arguably, history in terms of the vantage points from which postmodern thought can be critiqued.
evolution of political structures is at an end. Kritiks such as For a good many years, debate has been drawn to counter-intuitive
Foucault's gain much of their force from the sense that positions--growth is bad, rights are bad, death checks are good,
contemporary society is intolerably oppressive. A perspective such even nuclear war is good. The appeal of such positions is that they
as Fukuyama's both restores a progressive movement to history and are so generic. Thus, they are able to turn a wide range of
denies the essential oppressiveness of contemporary institutions. affirmative advantages. Because of this generic utility, debaters
often invest a great deal of time and energy into researching such
Sartre's existentialism provides another viewpoint from which to positions, and because so much effort has been invested in them,
attack postmodernism. While postmodernism tends towards social they tend to be popular. Nonetheless, when effectively countered
and linguistic determinism, Sartre insists on the freedom and most of these counter-intuitive positions ultimately fail--the

xiv
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

arguments in favor of the intuitive (life, rights, growth, etc.) prove Fifth, the kritik is said to be justified because it reflects and
stronger. I believe that this is also the case in terms of most if not translates into debate a controversy with which academia is deeply
all of the themes of postmodern thought. engaged. The argument here is that the kritik is grounded in
postmodernism and deconstruction. These ideas are major concerns
In the end, there are probably good reasons why humanism, within the university, and it frustrates debate's educational mission
individualism, universalism, reason, science, progress, freedom, to ignore such issues.
and democracy are valuable. Of course, this is all debatable, but
once one gets over the initial shock of hearing these intuitive Sixth, while policy debate may be valuable, policy questions are
assumptions challenged, it should not be too difficult to muster a not the only ideas worth discussing. Basic philosophical and moral
defense. Furthermore, there are a limited number of core issues are also worthy of debate, as are issues of language. The
assumptions which the affirmative needs to be ready to defend. ideas and attitudes we form in debate rounds are said to be more
Many kritiks will, at least implicitly, attack the idea of reason or important than particular policy conclusions.
the concept of the autonomous individual. Thus, more general
defenses of these concepts will be applicable in responding to Seventh, rejection of the kritik is said to be a mechanism of
many different kritiks. For someone well prepared to defend the exclusion. In some cases it excludes unpopular views. At other
modern, scientific world view, the various kritiks which are times it involves a fairly explicit attempt to exclude certain people
grounded in postmodernism should not prove too daunting. from the activity. Arguments of the "so join LD" or "Go join
CEDA" variety are taken to be the equivalent of "Policy debate,
ANSWERING THE KRITIK love it or leave it."

THE CASE FOR THE KRITIK Finally, eighth, the questioning of all assumptions is either said or
implied to be intellectually liberating and empowering Such a
At this point I wish to turn from the more abstract consideration of process of questioning offers hope of removing the blinders of our
definition, categorization, and intellectual background to the more social conditioning and to open up a brave new world of free
immediately practical issue of arguments against the kritik. In order spirited thought.
to do this effectively, however, it seems useful to briefly indicate
common arguments made in favor of the kritik. It will be helpful None of these arguments is totally without merit, and we will
to keep some of these ideas in mind in the process of developing return to them at a later point in this essay. For the moment,
anti-kritik arguments. however, they can merely stand as a point of reference as we
consider the basic arguments against the kritik.
A first argument in favor of the kritik is that contemporary policy
debate is stagnating. An excessively narrow version of the policy GENERAL TACTICS
making paradigm has become the prevailing orthodoxy, and it
currently has a stranglehold on the debate process. The result of I wish to begin this discussion of how to answer the kritik with
this is the exclusion of innovative arguments and a failure to deal some tactical considerations. I believe that this will help to
with fundamental issues. Debate remains preoccupied with the illuminate many of the more specific arguments which will be
narrowly political (i.e., the Clinton disadvantage) and with the discussed subsequently.
apocalyptic (contrived scenarios leading to nuclear war or
environmental destruction). First, it is almost always advisable to attack both the theory and
substance of the kritik. That is, one should make arguments both
Second, new ideas are good. Creative thought is said to be a key against the kritik as an argument form and against the particulars
value of debate, and the kritik is hailed as a central device for of the specific kritik. While an increasing number of judges are
introducing "new thinking" into an activity sadly in need of it. coming to accept the kritik's theoretical legitimacy, many still do
not. Such judges expect its theoretical framework to be contested
Third, kritik proponents appeal to what is basically a classic liberal and may even react unfavorably to arguments against the specifics
defense of free enquiry. They argue, correctly I believe, that free of the kritik if it is not. This said, it is also important to attack the
inquiry is a basic assumption of debate. Debate does seem to rest actual argument that the kritik is making.
in part on standard Millean arguments that truth will win out in the
battle of ideas. Given this premise, it is then argued that it Many judges do accept the kritik's theoretical legitimacy, and these
contradicts a basic value of debate to exclude unpopular positions. judges are likely to react unfavorably to what they see as a
mindlessly generic list of anti-kritik answers. Furthermore, most
Fourth, it is asserted that everything should be debatable. This kritiks should not be that difficult to answer. The more basic or
argument essentially restates the basic premise of the tabula rasa fundamental the assumption that they question, the more
judging framework. The standard arguments in favor of tabula rasa counter-intuitive they are likely to be. But most kritiks are
mainly concern fairness. Judge intervention is said to be unfair to persuasive enough that if they are allowed to carry their full
the participants, to take the debating out of their hands and to put asserted weight, the option of voting affirmative is unlikely to be
it in the hands of the judge. More sophisticated defenders of tabula very appealing. Finally, the more specific anti-kritik arguments
rasa, such as the late Walter Ulrich, also argue for its educational will often parallel and reinforce the more general ones.
benefits. Tabula rasa does clearly emphasize one of debate's
primary values--direct clash. Second, often the best arguments against particular kritiks occur on
what I would call "the middle level." At the highest level of

xv
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

generality are the arguments that the kritik is illegitimate as an unintelligibility of the 1NC presentation to bolster arguments
argument form. At the lowest level are arguments denying the against the kritik's legitimacy. (Unintelligible presentation
substantive claim advanced by the particular kritik. Mid-level especially strengthens the argument that philosophical kritiks can't
arguments are those which claim that this particular kritik is not a be effectively accommodated within the conventions of present
reason to reject the particular affirmative plan. In effect, they deny policy debate.) A minimum standard for any argument is
that the kritik is really addressing an essential assumption of coherence, and highly abstract philosophical argument addressing
affirmative analysis. Often, in fact, it should be possible to win that core assumptions should be held to especially high standards of
the affirmative doesn't make the assumption being indicted at all. clarity. There are several common incoherences to which many
Or, even if affirmative evidence or analysis rests partly on such an kritiks are prone. First, they will often make unsupported
assumption, it may well be possible that there are other assertions, for example, that the kritik renders all affirmative
independent reasons for voting affirmative. analysis and evidence moot. If there is no reason given for this
conclusion, you need to say so. Again, good cross-examination can
Third, it is extremely important to pin down the kritik as early in help here. A second common incoherence is evidence which fails
the debate as possible. Many kritiks can be answered on their to really support the argument being made. Of course, the
merits even without evidence, but to do so requires that you mistagging and overclaiming of evidence is not unique to kritiks,
understand the kritik from the outset. The less clear the kritik is the but they may be especially prone to this abuse. Most debate
more of a tendency there is to rely on generic anti-kritik arguments. arguments are supported partly by evidence and partly by a story,
This is understandable, but it is still a counterproductive reaction. but kritiks are sometimes almost all story. The evidence on which
Especially if the kritik is obscure in the lNC, it is important to kritiks commonly rely is not produced for or directly related to a
undertake a probing cross-ex. What assumption is being indicted? policy context. This increases the likelihood of a gap between the
Why should the affirmative be understood to be making that claim being made and the supporting evidential data. Again, if a
assumption? Why is it critical to affirmative analysis? And why is piece of evidence doesn't support the accompanying claim or story,
it false? This sort of series of questions should help in clarifying it is important to point this out. Also, sometimes the evidence read
initially hazy kritiks--or should serve to demonstrate their complete will support one part of the story but not another; again, such
lack of substance. evidential gaps should be noted. Two final points about the general
issue of the coherence of kritiks are worth noting. First, the specific
Fourth, be attentive to evolving kritiks. Many, if not most, kritiks practice of the negative team may well support the general claim
have a habit of mutating as the debate progresses. If the kritik has that difficult philosophical issues cannot be debated at two hundred
been effectively pinned down in the lNC, it may be useful to repeat and fifty words per minute. This is not an indictment of a kritik
the same basic series of questions in the 2NC cross-ex. This should which is clearly and coherently presented, but it may well be a
help to demonstrate if in fact the kritik has changed its fundamental powerful indictment of one that is not.
nature from one speech to the next. If the kritik does radically
mutate, then new answers are both legitimate and probably Second, although this should be carefully done, you may in effect
necessary. Even if the kritik is not fundamentally transformed, it is wish to challenge the judge, arguing that if he or she can
very likely to be significantly expanded and clarified. If the real coherently explain the kritik after the round, then s/he should
import of the kritik only becomes clear in the negative block, new consider voting on it, but that if even s/he can't articulate its logic,
answers are probably legitimate. (A 2AC argument that the kritik then you can hardly be expected to answer it. This may help to
is vague and underdeveloped will help in justifying these new dramatize the fact that this particular kritik really is incoherent. Of
responses.) course, this tactic will only work if it can be carried out in a
non-antagonistic fashion--something difficult for many debaters.
As a final related point, I believe that standup 1ARs are rarely
advisable if the negative has made a significant investment in a Sixth, you may wish to deny that you are in fact making the
kritik. Standup 1ARs tend to be highly mechanical speeches. They assumption being indicted at all. Often kritiks seem to force
work best on issues which are evidence intensive and which the assumptions onto opposing teams which they don't really make.
affirmative debaters clearly understand. Extending kritik answers Kritiks are, after all, generics, so there is no reason to assume that
usually requires more thought and precision than a standup 1AR is a generic kritik will link better to a particular affirmative than will
likely to provide. a generic disadvantage.

Fifth, be willing to indict kritiks as fundamentally incoherent. Seventh, you can often deny that the indicted assumption is crucial
Sometimes kritiks, especially as presented in the 1NC, simply to your analysis. In effect, this is an argument that the kritik is not
make no sense. If this is the case, then you should say so. And, if absolute. If, for example, the affirmative is claiming both a
the kritik has been especially abusive either in terms of rights-based and a non-rights based advantage and the negative
underdevelopment or unclear presentation, you may wish not to responds with a kritik of rights, the logical force of the kritik is
devote cross-ex time to having it clarified. Doing so may help the only to neutralize the rights-related portion of the case. (The
negative more than it helps you. While there may be a time and negative might argue that the kritik in fact turns the rights
place for this tactic, it is a somewhat dangerous one. It might be advantage, but given the ubiquity of rights claims in our culture,
that the judge understood the kritik even if you didn't or that time the turn is unlikely to be unique.) A second way in which the kritik
tradeoffs will be too unfavorable if you don't get a handle on the may not be absolute is that its uncertainty makes it less than a
kritik from the outset. In this case, you probably should try to have voting issue. For example, the real impact of a kritik of causality
the kritik clarified in cross-ex (or at least carefully read the 1NC is to undermine reliable predictions of affirmative solvency. But if
shell). Furthermore, even if you seek clarification, you can use the there is any chance that causality is valid, then there is likewise a

xvi
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

chance that the plan can solve. Given no disadvantage, this chance defense of rationality would probably be useful against a
of solvency would seem to be sufficient reason to vote affirmative. postmodern kritik, but might tend to support an essentially
Sometimes the negative will argue in response that if a key rationalist kritik such as statism. What seems best, in light of this,
affirmative assumption is probably false that this in itself justifies is to have one general anti-kritik block, including one's most
voting negative. This argument seems flawed, however, because it generic anti-kritik arguments and to have another block answering
misunderstands what the affirmative needs to do to justify the each of the major types of kritiks: language, metaphysics,
endorsement of its plan. Depending on the nature of the risks epistemology, ethics, and politics. Finally, you should have blocks
involved, almost all of one team's analysis could be wrong and answering particular kritiks whenever possible. Even kritiks with
their policy option could still be justified. Policies are often common names, such as statism, will differ in terms of their
designed not to secure the most likely outcome but to preclude (or particular development. Recognizing the distinctiveness of each
render less likely) some relatively remote possibility. The classic particular kritik is essential.
example of this is nuclear weapons policy. Hopefully, at the
present time the risk of general nuclear war is not very high. Eleventh, it may sometimes be advisable to argue counter-kritiks.
Nonetheless, it would be foolhardy not to do whatever can be done Counter-kritiks can take at least two forms. First, one could issue
to further reduce that risk (assuming no offsetting disadvantages). a kritik of some assumption of your opponents' language or
So, a central premise of an affirmative case might well be that the analysis. This would not, of course, relieve you of the
world is a very risky place, and the negative might be able to responsibility for answering their kritik but it might help to offset
almost totally undermine that assumption. But even if the its impact. A second, and I think preferable, alternative is to attack
affirmative analysis is almost totally wrong, any chance that they some underlying assumption of the kritik.
are right would still justify voting affirmative, absent disadvantage.
Although the idea of risk is most dramatically illustrated in terms This might be an assumption generic to all kritiks, such as the
of large impact scenarios, the same logic applies in less extreme desirability of questioning all assumptions, or it might be an
situations. Possible benefits, no matter how remote, are still a assumption specific to one type of kritik. Finally, it might be an
reason to act, as long as there is no risk associated with that action. assumption specific to one particular kritik. For example, Pierre
Schlag, the main source for the kritik of normativity, explicitly
Eighth, you should be prepared to defend those assumptions which appeals to deconstruction as one source of his analysis. Thus, it
you think are likely to be challenged. There are not so many kritiks could be argued that if deconstruction is a bankrupt method, that
in the world that this should prove to be an impossible task (and the normativity kritik also fails. In fact, arguments against
many kritiks have commonalities permitting generic response). postmodernism and deconstruction are probably applicable to quite
Assumptions such as the validity of causation or the necessity of a few kritiks.
the state should not prove impossible to defend; there are good
reasons why these assumptions are so commonly taken for granted. A twelfth suggestion is to try to think about how the kritik would
Much of the force of a kritik often stems from its shock value--the function as a policy argument. In terms of its policy implications
argument it makes will seem so implausible that it may be difficult does the kritik function as a counterplan, a disadvantage, a
to attack. In instances like this, a little reflective thought and a solvency argument, or as something else? By thinking about what
modicum of common sense can do wonders. the kritik's logical weight would be as a policy argument, you are
likely to be better able to think of how to attack it. If it functions
Ninth, kritiks can often be effectively "permuted." This can be basically as a disadvantages then questions of link, uniqueness, and
accomplished in at least two ways. First, some kritiks will prove impact are obviously raised. As a solvency argument, the kritik
susceptible to fairly standard policy permutations. This is because will raise issues of absoluteness. If it is implicitly a counterplan, a
a number of kritiks (such as statism) do, in effect suggest different set of arguments will come to mind. The negative may of
alternative policies, such as anarchy. If there is an implicit course argue that the kritik should not be construed in policy terms,
alternative lurking within the kritik, then you may well want to but many judges will be more comfortable in conceptualizing it as
make that alternative explicit in order to permute. In the case of such. Furthermore, most kritiks have policy implications
statism, the obvious permutation is to abolish all government independent of their kritik impacts and it is important to forestall
except for the those portions needed to carry out the plan. Second, their evolution into a policy argument. It might even be suggested
in the case of kritiks which do not contain implicit policy that argument labels are really irrelevant. Like any other argument
alternatives, it is still possible to employ a kind of conceptual by the negative, the kritik involves a claim, a link to the
permutation. For example, even if rationality is rejected, it might affirmative, and an impact. If it can be defeated at one of these
still be possible to justify an affirmative plan on emotive grounds. three levels, then what the argument is called may not be all that
The argument is, in effect, that the judge can embrace the kritik and important. What is most counter-intuitive about many kritiks is the
still have a reason to vote affirmative. impact claim--that argument X should be a voting issue. But
debaters made dubious claims that things should be voting issues
Tenth, it is important to recognize that kritiks do differ. One set of long before kritiks emerged. Any claim that something is a voting
all purpose anti-kritik blocks will therefore prove less useful than issue should serve as a red flag commanding your attention. To
will blocks geared to specific types of kritiks. Many of the label something a kritik may be in effect nothing more than a
arguments against language kritiks, for example, apply only to that shorthand way of saying, "this is a voter."
type of kritik. Similarly, arguments against highly abstract
philosophical kritiks may not apply well to a fairly narrowly My thirteenth and last tactical suggestion is to combine evidential
tailored, topic-specific kritik. Sometimes the answers to one type and analytical arguments against the kritik. This seems rather
of kritik will even feed another, different kritik. For example, a obvious advice coming in the introduction to a handbook

xvii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

containing over a thousand anti-kritik cards, but its rationale is least am perfectly willing to concede that they are) but whether
worth at least briefly expanding on. Obviously when attacking the they are relevant, that is, germane to the subject at hand.
substance of a kritik, evidence will often be useful and sometimes
essential. Even in debating the theory of the kritik, evidence can Academic debate is not a soapbox or a radio talk show, that is, an
help. For better or worse, carded arguments simply receieve more essentially open forum where opinions on any subject whatsoever
credibility from ost debate judges. Theory debates often degenerate can be expressed. Rather, debate has a subject matter, and that
into wars of tag lines, and reading evidence may help to keep such subject matter determines in large part what arguments are
debate on a somehwta higheer intellectual level. But, just as in relevant. What is the subject matter of debate? At the simplest
answering a disadvantage, analytical arguments have a definite level, it would seem to be the resolution. The resolution is, after all,
place, especially at the link level. As I suggested above, sometimes the topic which the debate community has chosen to discuss. In
the strongest arguments against a kritik will challenge its link to practice, however, we do not really debate resolutions; rather, we
the particular affirmative. debate examples of resolutions, that is, particular affirmative plans.
(Plans must of course also pass tests of germaneness; that is, they
Analytical arguments also help to diversify one's set of 2AC must actually be examples of the resolution.) There are a number
answers. Still, in the end, many judges are likely to call for the of reasons why a focus on specific plans rather than the resolution
cards, and for that reason analysis in the evidence is more likely to as a general statement seems preferable. First, the kinds of
be better understood and given more weight than the analysis of resolution commonly debated tend to be too broad and vague to
the debaters themselves. meaningfully endorse or reject as a general proposition. Second,
the attempt to treat the resolution as a kind of general statement
GENERAL ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE KRITIK entails various theoretical conundrums such as counterwarrants.
(Counterwarrants attempt to disprove the resolution by attacking
In this section I will consider some arguments which can be made a different example from the one proposed by the affirmative.) The
against almost all kritiks. This is not to say that these arguments standard answer to the counterwarrants objection is that the
should be made in every kritik round; selectiveness is always resolution can be proven true by one example. This seems to be a
necessary, especially since more specific answers are usually more valid point, but it again brings us back to debating specific plans
powerful. Still, in most kritik rounds you should probably make at rather than the resolution as a whole. Furthermore, this answer
least one of the standard anti-kritik arguments, and against new and seems, at the same time that it rejects counterwarrants, to embrace
unanticipated kritiks they may be especially important. the idea of alternative justification--that the affirmative can offer
multiple examples of the resolution, and that if they win that any
I suggested at the outset of this essay that the kritik itself rests on one of them is a good idea, they should win the round. Especially
a number of assumptions. Among these are that the policy on bidirectional topics, the acceptance of alternative justification
framework is itself subject to kritik, that all assumptions are massively skews debate toward the affirmative. Finally, one can
appropriate to question, that the negative need not propose an question whether or not the focus on the resolution really has any
alternative, and that the kritik can be run with other, apparently significant truth value. Most debate topics are very broad,
inconsistent, policy arguments. In the discussion of the kritik's suggesting hundreds, if not thousands of possible plans. The
intellectual background, it was also argued that the kritik relies likelihood that none of those numerous alternatives is in fact a
heavily on the intellectual postulates of postmodernism and that the good idea seems on face to be incredibly remote. Thus, it seems
kritik closely parallels the process of deconstruction. Each of the that the literal "truth" of the resolution is almost a foregone
four major theoretical assumptions of the kritik is subject to attack, conclusion, and the real question becomes what examples of the
as are its philosophical roots. resolution are valid, not whether there is a valid example of the
resolution. And, if one is focusing on a particular policy, then
A first major argument is that to be relevant the kritik must minimizing resolutional concerns (for example, with regard to
function within the framework of public policy debate. At one topicality of counterplans) seems better calculated to help in
level, this argument may do limited damage to the kritik. Almost finding the best policy.
all kritiks do function, at least to some extent, within the policy
framework; that is, they deny value claims, offer counter-values, This brief defense of plan versus resolutional focus may or may not
impugn solvency, postulate implicit counterplans, etc. But, at be persuasive. But even if one accepts resolutional focus, the basic
another level, the insistence on the policy framework obviously point remains the same: each individual debate has a subject,
does great damage to the kritik. In effect, it denies that the kritik is whether the resolution or a particular plan, and to be relevant,
a unique argument form; it functionally transforms "kritik" into arguments must be germane to that subject. What this means in
mere "critique"--that is, an everyday argument against some aspect practice is that all negative arguments must be reasons to reject the
of the affirmative. And, of course, the reason most kritiks are affirmative plan, or at least the resolution. (As an aside,
presented as such is that they lack some necessary element of a resolutional focus does seem to allow more scope for the kritik
sound policy argument--uniqueness, impact at the policy level, etc. than plan focus because it allows debate over the resolution's
specific wording.) The fact that the negative has come up with an
Why should "policy debate" be regarded as an exclusively policy issue which is interesting or worthy of discussion in its own right
forum? Opponents of the kritik stress the importance of public does not make it relevant to the debate at hand. Egyptian
policy issues, but kritik proponents can persuasively argue that archeology is an interesting and worthy subject, but I have never
other basic moral and philosophical issues, as well as questions of heard a debate in which its issues were relevant.
sensitive language use, are also important. The real issue here,
however, is not whether certain kinds of issues are important (I at The negative, of course, will argue in response that its kritik is a

xviii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

reason to reject the specific affirmative plan--if the affirmative plan philosophical issues would be simply taken for granted.
rests on a certain assumption and that assumption is fundamentally
flawed, then the affirmative plan should be rejected. Again, though, This basic argument, that specific policy propositions delimit a
this seems to confuse a statement about the relative truth of some sphere of appropriate argumentative response, was made some
component of affirmative analysis with a statement about the years ago in the context of the so-called "utopian" counterplans
relative truth of the affirmative's overall position. Under certain such as anarchy and world government. The argument was made
circumstances, remember, the affirmative can lose most of the that the topic assumes the existence of an international system of
arguments it makes and still win. This is because, absent a distinct nation states and that not to make this assumption imagines
disadvantage, the chance that a plan might have an advantage is a away the real world context and concerns which generated the
sufficient reason for endorsing it. To simply cast substantial doubt topic to begin with.The same argument can be made in the context
on even the most basic premise of an affirmative's analysis is not of kritiks. Distinct nations exist and will continue to exist, and any
enough in itself to discredit its policy conclusion. Most policy topic asking what one nation should do in relation to another
decisions are made in the face of considerable doubts. What assumes that such an international arrangement prevails (It does
matters therefore is not so much the certainty of an advantage but not necessarily assume that it is good, but it does correctly assume
the overall direction of risk. What the kritik seems to try to do is to that it does exist.) Given this, it may not be useful to question
in a sense revert to the old stock issues standard that if the negative whether or not the state system should exist. It does exist, and its
raises lots of doubt about the affirmative's analysis, they should existence provides the context within which the particular topic has
win. The standard answer to this is that even marginal, comparative been raised.
advantages justify an overall policy conclusion, unless there are
equal offsetting risks. This method of policy analysis can be How does one determine what arguments are germane, or, to put
challenged (for example, based on some theory of presumption), it another way, what determines the appropriate realm of
but to the best of my knowledge no pro-kritik theorist has seriously discourse? In the context of counterplans, I have argued that a field
attempted to do so. context standard is the most appropriate. If a counterplan is
proposed in the literature surrounding the topic, then it is
If fed into a consistent policy framework (even a liberal one which presumably germane; otherwise, it probably is not. This standard
might allow conditionality or radically counter-intuitive value has its limits and its ambiguities, but it does parallel a major
arguments), the kritik is likely to fail. It simply will not be standard, field context, used in determining the germaneness (i.e.,
absolute. Since causality might be true, doubts about it are not a the topicality) of affirmative plans. A similar standard could be
reason to vote negative. (Such doubts would equally implicate any profitably applied to kritiks.
disadvantage.) If reason has any credibility, then a rationally
justified plan should be accepted, absent an alternative The alternative standard, which the defenders of kritiks would
decision-making process which is shown to lead to the contrary presumably propose, is that arguments are relevant if they can be
conclusion. (It should not be enough for the negative to suggest logically related to affirmative analysis. Thus, for example, since
alternative modes of decision-making; they need to show that they the kritik of causality is logically related to solvency, it would be
would lead to rejecting the plan.) If there's any chance of relevant. This is, however, a somewhat odd standard for a theory
constructively altering the network of power relations, then it is of argument based in postmodern thought to defend.
worth trying. To put simply, at root, the kritik misunderstands the Postmodernism, after all, indicts absolute standards of rational
nature of the policy calculus. judgment and defends instead the position that truths are always
situational and contextual. To make no concessions to the
Another implication of accepting a basic public policy framework contextual limits of argument seems like an odd position for a
is that not only are most kritiks not absolute, but many kritiks are postmodern theory to take.
absolutely not relevant. The position here is that all arguments
occur within a context, and that context determines what arguments Why should we assume that our basic subject matter is policy
are relevant. In a discussion over where to go to dinner, an debate? Several considerations converge to support this judgment.
argument over the logical status of cause would not be considered First, the topic being debated is a proposition of policy. Second, a
relevant. In a debate in Congress over gun control, questions of defining characteristic of one branch of this activity is policy
fundamental ontology (the nature of being) would not be debate. The selection of policy topics is not incidental but rather
considered germane. In a biology class, the question of the reflects an important part of the activity's self-definition. Finally,
existence of other minds would simply never come up. In terms of and perhaps most importantly, debate has to began somewhere. It
policy debate, the point is very similar. In debating a specific either begins with the plan or with the resolution. And if either a
policy or a specific policy proposition, arguments occur on a policy plan or a policy proposition is the center of the discussion,
certain level of abstraction. then by definition it seems to be a policy discussion which is being
undertaken, with whatever limits are appropriate to policy
This is not to say that argument over specific policies never appeals discourse taken for granted.
to higher levels of abstraction. All policy argument is grounded in
certain moral conceptions, so different moral values are often The attempt to displace policy concerns from the center of debate
appropriately discussed. Sometimes general questions of political rested initially on the argument that fiat is utopian because nothing
theory may be relevant, but it extremely rare that a specific policy really happens at the end of the round. Problems with this theory
discussion would ever invoke fundamental metaphysical or of fiat have already been discussed. No one ever really thought that
epistemological concerns. Within any context in which specific fiat actually put policies into place; it is simply an assumption of
policies would be debated, standard assumptions about these action, made in order to assess desirability. What does happen at

xix
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

the end of the round is that a tentative judgment is made framework. These arguments need not bee the equivalent to "policy
concerning the desirability of the affirmative plan. The judge either debate, love it or leave it." They are merely arguments about
endorses the affirmative plan or withholds his or her endorsement. whether the negative position is germane to the affirmative. They
Still, a real judgment based on the arguments in the round has been no more exclude or marginalize the negative than a topicality
made (To this extent, arguments that debate is not real world seem argument marginalizes the affirmative. In both cases, arguments
misguided. The issues are real, the arguments are real, the are dismissed as not relevant to the issues at hand, but there is no
participants are real, and a real decision is made. ) Furthermore, the implication that the people making those arguments should quit
process of arguing for and making decisions about public policy policy debate--rather, they should make arguments within its
questions is an important one. Citizens in a democracy have at least framework.
some influence on public decisions and an accompanying
responsibility to be informed. Many debaters do rise to positions The second major premise of the kritik is that it is appropriate to
of power and influence, either as actual decision makers or as question all assumptions. But this assumption can itself be
opinion leaders. Finally, even for the most apolitical, awareness of questioned. A first problem with the questioning of all assumptions
public policy issues can be important if only for self--defense. It's is its potential for infinite regression. Every answer given to every
hard to know how to resist oppression if public policy issues are question can itself be questioned. How do we know we exist?
being ignored. Indeed, to resist oppression at all (especially in an Because we have an immediate intuition of our existence. Why
intelligent way) requires some sensitivity to the nuances of public should we believe our immediate intuitions? Because that's the way
policy. in which our minds are structured. Why are our minds structured
that way? Well, perhaps because of the pressures of natural
At this point, probably few kritik proponents would argue that selection. How do we know that natural selection is a valid theory?
policy debate has no value (though this is of course what the kritik It seems clear that this questioning process could continued
of normativity directly asserts). Instead, they will argue that while infinitely. At some point, certain axioms have to be accepted as
policy concerns may have importance, so do other issues, for self-evident; otherwise no provisional judgments are ever possible.
example, questions of language. Most of thee arguments against To ask, as Heidegger did, why is there something rather than
this position will be discussed under the section on answers to nothing? may be simply meaningless. There is something, and why
kritiks of language, but a couple of points are worth mentioning at there is may well be completely moot.
this juncture. First, the things that are most important either to us
personally or in the cosmic scheme of things may still not be The problem of infinite regressiveness seems especially acute if
relevant to the topic which has been selected for debate. If one accepts, as postmodernists typically do, the validity of
immediate relevance to our lives were the ultimate standards then anti-foundationalism. If there are no ultimate intellectual
kritiks of attire or personal hygiene would seem to come into play. certainties, the questioning of all assumptions will by definition
If we rule out kritiks like these as not relevant to whether or not the lead into an infinite loop. One can only act on assumptions which
plan is a good idea, then it seems that arguments about the rhetoric seem most plausible. Even if this is true, of course, the question
of the resolution, evidence, or analysis would not be very relevant still remains of what assumptions we should question and which
either. ones we should accept. Again, the best answer seems to be that this
should be determined by the context of the discussion. In the
Second, the "other issues should be weighed" standard seems to context of a Malthus debate, the assumption that death checks are
completely lack any principled method for weighing arguments. always bad is probably not an appropriate one to make, but for
How does one weigh the risk of a policy impact against a babysitters it is an excellent assumption.
somewhat prejudicial use of language? It is a classic case of apples
and oranges, that is, of ideas which are completely The infinite regress objection is sometimes dismissed as overly
incommensurate. One might reasonably claim that one or the other theoretical, as not a problem that would actually arise in a debate.
takes priority, but to try to weigh them against each other seems There have been debates, however, where the negative has
completely arbitrary. regressed to the point of questioning whether human life has any
value. At that point there really seems to be not much further to go.
The argument is also sometimes made that the suspension of policy Mill's answer was that things have value because people value
debate in light of other issues is not unique to the kritik; it also them. If an answer like that is unacceptable, then it is hard to know
occurs in the case of typicality and evidence falsification. At least how one would go about validating such a fundamental value
two points can be made in terms of this argument. First, both of question.
these suspensions of the consideration of policy alternatives
arguably serve as means of safeguarding the policy The second major objection to the questioning of all assumptions
decision-making process. Topicality serves to assure that it is a is that it leads to nihilism, that is, the belief in nothing. To revert to
relevant policy which has been proposed. Voting against teams the above example, to vote negative because the affirmative cannot
who misrepresent evidence is generally seen as necessary to assure "prove" that life has value seems to me, at least, to be profoundly
the integrity of the policy discussion process. Finally, even if some nihilistic. Is it really good to question whether racism or sexism are
ethical infractions might justify a decision, it seems that these bad? Hitler's questioning of the basic assumptions of liberal
should be significant violations of shared standards. An infelicitous humanism is certainly not a very savory example. Nor, once again,
word choice hardly seems to justify calling out the heavy moral is this problem academic. Precisely because ultimate values are so
artillery. difficult to justify, incessantly questioning them can really lead to
radical skepticism. And, as Dostoevsky put it, if nothing is true,
One final point should be made about the defense of the policy everything is permitted, from mayhem to mass murder.

xx
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

The third major assumption of the kritik is that the negative need it was not considered necessary to have a better alternative, merely
not defend a policy alternative. The basic argument against this to have sufficient doubt to withhold assent. In the policy
stance is that policy argument is inherently comparative. All policy framework, the rethinking option most closely resembles the study
alternatives involve costs, and all possess flaws. As Churchill counterplan, which also advocated suspended action while further
noted about democracy, it is the worst system of government study was undertaken.
except for all the rest. If the negative is allowed to simply kritik the
affirmative proposal they will inevitably find flaws, but unless Despite its roots in these venerable theoretical constructs, I doubt
there is some better alternative, even a flawed proposal is best. If that rethinking will salvage the kritik from the change of no
imperfect analysis or an imperfect policy is a basis for voting alternative First, it might be argued that even rethinking cannot
negative, then the negative should always win. proceed effectively if there is no explicit policy alternative to
consider. One can rethink forever, but without at least two
Sometimes pure kritik is defended on the grounds that critical alternatives to choose from, no coherent policy decision can really
thinking is the central skill which debate has to teach. While I occur.
would not deny the value of critical thought, learning to think
constructively is also important. The world's real problems require Second, one might well raise the question of what level of doubt is
real, if imperfect solutions. To encourage an attitude which needed to justify rethinking. There is almost always some doubt at
promotes pure criticism without any appeal to a constructive the end of every round. Does this mean that the judge should
alternative seems fundamentally irresponsible. Nor is the kind of always vote to rethink? Presumably not. But when then is there
carping criticism which offers no alternative usually very enough doubt to justify rethought? Third, one can question the
persuasive in most argument situations. solvency of the rethinking process. If rethinking is to be an
appealing alternative, then there must be some reason to believe
In its defense of non-comparative argument, what the kritik seems that rethinking a set of issues which has presumably been thought
to assure is that the focus of the debate is the affirmative's analysis through once in the course of the debate is likely to come to a
(including its rhetoric) and not the affirmative plan. The point once superior conclusion. Especially if what is to be rethought is
again needs to be made that an affirmative's case might be almost something like the Western philosophical tradition, the idea of
totally flawed while still justifying at the margin that its plan is a humanism, or the nature of power, there is little reason to believe
good idea. Rhetoric and analysis are merely means to the end of that more thought will resolve issues such as these which have
justifying the policy. Affirmative assumptions need not all be been mulled over for millennia. Fourth, rethinking is justified only
totally true to accomplish this end; even the chance that an if the direction of advantage versus disadvantage is in doubt. If the
assumption is true gives the plan a net benefit, and a net benefit (or logical impact of the kritik is simply to serve as a harm reduction
comparative advantage) is enough, all things equal, to justify a argument, that is, if there is no risk of a disadvantage, then there is
policy. The end of proving its plan desirable can still be sustained no point in rethinking in order to determine just how desirable the
even if most affirmative arguments are extremely dubious. affirmative policy is. Fifth, the solvency of rethinking may be
undermined by the kritik itself. Kritiks which challenge the process
The kritik also seems to rest on the flawed assumption that of rational thought itself or which fail to distinguish knowledge
arguments should be judged in black and white terms, rather than from power can hardly defend further thought as an alternative.
in terms of probabilities. In fact, the only absolute judgment which Sixth, and perhaps most important, rethinking seems perfectly
the judge needs to make is for or against the plan. On most other consistent with the tentative endorsement of the affirmative plan.
issues there is likely to be some doubt at the end of the round (at Rethinking, after all, is a life long process. (Heidegger, for
least if they have been meaningfully contested). Few kritiks (or example, spent over fifty years trying to rethink the nature of
critiques) are so devastating that one would conclude that they are being.) Especially while engaged in the process of rethinking some
one hundred percent certain. But absent such certainty, and lacking fundamental philosophical issue, one will customarily continue to
an alternative, they should rarely amount to more than partial make provisional political judgments. Especially if there is doubt
arguments reducing an affirmative advantage. Again it seems about the kritik, tentative endorsement of the plan within one
paradoxical that a debate theory which purports to be based in a thought system seems justified while that thought system is being
philosophy as relativistic about truth claims as postmodernism rethought. (For example, I might tentatively endorse a plan as a
would insist on the judge making absolute judgments rather than good idea within the humanist framework while still rethinking the
recognizing that choice must be based on inherent uncertainties. Of general concepts of humanism.) Another point is that the
course, even if the kritik were, through some strange eventuality, uncertainty of the rethinking process justifies tentative judgments.
determined to be absolute, it may only serve to render the debate The rethinking process (and the call to rethink) could go on pretty
a tie. At that point, at minimum, some theory of presumption is much forever. We never reach certain knowledge. So, once again,
required to serve as a tie-breaker. (Either that or a convenient coin.) it seems justified to make a tentative endorsement while rethinking.
Finally, the debate itself should be regarded as part of the process
The latest attempt to answer the no alternative objection is a of rethinking. The judge's vote at the end of the round represents
defense of the idea of "rethinking. The argument here is that the his or her best thought, based on the debate, of the issue at hand.
judge does have an alternative at the end of the round, the Voting one way or another doesn't suspend all future thought (the
alternative of rethinking. In effect, the kritik is redefined as an next round may be only ten minutes away); rather, it constitutes a
alternative, the option of deferred judgment. In this approach to the provisional judgment rendered in the ongoing process of
no alternative problem, the kritik again displays close affinities to rethinking.
hypothesis testing. In the hypothesis testing paradigm, the judge
evaluated the truth of the resolution. To reject the resolution's truth, The fourth major assumption of the kritik is that kritiks of the

xxi
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

policy framework can be made in the same round as other, Similar arguments are directed against deconstruction. It is said to
conventional policy arguments. The argument, based in part on the be nihilistic, politically ineffectual and reactionary, as well as
analogy of topicality, is that if the assumption is true, then the essentially irrationalist. The argument is made that deconstruction
question of policy desirability becomes relevant, but that if the is infinitely regressive, that it fails to offer alternatives, and that it
assumption is flawed, then the policy debate is moot. In effect, they is intellectually unintelligible. The argument is even made that we
make an if/then statement: if the affirmative assumption being should both act and deconstruct.
challenged is true, then its plan is still a bad idea.
What is the import of these arguments for debate? It does seem that
This premise of the kritik is probably less important to challenge many of the indictments of deconstruction and of postmodernism
than are the three premises discussed above. (And of those three do authentically implicate the theory of the kritik. Proponents of
the policy framework and the no alternative arguments are the kritik explicitly ground their theory in postmodern thought, and
probably the most important.) Still, it may be useful on some deconstruction seems to closely parallel the kritik. Thus, the
occasions to attack the "conditional" nature of the kritik. First, if affirmative might well wish to argue that the kritik rests on these
the kritik is implicitly offering one or more policy alternatives, and philosophical assumptions and that they are fundamentally flawed.
if the negative is also defending the status quo or some other I make this suggestion with a certain reservation. Not all kritiks
counterplan, then in effect the negative is defending conditional rely on explicitly postmodern premises, even though the process of
policy alternatives. At this point, arguments against conditionality kritik may do so implicitly. The negative might easily choose to
do seem relevant. Second, if the kritik offers a radically different answer such arguments by claiming that they are just general
view of the world, it is arguably inconsistent to then proceed to indictments which don't apply to the particular kritik. Still, this
make arguments within the framework being attacked. A true does embroil the negative in something of a paradox. If
post-humanist wouldn't both militantly indict the legacy of assumptions are fair game for attack then the assumptions of the
humanism and make arguments based on the humanist framework. kritik likewise seem legitimate to indict. And, of course, most
This kind of inconsistency seem as contrary to common notions of kritiks are also generic and fail to clash very specifically with
advocacy as is the advancing of two conditional policy alternatives. affirmative analysis. Finally, if the kritik is claimed to have
intellectual respectability in part because of its academic pedigree
In addition to arguing that the theoretical presuppositions of the in postmodernism, then surely that pedigree can itself be subjected
kritik are questionable, have suggested that its philosophical roots to critique.
in postmodernism and deconstruction are also subject to attack.
Some of the arguments against these perspectives have already I want to conclude this section on general arguments against the
been discussed in the section on the intellectual background to the kritik by responding to the arguments made in favor of the kritik
kritik, but there are a number of other points worth making. which were listed earlier. Some have been touched on in places,
but it seems useful to address this set of concerns in a more
Many of the arguments made against postmodernism as a systematic way.
philosophical perspective are very similar to arguments made
against the kritik as a theory in debate. First, postmodernism is The first argument was that a narrow version of policy debate has
often said to produce a paralyzing skepticism. In doubting a stranglehold on the activity. Though overstated, I do have some
everything, it undermines respect for reason, science, and even sympathy for this argument. If there is a theoretical orthodoxy in
truth itself. Despite their limits, reason and science can both be debate today, it probably is a rather conservative variant of the
defended as necessary tools of human survival, especially in the policy paradigm which places primary emphasis on advocacy and
modern age. Second, postmodern thought, though often embraced is militantly anti-conditional. In addition, this group of judges and
by persons on the contemporary political left, is said at root to be coaches tends to be conservative on counterplan theory (an
profoundly reactionary. At best, the denial of rational standards is affirmative bias), liberal on topicality (also another affirmative
said to lead to political paralysis; at worst, the postmodern kritik of bias), and is often willing to in effect censor substantive policy
modern democratic liberalism has been associated with the various arguments which they find offensive (generally speaking, still
totalitarianisms of the twentieth century. Third, postmodernism is another affirmative bias). It is probably not coincidental that since
indicted as nihilistic. Fourth, the postmodern "theory of history" is this orthodoxy has become solidified, the case versus Clinton has
said to be both wrong and self-contradictory. Some would deny become pretty much the standard debate. But pet peeves aside, the
that we have either entered or are on the verge of entering a "stranglehold" of policy conservatives seems like an exaggerated
postmodern period. Others have argued that the idea of concern. First, the kritik has hardly been stifled; indeed, for such
postmodernism is self-contradictory. Lyotard defined the a radically new theory, it has gained remarkably fast acceptance.
postmodern in terms of the rejection of "grand theory." But the idea (Part of this no doubt stems from negative debaters hard up for a
of a fundamental transition from modern to postmodern may itself strategy.) Indeed, the kritik perspective (which I am tempted to
be a grand theory, an overarching theory of history no less relabel as the "critical gaming" paradigm) has rather rapidly
ambitious than Hegel's or Spengler's. Fifth, the perspective of the created its own counter-orthodoxy.
Enlightenment is still defended as fundamentally valid. While the
eighteenth century was certainly somewhat naive about the power The benefit of orthodoxy is predictability. the relative quiet on the
of reason to reshape society, many of its libertarian and egalitarian theory battlefront which prevailed in the late 1980s allowed
ideals have in fact been realized. (Not many of us would trade substantive policy debate to proceed largely without theoretical
places with a French peasant of the age of Louis XVI.) And even distraction. The kritik introduced a whole new dimension of debate
if reason is not a panacea, it may still be necessary to check the theory argument into the activity, and argument over debate theory,
irrational elements of the human makeup. while it can be interesting, is ultimately rather trivial. Currently,

xxii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

debate seems radically polarized between the forces of policy the appeal to free inquiry as a basic value in debate. In effect, it
advocacy and tabula rasa kritikers. So now, instead of one accuses kritik opponents of hypocrisy, or at least of possessing a
orthodoxy we have two, both dogmatic, who only come together profound split in their thought between freedom and structure. I
to battle over the strike card. My own view, some of the polemics take this argument seriously enough that I do not believe that the
of this essay notwithstanding, I believe to be somewhere in the kritik should be dismissed out of hand. Kritiks which are
middle. I would favor a more liberal version of policy debate, one coherently argued should be considered. But this does not mean
which would allow the negative more options. This would both that arguments about their germaneness are not relevant. It is not
alleviate to some extent the narrowness of the policy advocacy intellectually intolerant to dismiss arguments about quantum
paradigm and limit the temptation of kritik as a means to gain some mechanics in a discussion of HAMLET. Again, the judge should
leverage on the negative. (In sum, I would recommend the not do this arbitrarily, but there is no reason why he or she should
replacement, or at least the supplementation, of the policy not listen to arguments that kritik is not relevant to a policy
advocacy paradigm with a paradigm of policy criticism and framework. Also, if free speech liberals find themselves in a
analysis. While the focus would remain on policy, making the somewhat paradoxical situation in opposing the kritik, pro-kritik
kritik of limited relevance, the perspective from which policy postmodernists may be in some tension in defending the kritik on
would be viewed would be definitely broadened. That, however, is liberal free speech grounds. Much, though not all, of postmodern
clearly another essay.) All of this said, defenders of the orthodox thought is profoundly illiberal. (Whatever else Nietzsche,
policy view have at least one other strong argument to make here. Heidegger, and Foucault may have been, they were not liberal
The topic does change every year, and every topic has innumerable democrats; nor does Derrida appear to be.)
elements. If debaters were as creative in devising policy arguments
as they have been of late in devising kritiks, policy stagnation This does not justify excluding their ideas--I am willing the let the
would be much less of a problem. In addition, it can be questioned Nazis march through debate just as I was willing to let them march
whether in the long run the kritik really will be so intellectually through Skokie. But it is still worth noting that the values of liberal
stimulating. The kind of philosophical arguments which the kritik tolerance which would justify such speech are not shared by many
tends to raise are ultra-generic. It would be possible to debate them of the thinkers whose thought is being put forward. (Please note,
year after year. Some of them even date from the time of the above comment is intended mainly as a dig against
Protagoras (the reputed founder of debate). Nor has the revival of Heidegger--more on that later. I am emphatically not accusing
the anarchy counterplan in the form of the statism kritik brought a proponents of the kritik in debate of being Nazis.)
breath of fresh air into the activity.
The fourth main argument for the kritik is the tabula rasa position
The second main pro-kritik argument is that the kritik represents that everything should be debatable. In terms of the kritik, I am
"new thinking." As suggested above, some of the ideas which the willing to accept the proposition that any reasonably developed,
kritik has rejuvenated are not especially new even for debate. It coherent, substantive position should be considered on its merits.
also seems a bit odd to characterize ideas that Martin Heidegger But even if the judge should be open to all well-developed
formulated in the 1920s and 1930s as "new thinking." I have positions, this need not imply the necessity of voting on every blip
already noted that the critique of modernity is probably as old as tagged as a "voting issue." The problem with the tabula rasa
modernity itself. Neither Malthus, Wordsworth, Hume, Burke, or approach to judging is that it tends to promote a clerical speed and
Rousseau would exactly qualify as "new thinkers." (Nor would the accuracy attitude toward debate. It places a great premium on
figures of the Inquisition who kritiked Galileo's radically modern proliferating cheap shots and, I believe, definitely undervalues the
belief that the earth goes around the sun appear to be the more intellectually substantive goals of debate.
embodiment of "new thought.") According to some scholars, the
thinking of even Derrida and Foucault is already out of date in Insofar as tabula rasa is used as a basis for defending the kritik, it
France, and others see postmodernism in America as simply a is important to have some arguments against it; otherwise, it is
passing fad. Many of these ideas are, of course, new to debate but somewhat peripheral to this discussion.
the appeal to newness seems to be a more rhetorical than
substantive one. (It also seems suspiciously grounded in the The fifth argument in favor of the kritik which I want to consider
preeminently modern belief in progress.) is the claim that the kritik is justified by the prominence of
postmodern thought in contemporary academia. This argument
Obviously not all new ideas are good. Nazism was new once too, does, I think, have some merit. Postmodern thought is more or less
and it derived much of its intellectual force from the kind of unavoidable today, and it was probably only a matter of time
critique of modernity found in Nietzsche and Heidegger. If we before it penetrated policy debate. It should be noted that a good
really wanted to revolutionize debate we could speak totally in deal of postmodern thought can be accommodated within the
German rather than simply adopting one German word. Since framework of normal, comparative policy debate. Feminism and
language supposedly structures thought, this should really CLS, for example, have provided many non-kritik arguments. Even
revolutionize our thinking. On a more practical note, innovation the Foucauldian power kritik could be run as a disadvantage,
has costs as well as benefits. If the kritik has been stimulating for although doing so would probably help dramatize its weaknesses.
some, it has been profoundly confusing and alienating for others. (This is also another reason why the free speech argument is less
Paradigm transformation probably always entails a period of compelling; most people's objection is to the form not the radical
intellectual chaos; it isn't clear that it is something to be sought content of these arguments.) Debate should accommodate some
simply for the sake of intellectual novelty. postmodern themes. Nonetheless, it does not follow from this that
academic policy debate should mindlessly parrot modes of
The third argument for the kritik is more substantive. It involves argument and discourse found in academia simply because debate

xxiii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

is an academic activity, any more than it follows that we should answer to everything, and thought which challenges the
mimic all the procedures of Congress because we are debating a perspective tends to be screened out. Of course, this is true of
policy proposition. I do not think that the main purpose of debate almost any world view--it will repel contrary viewpoints. But if
is to teach students about trends in academic thought; if it is, then kritikgeist becomes the one way to look at things, then it seems at
different topics should certainly be selected. Trends in international least as confining as the viewpoints it rejects.
relations scholarship are certainly relevant to debating about China
or the Mid-east; trends in deconstructive, reader response criticism A second danger is alienation. Not all alienation is necessarily bad;
seem far less germane. Finally, the trends associated with there are values as well as costs in attaining some degree of
postmodernism in the academy are far from non-controversial. detachment from one's society. But carried too far, doubt can
Many critics believe that they are making the university ever more become debilitating. Proponents of the kritik make the valid point
detached from the rest of society. Many regard deconstruction and that our language and our discourse, our ideas and our arguments
associated phenomena was purely ivory tower efforts to escape the have consequences. But given this, it seems likely that too much
fact that the leftist agenda has failed. The deconstructionists and kritik, too much skepticism, too much doubt too long sustained can
other postmoderns withdraw into their enclaves and talk to each also have consequences of a less than savory sort. At the risk of
other in a jargon unintelligible to the rest of society. If academic overusing an example, it still seems clear to me that it was in part
policy debate best functions, as I think it does, at the intersection the sustained critique of modernity current in Germany in the
of academic policy scholarship and public policy making, then a 1920s which paved the way for Hitler. Of course, World War I, the
retreat into the more esoteric confines of academic theorizing Treaty of Versailles, and the Great Depression were critical factors
seems distinctly counterproductive. as well. But it seems unlikely that Germany would have taken the
virulently racist direction it did if the basic framework of Western
The sixth argument that I want to consider here is that rejecting the values had not been cast so severely in doubt.
kritik constitutes a mechanism of exclusion. This argument, I think,
gets things almost completely backwards. I doubt that anyone has Closer to home, it does not seem unreasonable to suspect that the
been drawn into the activity (for more than a tournament) out of a bombers of the Oklahoma City Federal Building may have taken
desire to debate kritiks. Perhaps if the kritik were banished from the kritik of statism a bit too seriously. Is the kritik intended to turn
debate tomorrow, a few committed kritikers would leave the debaters into domestic terrorists? Obviously not. Could it have that
activity, but this is uncertain at best, and besides such an immediate effect? Well, hopefully not. But if we take seriously the claim of
banishment is not going to occur. What I think is far more likely to the kritik's supporters that the actual effects of the words and ideas
happen is that if the kritik continues to gain in prominence, policy on of those in the round are what matters most, then this does not
debate will become attractive to fewer and fewer participants. seem to be a possibility to dismiss out of hand. Debaters typically
develop a certain callousing in terms of the arguments they make.
Policy debate is already difficult to learn. It involves a mastery of Debate is seen fundamentally as a game, so they tend to think that
a broad subject matter, an esoteric body of theory, and a difficult they can make some fairly horrific arguments without their own
technique. Introduction of the kritik adds the realms of philosophy belief systems being strongly implicated. This is a tendency we
and modern social theory to the purview of debate and it also sometimes criticized, and perhaps it is an unfortunate one, but if we
introduces a whole new set of theory concerns. Policy debate may tear down the screens between our arguments and "the real world,"
in some ways be simplistic, but it is navigable. In postmodern then it is also necessary to consider the real world implications of
debate, there are no clear standards (even defining or categorizing trying to persuade a judge (and indirectly yourself and the rounds'
kritiks is criticized as overly structured), and everything is up for other participants) of propositions like "the state should be
grabs. I seriously doubt that over time that many people will want abolished," "humanism should be rejected," "human welfare is
to play a game so difficult or so unstructured. The value of a policy irrelevant in light of the overwhelming importance of the
focus is that most educated people are interested in public policy ecosystem," or "human life has no value." Probably each of these
issues. There are far fewer philosophy majors. The point of all this positions is defensible, but I highly question the desirability of
is that the kritik is far more likely to effectively exclude people defending them. The kritik has borrowed a number of things from
from the activity than it is to engage them in it. Of course, this is a hypothesis testing. If indeed it takes seriously its own stated
mild venture on my part into speculative doom-saying; I hope I position that real world effects on participants are what matter
don't prove prophetic. most, then perhaps it should borrow another of hypothesis testing's
precepts: debaters should argue for what they actually believe in.
A final theme which seems to run, at least implicitly, through
defenses of the kritik is the idea that the process of kritik is GENERIC ANSWERS TO LANGUAGE KRITIKS
intellectually liberating and empowering. It is liberating to
encounter new perspectives, to challenge ideas that had always In addition to the general arguments against kritiks, a number of
been accepted. This is a value of debate which probably almost arguments can be made specific to language kritiks. First, if the
everyone has experienced--both before and since the kritik. the central focus of the debate is on policy, that is, on the desirability
kritik encompasses some extremely stimulating ideas, and I do not of the plan, then poorly chosen language isn't a reason to vote
doubt that it produces intellectual experiences of this sort. But all negative (or affirmative, if it is the negative's language which is
this admitted, there are still certain dangers associated with what being kritiked). Second, in other argument forums, we wouldn't
Jon Brody has called "kritikgeist." The first danger is one suspend the process of policy debate over poor word choices.
associated with entering a total system of thought. Deconstruction Congress wouldn't suspend debate to focus exclusively on the
appears to be rather like Marxism and Freudianism in that it offers propriety of a phrase such as "Islamic fundamentalism." And while
a complete world view. Within these perspectives there is an a policy scholar might dispute the word choice, s/he wouldn't

xxiv
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

abandon the search for the best policy simply because such an terms of the value of free speech.
expression had been used. Third, too much preoccupation with
language can distract from substantive policy analysis. This is the In light of this the affirmative may wish to play down some of the
standard argument made against excessive preoccupation with normal arguments about debate not being an open forum for any
topicality. Fourth, too much focus on words can lead to the and all viewpoints. Probably, though, the affirmative position at
ignoring of reality. This is a common indictment of deconstruction. least is reconcilable. The affirmative can consistently defend free
Fifth, language focus can be trivializing. A good example of this is speech. They are not presumably, arguing to punish the negative
the debate over the propriety of the "and/or" expression. Sixth, the with a loss for running a kritik, but merely arguing that the kritik
affirmative should not be accountable for resolutional language. is an irrelevant argument in this context. Whether the negative can
Their responsibility is to defend a topical example of the as easily reconcile its apparent contradiction is less clear. It might
resolution; they need not defend the felicity of the topic framers' be argued that the kritik is not a code, but it can function the same
word choice. way in terms of chilling speech. Indeed, codes might be less
offensive since they at least provide some notice, whereas language
Seventh, language found in evidence also isn't absolute. At most it kritiks can apply to everything from grammatical constructions to
indicates a possible reason to distrust that source. Eighth, in most ethnic references. And both punish a form of expression rather than
cases it should be possible to defend your language choices. The debating it on its merits.
phrase "Islamic fundamentalism," for example, has both a
denotative and a connotative meaning. Denotatively, it simply The affirmative should certainly argue that only the most offensive
refers to persons who believe in the literal truth of the Islamic language expressions should be voting issues. Perhaps there are
religion. It is the negative, not the affirmative, that is suggesting some expressions so commonly taken to be offensive that they
that the phrase inherently implies an adverse image. Furthermore, should be punished with a loss (statements which are commonly
it is a bona fide argument that extremely conservative versions of understood to be bigoted). Perhaps such usages (especially if
Islam are associated with terrorism and anti-Western attitudes. Not applied to one of the participants in the round) do as much to
all Muslims are fundamentalist, and not all fundamentalists are compromise the activity as falsifying evidence. If so, then the
terrorists, but this does not mean that there is not a tenable link dramatic sanction of punishment with a loss might be justified.
between Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. Ninth, to Generally, though, punishment seems to be a bad idea. It obviously
immediately suspend debate because some politically incorrect distracts from policy issues, may well be excessive in light of the
phrase has been used is anti-intellectual. The point of the debate is severity of the offense (or arbitrary in its application), chills the
presumably to determine whether fundamentalism is the source of free expression of ideas, and highlights judge prejudice. And if we
a significant threat and what can be done about it. To label this as punish word choice, why not punish other things? Styles, theories,
racial stereotyping and to suspend debate is to beg the question; even substantive arguments which we dislike would all seem to be
whether it is a stereotype grounded in some reality is the key issue. fair candidates. Finally, proliferating claims that your opponents'
Furthermore, if one side makes an argument about the nature of language is bigoted hardly figures to promote a friendly and
Islamic fundamentalism in good faith and loses that argument, that collegial atmosphere in debate. The punishment theory was
should not automatically produce a loss. To do so figures to stifle popularized in the middle 1980s but was rather rapidly discredited.
the free exchange of ideas, chilling potentially valid arguments. It would be unfortunate to see it revived in the moralistic wrapping
Tenth, it may be useful to challenge the theory of language which of a language kritik. Finally, punishment with a loss seems grossly
insist that our words structure our reality. While this is certainly excessive when no offense is intended. The offensiveness of
true to some extent, the reverse is also true: language reflects and language is strongly conditioned by the intent of the speaker. If a
represents non-linguistic reality. Also, language is not a speaker's language is inadvertently offensive, then one might bring
straightjacket. It contains an infinite number of possible statements that to his or her attention, but a brief apology (or clarification)
combining different words. Also, language changes; new words should be sufficient to compensate for the miscue.
appear and old words are given new senses. Nor does linguistic
change necessarily mean social change. Not every racist uses racial The language kritik is probably the one instance where claiming
epithets. A person, under pressure, may hypocritically change his the loss of the kritik as a reverse voting issue is most appropriate.
or her language, while retaining prejudicial attitudes unaffected. If one side's language is said to be so offensive, so bigoted or
Finally, eleventh, there are a wide range of anti-political prejudicial, that they should lose, then this is tantamount to an
correctness arguments which can be made against language kritiks. ethical challenge. And, just as false (or even unsubstantiated)
Much of the literature in support of these arguments will come accusations of evidence falsification are commonly seen as voting
from the discussion of university speech codes. It is commonly issues, so should unsustained accusations of bigoted language. The
argued that such codes are a form of censorship, that speech limits voting issue impact claimed by the kritik suggests that these
snowball that limiting speech undermines the role of the university, offenses are on a comparable moral plane, and discouraging
that they chill free expression, and that they are ineffective and frivolous accusations of bigoted language also is a valid goal. Of
counterproductive because they produce backlash and/or drive course, to sustain this argument, it is necessary to accept the
prejudice underground. Social reform is said to depend vitally on framework of the kritik; argument about the primacy of policy
free speech and learning to confront prejudice is said to be argument undercut its impact.
especially important for minorities.
GENERIC ANSWERS TO METAPHYSICAL KRITIKS
And many argue that offensive speech is the price of freedom. You
will probably have noticed that when language kritiks are at issue, Against these kritiks, one branch of the genre of pure philosophical
the pro- and anti-kritik positions seem to be reversing their sides in "kritiks of thought," a number of relatively distinctive arguments

xxv
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

can be made. First, it can be argued that metaphysical (as well as probably have policy implications in the round (or will be claimed
epistemological) questions are outside of our realm of discourse. to have at a later point). Also, if these arguments are beaten on
These questions involve high level abstractions which would their merits as policy positions, they are likely to also fail as
almost never be raised in a policy debate. You don't need to prove kritiks. Second, it is also important to point out where these
that you exist in order to debate about China policy. A field context arguments fail conceptually as policy arguments. For example,
standard proves that these kritiks are invalid. Arguments of this rights kritiks don't really function too well as case turns because
sort are never raised in the literature surrounding the topic (at least they are non-unique. Third, alternative worldview kritiks such as
any topic I've encountered). Thus, they are not germane. Third, statism, should be debated basically like counterplans. If the
high school debate especially is the wrong forum for this type of alternatives to the state, such as anarchy, are bad, then the state is
argument. Most high school debaters have never even had an vindicated by default. Also, in pointing out that these are in effect
introductory philosophy course, making it unreasonable to expect non-texted conditional counterplans, a number of other theoretical
them to deal with arguments of this sort. Fourth, the pure arguments become available. Fourth, it may be useful to
philosophy kritiks are rarely absolute because metaphysics is so generically kritik the idea of utopianism. Utopian thinking is
inherently uncertain. Humans might possess free will; no one has indicted for distracting attention from real solutions; it also can
ever definitively proven that they don't. Given this, the argument produce a willingness to commit present atrocities in the name of
that we should never make normative judgments seems quite some far off future. (You would need to win, of course, that the
dubious. Fifth, this sort of kritik destroys the discussion directing kritik presumes some utopian alternative--or perhaps that the lack
function of the topic. A major purpose of the topic is to direct of an alternative makes it utopian.) A fifth argument might be that
discussion to new, important, and timely issues each year. The if a position is implicitly a counterplan it needs to be presented as
topic fails in this purpose if the negative can ignore the topic and such; if it isn't, it is underspecified in the same way as an
debate two thousand year old philosophical quandaries. affirmative without a plan.

From a more philosophical standpoint, logical positivism argues ANSWERS TO SPECIFIC KRITIKS
strenuously that because they are not verifiable, metaphysical
arguments are meaningless. Even if meaningful most contemporary Since the carded answers to the specific kritik should be relatively
thinkers probably believe that metaphysical questions are self-explanatory, my discussion of particular kritiks will be brief.
inherently unanswerable. Both pragmatists and postmodernists In a few instances, there are some especially strong analytical
unite in their contempt for metaphysics. Even Nietzsche and arguments which merit addition. Also, there may be some
Heidegger (though much of their thought arguably is metaphysical) particular feature of one of the evidenced arguments which merits
join in this condemnation. special mention. but most of the relevant analysis will be found in
the tags and cards.
GENERIC ANSWERS TO EPISTEMOLOGICAL KRITIKS
REASON. The "kritik of reason" was among the early kritiks, but
Pretty much all of the debate theory derived arguments against it was rapidly abandoned, probably because it was provoking too
metaphysical kritiks also apply to epistemological kritiks. In much judge resistance. It is easy to see why this would be the case:
addition, pragmatism can also be used as a perspective from which if debate is anything, it is a reason giving activity. But, while the
to attack epistemology. Cornel West argues that a central theme of kritik of reason is rarely run overtly any more, many of its themes
pragmatism is its rejection of epistemological questions as and assumptions intersect with numerous other kritiks. Certainly
inherently sterile. (Pragmatists, remember, define truth as whatever a central theme (perhaps the central theme) of postmodernism is a
works.) Second, it is important to argue that epistemological doubt critique of reason. So, arguments in this section should have fairly
doesn't justify policy paralysis. Especially from an wide applicability against both epistemological and other kritiks.
anti-foundationalist perspective, nothing is certain, implying that
we must always act in the face of doubt. Third, it will often be It should be noted that there are many critiques of reason, so not all
useful to be prepared to defend that valid knowledge of the world of these arguments will apply especially well to each of them. Still,
is indeed available. Some common means through which reliable in most instances many of these will apply. First, the kritik of
knowledge is said to be gained are sense experience, deductive reason assumes too limited a view of the nature of rationality. A
logic, history, scholarly sub-disciplines, and perhaps most narrowly focused, purely instrumental, rationality might be
importantly, through science. Evidence defending the importance destructive, but rationality in a broad sense, encompassing both
of reason and science is especially significant because it can apply means and ends, need not be. Second, reason is a proper part of the
to many other kritiks. thought process. All thoughts probably begin as intuitions, but to
check our intuitions we need to rationally reflect on them.
Postmodernism in general and many postmodern thinkers, Intuitions are sometimes erroneous and often conflict; only rational
including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida, are reflection can sort them out. Third, there is no effective alternative
commonly said to be irrationalist and anti-scientific. to reason, especially on matters of public concern. The basic
alternatives to reason are intuition and emotion. Both may have a
GENERIC ANSWERS TO MORAL AND POLITICAL KRITIKS place in decision making, but they are essentially private
experiences. When people disagree, what are they to do, empte or
Moral and political kritiks (or kritiks of value) are closest in nature intuit at each other? Reasons, in contrast, have a public quality
to normal policy arguments; thus, they need to be treated in a which makes them more directly comparable. As many argue, the
somewhat different way from other kritiks. First, it is generally alternative to reason is the rule of force. Fourth, the kritik of reason
desirable to debate them as policy arguments. On one hand, they is probably not absolute against most affirmatives. Most

xxvi
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

affirmatives employ a process of rational inference, but most also causality is invalid, that fact should not cause the judge to vote
make emotive value judgments. Even if the rational appeal of a negative. The idea of trying to produce a distinct effect (a win)
case is dismissed, its emotive force can remain. Fifth, the through the argument that there are no distinct effects seems
indictment of "reason" is overbroad. "Reason" is a huge paradoxical to the point of absurdity.
abstraction. What the affirmative might well argue is that they don't
appeal to any abstract, eighteenth century ideal of "right reason", FOUCAULT. There are two somewhat distinct kritiks based on
rather, they give particular reasons designed to reach a particular Foucault's theories about power. The "disciplinary power" kritik
conclusion. It is therefore up to the negative to indict the argues that because power is totally decentralized, any attempt to
affirmative's specific reasons, not "reason" in general. Again, reform the system will inevitably fail (and is as likely to be
postmodernism, with its emphasis on situationalism and counterproductive as it is productive). The second kritik, which has
contextualism, would seem sympathetic to this claim. Sixth, been labelled the "panopticon" argues that affirmative analysis
reason, and its subsidiary science, are necessary tools of human rests on the repressive hypothesis--the false assumption that
survival. knowledge is always good and power always bad. (At least this is
my understanding of these two kritiks; their ambiguities make them
Seventh, some idea of "good reasons" is essential for making hard to pin down.)
choices. Foucault can talk all that he wants about marginalizing the
discourses of the mad--but to give equal weight to schizophrenic A first argument which can be made against these kritiks is that the
or paranoid thought seems to be a recipe for disaster. Eighth, the affirmative doesn't make the assumption that they indict. Even if
lack of certain foundations for knowledge is irrelevant; it simply power is decentralized and disciplinary, that power still manifests
means that we must do the best we can with probabilistic itself in the form of the affirmative harm. The affirmative simply
knowledge. Ninth, through argument we can come to attempts to redirect that particular form of disciplinary power.
intersubjective agreement about some things, but this process still Foucault to the best of may knowledge never argues that no
requires the comparison of reasons. Tenth, rejection of reason leads manifestations of power can ever be affected, nor that any effort to
to nihilist and violence The Nazis were probably the leading redirect power necessarily produces an equally harmful offsetting
political irrationalists of the twentieth century, and their example counter-effect.
should prove cautionary. Eleventh, reason produces the best policy
results. Even if scientific rationalism is the source of many In terms of the panopticon, I cannot recall any affirmative that
problems, in an overpopulated world it is likely that it also offers claimed that power is always bad or that knowledge is always
the only solution. Finally, it can be argued that rather than good. Some affirmatives may try to enhance knowledge but rarely
marginalizing, reason in fact empowers disadvantaged groups. if ever is their claim that knowledge is always beneficial. (And who
Certainly the alternative of Burkean "prejudices" seems far less would ever claim this anyway? Knowledge obviously can be
favorable to the marginalized. harmful--witness the knowledge of bomb making that resulted in
the destruction of the Oklahoma City Federal Building.)
CAUSALITY. The kritik of causality is grounded in the Furthermore, most affirmatives employ power, hardly implying
philosophy of David Hume, so it is important to know exactly what that they regard it as inherently oppressive.
Hume said about it. What he argued is that there is no logical
sanction for a belief in the process of inductive reasoning. We can't Second, there is no impact to disciplinary power shifting as a result
know as a matter of logical certainty that the future will repeat the of the plan. This is a completely unspecified scenario which cannot
past or that one event which always follows another was in fact be meaningfully weighed against a big affirmative impact. To
caused by the preceding event. Despite this, Hume still believed accept a war or some other disaster because disciplinary power
that inductive and causal reasoning were psychologically might react by doing something worse carries the risk of the
compelling. Hume as an empiricist, and he believed that humans unknown to an absurd point.
always act on the basis of their experience. Thus, the kritik of
causality is really more a demonstration of the limits of logical Third, Foucault's theory of power has been widely criticized. It
proof than it is a refutation of the principles of causation. seems to imply that the disciplines of a democratic society are as
oppressive as the manacles of a police state. Furthermore, the
Second, Hume draws an explicit line between philosophy and notion that there is no centralized power is silly. When Bush gave
practical affairs. He certainly would never have recommended the orders, the troops went to Kuwait; when Truman gave the
trying to act on the basis of a rejection of causality. In terms of his order, the bomb fell on Hiroshima.
psychological theories, in fact, he was essentially a determinist,
and in his later career as a historian he obviously assumed the Fourth, Foucault's theory is said to warrant complete political
validity of cause. passivity. It suggests that nothing constructive can be done, so one
might as well do nothing. Sometimes the power kritik is
Third, our daily experience confirms causality. Certain acts (absent accompanied by an argument suggesting the possibility of
intervening causes) invariably produce certain effects. Without a consciousness change, but it is hard to see where this idea is
belief in causality, it is hard to see how human life could proceed. grounded in Foucault's thought.
No one would eat or drink unless they believed that doing so
would cause certain effects. Fourth, if causation is even possibly Fifth, it can be argued that social discipline is necessary.
valid, it provides a reason to vote affirmative. If valid, the plan Disciplines which result from democratic choice and social
produces an advantage; if it is invalid, there is still no DA. Fifth, as convention are not self-evidently oppressive. Rejecting all forms
a kind of reduction to the absurd, you should also argue that if of social discipline-in the form of the prison, the school, the

xxvii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

business, even the family--is tantamount to anarchy. (But of course argument.) Finally, the kritik also appears to argue that by
that is another debate.) "rethinking" and the "refusal of spontaneous consent" the
repressive forces of the status quo can be "outflanked." Given their
A sixth argument attacks the historical basis of Foucault's theories. overwhelming power, it is difficult to see how this will be
A considerable body of evidence exists to the effect that he accomplished. There is no reason to believe that enough people
misrepresents historical facts and that his theories are not grounded will refuse "spontaneous consent" to make a difference (this is not
in evidence. Indeed, Foucault may not even have intended for his after all a unique disadvantage), nor is it clear why the judge's
theories to be taken literally, but rather as enlightening myths. single decision to rethink will make any real difference.
Again, though, it can be argued that myth is not a good basis for Furthermore, acts of assent and policy judgments are taking place
public policy. all of the time; it is unclear why this particular decision will be
decisive. In sum, this kritik, in effect, appears to be a super-generic
Seventh, if discipline pervades society then small, incremental social movements disadvantage, with the barest hint of uniqueness.
changes may be all that is possible. Despite has rather depressing It in effect calls on everyone to reject all policy ideas, no matter
sociology, Foucault was something of a political activist himself, how beneficial on their face, in the hope of obtaining a utopian
implying that he believed in the possibility of incremental change. mindshift of "galactic" significance. This seems far too vague to be
Finally, it is argued that Foucault's thought is essentially nihilistic, compelling.
that it lacks any consistent moral basis and that it essentially rejects
reason. HEIDEGGER/POST-HUMANISM. This kritik, also primarily out
of Spanos, but this time primarily based on Heidegger, is also
In terms of the panopticon kritik specifically, since I have never extremely vague. It argues essentially that humanism needs to be
heard this argument debated, it is unclear to me exactly how it rejected in favor of post-humanism, but it is somewhat short on
would play itself out. I have already suggested that few if any specifying just what either of these two positions entails. The
affirmatives actually make the "repressive hypothesis" on which essence of Heidegger's post-humanism appears to be the idea that
the kritik seems to rely. Second, this kritik also seems to rely in primary philosophical emphasis should be placed on "Being" rather
part on the idea of an "indissoluble continuum of forces." Exactly than human beings. But it is extremely unclear why one could not
what this means is a bit unclear. Presumably it means that believe this and still support any affirmative plan that has ever been
everything is connected and that actions in one part of a system can run. Surely neither Heidegger nor Spanos recommend completely
produce feedbacks in another. Again, this does not seem to be rejecting any concern with matters of practical politics; to be
something that the affirmative needs to deny. (Nor is this a vastly post-humanist does not mean to be anti-humanist. To win this
original insight--general systems theory has been around for some kritik, the negative needs to do two things. First, they need to win
time.) Feedbacks may, of course, produce disadvantages (or they that humanism should be rejected in favor of post-humanism, and
might snowball to reinforce the advantage). Or they might interfere second, they need to establish that from the post-humanist
with solvency. But it is presumably the burden of the negative to perspective the plan is a bad idea. This is not really established
prove just what feedbacks are likely to occur--otherwise this is even if the negative manages to prove that William Spanos
simply a glorified presumption argument. Nor does the fact that disagrees with some aspect of affirmative analysis. If the bottom
everything is connected mean that predictable localized effects line impact of an affirmative advantage is to prevent some global
cannot be produced. The most immediate effects are almost always or national catastrophe (or even to simply benefit a few people), it
the most pronounced. The pond ripples most dramatically at the is hard to see why even a post-humanist would reject it.
point of contact. And Mike Tyson swinging his fist may affect the
rest of the universe, but it affects the chin with which it connects In terms of the argument that post-humanism is superior to
the most forcefully. Third, insofar as the kritik rests on Foucault's humanism, a number of points can be made. First, liberal
equation of knowledge with power, it becomes paradoxical; that is, humanism can be defended as essentially progressive. This kritik
the kritik itself becomes just one more exercise in power and has rests once again on the idea that America and its new world order
no logical claim to possess a truth value. Fourth, knowledge isn't are inherently oppressive. Defeating this assumption should defeat
just power. Sometimes theories gain acceptance even though the the kritik. Second, the rejection of humanism can be said to lead to
powerful oppose them; the Copernican theory was eventually barbarism. Whatever one believes about Heidegger's own
accepted despite the opposition of the Church. Also, sometimes implications in Nazism, the two great political movements which
people adopt positions simply because they find them compelling. rejected liberal humanism in this century, Nazism and communism,
They may have no particular self-interest either way, or they might both slaughtered millions. Third, post-humanism is based on
even be compelled by the weight of the evidence to adopt a Heidegger's philosophy, and his thought has been indicted at
conclusion they would prefer to reject. Fifth, equating knowledge numerous levels. His obscurity has been said to mask intellectual
with power undermines science and rationality which, arguably, confusion, his thought has been described as intellectually
would be disastrous. Sixth, this kritik, which seems based authoritarian, he has been branded as a pseudo-theologian and a
exclusively on a book by English Professor William Spanos called nihilist. His central idea of Being has been criticized as
HEIDEGGER AND CRITICISM, in which he interprets Heidegger meaninglessly vague. (What does it mean to place central emphasis
and Foucault, explicitly assumes the overwhelming oppressiveness on Being?) Finally, there is the issue of Heidegger's Nazism.
of contemporary American society and the "New World Order"
with which it is connected. Thus, if the premise that the new world In terms of this question, there are really two distinct issues. The
order is evil can be defeated, or the assumption that America is a first is the actual degree of Heidegger's involvement with the
fundamentally oppressive society denied, then the kritik loses most Nazis. Two major biographers, Victor Farias and Hugo Ott, have
of its force. (Evidence under the CLS kritik makes this later argued that his involvement was extensive. In 1933, after the Nazi

xxviii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

ascendance, Heidegger accepted the state's appointment as rector that escape from normative thought is impossible. Schlag himself
of the University of Freiburg, an appointment heralded in Nazi is making a normative argument, that we should reject normativity.
publications. His speeches of this period have a definite pro-Nazi In fact, he recognizes this "performative contradiction," and talks
slant. In one of them he referred to "the inner truth and greatness his way around it, but never really seems to solve the problem.
of national socialism." What seems clear is that at least in the
middle 1930s, Heidegger admired and was politically involved The negative may argue that this merely shows how entrenched
with Hitler and Nazism. Nor is it clear that even after his short normativity is--that not even its opponents can escape its
tenure as rector, he repudiated Nazi beliefs. He was banned from terms--but that it still doesn't prove that it is valid. The affirmative
teaching from 1945 to 1951 because of his Nazi ties, and to the end can counter this argument by claiming that instead what it proves
of his life his condemnations of Nazism were relatively faint. is that human thought is inherently normative. It simply is the case
that we are constantly confronted with choices, and those choices
Still, probably the key question is not Heidegger's own degree of can only be made on the basis of value judgments. Third, there are
involvement in Nazism, but the degree to which his philosophy a wide variety of indictments of Schlag himself. One law review
parallels Nazism. This is contentious, but Stanley Rosen (in article develops at length the idea that his thought is warped by his
NIHILISM) and Richard Wolin (in THE POLITICS OF BEING) "paranoid intellectual style." Fourth, the affirmative should be
both argue strongly that his philosophy and his Nazism are prepared to defend individual autonomy. The normativity kritik
integrally related. Clearly Heidggger accepted the prevailing, seems to assume a fairly extreme form of hard determinism-that
mainly Nietzschean, critique of modernity, and therefore rejected people are directly determined by their immediate environments.
the liberal humanism of universal respect for persons. Heidegger
was also clearly something of a German nationalist. He believed in At least two perspectives are available for countering this
the metaphysical mission of Germany to regenerate the decadent argument. The first, indeterminism, argues that people are free in
West and saw the German state as the instrument of this mission. an absolute sense. The future is open and determined by individual
His rejection of humanism seems to have led him in two directions choices. The second position, compatiblism, argues that
at once. He moved on one level to the focus on Being, a determinism and free will are in fact compatible. Individuals are
perspective from which human lives are certainly not of the not directly determined by their environment, but rather by the
greatest significance, and on another level he moved in the total sum of their life experiences, including their reflections on
direction of German nationalism and veneration for the German those life experiences, as they interact with innate genetic
"volk." Again, it is hard to see this as unrelated to the Nazi project. predispositions. From this perspective, choice is still meaningful,
None of this is to imply that Heidegger has no valuable even if, there is only one choice which can be arrived at in the end,
philosophical insights, but in terms of his central rejection of the choice dictated by one's preponderant motives, including one's
humanism, the barbarous inhumanity of the political movement sense of identity. In choosing among these theories, indeterminism
with which he at least temporarily aligned himself suggests too seems to be in the most accord with our psychological experiences,
striking a parallel to be ignored. but compatiblism still maintains that human behavior is highly
flexible. determined by a whole set of conscious and unconscious
If Heidegger's politics are problematic, so is his ontology, or life experiences, and is not the simple product of direct
philosophy of being. Though Heidegger sometimes criticizes environmental pressure. Finally, it might be argued that whatever
metaphysics, it is difficult to conceive what could be more one thinks about the essentially metaphysical question of free will
metaphysical than a preoccupation with Being as opposed to versus determinism, free choice is one of the necessary
beings. Not only does this raise arguments about the meaningless, presuppositions of practical reason. Every action assumes the
or at least irresolvability, of metaphysical questions, it also seems power of choice; to reject freedom would seem to result in
irrelevant to decisions about public policy. Even if one accepts that complete passivity. The normativity kritik also attacks the idea of
philosophy should be a meditative rather than analytical process, the individual subject. This is part of the more general
the idea that ruminations about Being have relevance (in a positive postmodernist attack on the subject-object distinction. But while
sense) for public policy seems remote. the subject-object distinction may result in some intellectually
inelegant dualisms (i.e., the mind as free, the body as determined),
NORMATIVITY. This is among the more common kritiks but also to reject the idea of the individual subject seems to completely
one of the most radical. Whereas most other kritiks can be violate our experience of the world. Consciousness is individual;
conceived of as functioning as policy arguments, the normativity my experiences are my own, not someone else's. (They may
kritik explicitly challenges that framework. It argues that resemble other's, but this is a matter of inference.) Indeed, the mind
normative, that is, value-laden, thought assumes the existence of is sufficiently private and individual that the existence of other
autonomous freely choosing individuals who have the ability to minds is itself a matter of intellectual doubt. What produces the
influence the political institutions around them. Instead, the kritik individuality of consciousness? Presumably it is based on the fact
argues, individuals are determined by impersonal bureaucratic that individuals exist in separate bodies. Each body experiences its
forces, making normative thought and argument futile. own sensations; it may empathize with others, but no one directly
experiences what another body feels. The individual body,
Because this kritik makes such a complex set of assumptions, it can individual consciousness, and individual experience ultimately
be attacked at a number of levels. First, it is important to note that produce the sense (and indeed, I think, the reality) of being an
the key author behind the kritik, University of Colorado law individual self. And because each self is unique, the desire for
professor Pierre Schlag, is writing in the context of normative legal autonomy, that is, the desire to be self-determining, is a common
argument. He does not argue that no one should ever think about one.
any public policy questions. Second, a widely made argument is

xxix
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

No one of course is completely self-determining, but to have more acceptance of this kritik would ensure in terms of finding political
control of one's life and more ability to express one's individuality solutions to actual problems.
still remains a valid goal.
One variant of the normativity kritik also needs to be mentioned.
Fifth, the affirmative should also argue that some degree of Rather than directly arguing that normativity is meaningless, it
freedom clearly exists in the political sphere. Arguments do matter. holds that the affirmative to win must still justify its values. This
One set of arguments led to involvement in Vietnam; another set leads on occasion to an argument that the affirmative cannot prove
reversed the prevailing bureaucratic momentum and led to that life itself has value. The basic problem with this argument is
withdrawal. Also, bureaucracy is not an impervious, monolithic that it seems to confuse the realms of fact and value. Value
block. In 1973, seven judges decided that abortion was a statements and judgments simply cannot be proven true in the same
fundamental right of women. No bureaucratic imperative mandated way as a factual statement. Values are subjective (at least many
that decision, nor does any deterministic force preclude its reversal. would argue); they are based on emotion and decision, not
Judges of course are influenced by previously established primarily on objective fact. Based on this perspective, things have
convictions, but they still evaluate arguments and articulate reasons value because people value them. Thus, the press to "justify your
for choices that are in no clear and direct way dictated by outside values" becomes a classic illustration of the problem of infinite
forces. To believe that political action has no effect is to deny the regression. (Similarly, the unwillingness to accept on face that life
obvious reality that many grassroots movements have been has value seems to be a prototypical illustration of the kind of
incredibly influential over the past thirty years, including the civil nihilism which the kritik can engender.) Some values, such as
rights movement, the anti-war movement, the women's movement, efficiency, are clearly instrumental; that is they are not ends in
the pro-life movement, and the gay liberation movement, to name themselves, but rather means to enhance other values. An argument
only a few. that instrumental values must be justified in terms of an ultimate
value is coherent, but the argument that one must "justify" ultimate
Sixth, history belies the idea of institutional determinism. values is probably not. Though the idea that basic values can be
Ironically enough, Marxism, which believed in historical justified in an ultimate sense is probably wrong, there are still some
inevitability, may provide the best example of the power of ideas. arguments which can be made in terms of defending the value of,
With hindsight, it seems fairly clear that the rise of Soviet say, life. It might be argued that people empirically value life.
communism was not inevitable; rather it resulted in substantial part Suicide is relatively rare, and most people strive extremely hard to
anyway from the persuasive power of Marx's ideas on talented defend their lives. It might be argued that the will to live, the will
leaders such as Lenin and Trotsky. Similarly, the fall of Soviet to survive is a basic biological value, built in to our genetic
communism hardly seems to have been dictated by bureaucratic structures. It might be argued that social consensus validates the
imperatives (the bureaucracy would have wanted to perpetuate value of life. Finally, it might be argued that life is a prerequisite
itself through the retention of communism), but rather was the to the pursuit of any values at all, so that if anything is of value,
result of the rejection of the idea of communism in favor of the idea life is. This version of the normativity kritik also contains a
of liberal democracy. performative contradiction of sorts since the person questioning the
value of life is living and has presumably found reasons to
Seventh, the normativity kritik rests explicitly on postmodern and continue to do so. While I would not challenge your opponents to
deconstructive premises. Of all the major kritiks, therefore, commit suicide (because I at least value life), this apparent paradox
arguments attacking these perspectives are most directly relevant is probably still worth noting.
here. Also, since the normativity kritik argues for the rejection of
public policy debate, all of the arguments defending the public STATISM. As noted in the section describing the types of kritiks,
policy framework apply well here. the statism kritik takes several forms. The one I will be mainly
concerned about here argues that the nation state system is
Eighth, the kritik of normativity seems paradoxical and fundamentally flawed, that it is oppressive and militaristic. The
self-defeating. The kritik obviously rests on the idea that people implicit alternative which this kritik suggests is anarchy, although
should have power but that power is denied them by repressive the negative sometimes waffles between anarchy and world
institutions. If it were not for normative thought, however, this government as both being preferable to the nation state system.
condition would not even be noteworthy. The sense of oppression
itself rests on a normative idea. Further, to reject normativity In answering this kritik, you should argue first that you do not
would seem to entail complete political passivity. It would ensure assume that the state is necessarily on balance good. The case
tyranny by leading individuals to completely refrain from even merely argues that in a statist world, the plan would be an
thinking about policy issues, let alone attempting to influence improvement. Thus, the kritik is not really competitive. The state
policy. might be bad on balance, but in a world of states the plan might
still be a good idea. Second, the affirmative can permute, arguing
At a certain point in his argument, Schlag employs the analogy of that the best option would be a state system scaled back to that
being lost in the forest. If one doesn't know which way to go, he minimum needed to carry out the plan. Arguably, this would solve
argues, there is no point in wandering aimlessly. One can deny for the real abuses of statism (such as excessive militarism) while
certainly that being lost in the forest is an apt metaphor for our still gaining the affirmative advantage. Third, the statism kritik can
condition when it comes to making normative decisions. But even be indicted as utopian. The state is not going to be abolished, so
if it is, by wandering aimlessly there is at least a chance that one why question the state as a framework for evaluating policy?
will find his or her way out. Not going in any direction ensures that Fourth, the argument can also be made here that this kritik is too
one will remain lost, which seems to be pretty much what the generic. Since it can be run on any topic, it violates the topic's

xxx
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

discussion directing function. This is reinforced by the lack of a was able to sustain its empire.
literature advocating anarchy in the context of the specific topic.
In terms of the version of the kritik that insists that government can
Fifth, there are many arguments which can and should be made never be effective, the best option is probably to try to find as
against anarchy. Hobbes argued that we need the state for many examples of effective government action as you can. Most
self-defense, that life in the state of nature would be "poor, nasty, government efforts have their defenders, and potential examples
brutish, and short." Biologists such as E.O.Wilson and Konrad range from anti-poverty efforts to environmental protection to
Lorenz argue that humans are innately aggressive; thus, it can be foreign policy. (America's major foreign policy initiatives in this
argued the state is needed to check the war of all against all. century, including World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and
Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick has argued that at least the the Gulf War did all end in success, at least in terms of the goals
minimal state is not necessarily unjust because it could naturally being sought. Vietnam, of course, was a failure, but it was only a
emerge out of a desire for self-defense in a way in which no one's battle in the Cold War.)
rights would be violated. Analogously, if the state were abolished,
there is no reason to believe that it would not be immediately CRITICAL LEGAL STUDIES. Critical legal studies was discussed
reinvented. People would inevitably band together for self-defense. in some detail in the Introduction to Volume II of THE
Stronger groups would come to dominate weaker ones and a legal HANDBOOK OF MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY, so
hierarchy would reemerge in order to maintain social control. I will not repeat the discussion of rights found in that source. CLS
Others argue that the state is needed to protect rights which would is the source of policy arguments as well as kritiks; indeed, CLS
be trampled on in the state of nature, that the state is needed to arguments are probably made less often as kritiks than as case
prevent the exploitation of the weak by the strong (slavery would arguments against the value of rights or of the rule of law.
arguably reemerge if there was no central authority to suppress its
practice) and that the state is needed to protect the environment. In response to the rule of law kritik, several points can be made.
The later point is confirmed by basic economic theory which First, rule of law is essential to check government tyranny. Law
insists that pollution is an economic externality (a cost imposed may be imperfect, but in a world without rule of law, individuals
upon others) which businesses would never check without would be subject to arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention, and
regulation. potentially torture and death. It seems relatively clear that states
where the rule of law is not respected, such as the People's
The statism kritik is somewhat anomalous because it grows out of Republic of China, are far more oppressive than those where rule
an intellectual tradition, the anarchism of the eighteenth and of law is at least imperfectly upheld. Second, rule of law also
nineteenth centuries, which is distinctly rationalist. Its assumption protects minorities. Arbitrary rule is especially likely to fall on
is that people are basically good and rational, but that they have minorities, and again, while the equal protection of law is
been corrupted by evil institutions. Given this argument, the imperfect, it seems to be better than nothing. Liberty, democracy,
affirmative may well wish to defend contrary arguments by and prosperity are all also linked to the rule of law.
modernist and postmodernist thinkers such as Nietzsche and Freud
who stress the importance of unreason and aggressiveness in the In terms of critical legal studies positions in general, several points
human makeup. Most thought from Darwin tends to deny the can be made. The most important, I think, is to deny the central
optimistic views of the early anarchists. premise of CLS -- that the present US political and economic
system is intolerably oppressive. It can be argued that America has
A final point about anarchy as an option is that it is a viewpoint made major progress in terms of racial and sexual equality.
rejected by probably every major figure in the history of Western America is obviously not the most economically egalitarian of
philosophy. Plato and Aristotle believed that humans are inherently societies, but disparities in wealth can be defended as a just
political animals. The major political theorists of the modern age, reflection of differences in effort and talent. Most of the rest of the
including Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Rawls, and Nozick, all world, at least at present, seems to have concluded that some form
conclude that some sort of state, generally said to be based on an of liberal democracy with a mixed economic system is optimal.
at least implicit social contract, is necessary to public order. Despite democracy's discontent, I think it is a persuasive argument
Though anarchy has its defenders t they remain a miniscule that there is no better system available. The CLS authors are
minority, both in their numbers and influence. certainly indicted for lacking an alternative. Presumably most of
them favor some form of democratic socialism, but there is no
It is important to prevent the negative from shifting to a defense of noticable movement in that direction in contemporary America.
world government as an alternative to either the state or anarchy. (Even debaters have pretty much given up on running socialism as
You should try to pin the negative down as early as possible as to a disadvantage.)
what alternative they envision to the state. If they indicate multiple
alternatives, you should argue that this is an unacceptable degree FENIMINISM. Feminist perspectives have served as the basis for
of conditionality, that it is impossible to debate the merits of the kritiks of rights and kritiks of the rule of law. Feminism could also
plan, the merits of anarchy, the merits of world government, and be used as the basis for a kritik of objective reason as an essentially
perhaps the merits of open borders all in the same round. In terms male way of looking at the world. Feminism generally, and
of world government itself, some arguments are that it is absurdly feminist rights theories in particular, have been discussed in some
utopian (the tendency of the present international system is toward depth in THE HANDBOOKS OF MORAL AND POLITICAL
devolution, not concentration), that an effective world government PHILOSOPHY (a 6-volume set also available from Paradigm), so
would be intolerably oppressive, and that world government I will limit my comments here mainly to these latter two kritiks.
probably couldn't sustain itself, any more than the Soviet Union

xxxi
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

In terms of the feminist kritik of the rule of law, most of the other kritiks. This section includes evidence for example on the
answers to the CLS rule of law kritik should also apply here. difficulty of paradigm change which might apply to
Second, it is important to realize that even radical feminists don't post-humanism, the panopticon, etc.
reject all law; few if any of them are anarchists. What feminists
such as MacKinnon object to is neutral rule of law which NARRATIVE. The most prominent use of critical race theory in
entrenches gender inequality. They would favor a rule of law debate to date has been as the primary source for the narrative.
which benefited women. Thus, for their kritik to be applicable, two Narratives are not necessarily kritiks (though they have sometimes
conditions would need to hold. First, the plan would have to deal been described as post-kritiks), but they have both practical and
with a women's issue. And second, it would have to apply legal theoretical affinities to the kritik and therefore warrant some
neutrality in a way unfavorable to women. It should be noted attention here.
finally that "rule of law bad" arguments cannot really function as
disadvantages because they are so non-unique. Neutral legal A narrative is essentially a story. The story can be fictional or true,
standards are pervasive, and one more such standard won't make but it is intended to support a conclusion or make a didactic point.
any real difference. Narratives are said to dramatize the actual realities of a situation
more effectively than more coldly rational, analytic argument.
It is arguable that rejecting neutral rules would in fact be bad for Narratives are also said to more effectively give voice to the
women. As long as women are in a disadvantaged position, neutral distinctive perspectives of women and minorities.
principles such as nondiscrimination should work in their favor.
And if women were strong enough politically to pass laws biased The first narratives in debate, run by Weber State on the college
in favor of women, then arguably such laws would no longer be criminal procedure topic, drew on the critical race literature. The
necessary. Weber 1AC was simply two extended stories, one involving the
return by time travel of a black woman to the Constitutional
It also seems doubtful that rejecting reason would benefit women. Convention of 1787 and the other concerning a proposal by
Women's advance to date has depended heavily on liberal extra-terrestrials to provide earth with utopian technologies in
rationalist appeals. Rejecting reason may make power the only exchange for the enslavement of blacks. Another narrative, run by
norm, which would be counterproductive from the feminist the University of Texas on the Middle East topic, argued that the
standpoint. voices of the Palestinians have been largely ignored in American
policy toward the mid-east and concluded with a personal narrative
A fundamental issue in terms of all of the feminist kritiks in the by a Palestinian woman. In neither case was a plan presented, and
current status of women. If women are making bona fide advances the link between the narratives and the resolution (that criminal
within the current liberal, rationalist framework, then once again, procedure should be changed or security assistance increased) was
much of the force of these kritiks is mitigated. Thus, arguments left as a matter of inference rather than explicitly articulated.
that women are advancing rapidly, both socially and economically,
seem useful to make against all of these kritiks. In legal scholarship, narratives have been criticized on a number of
grounds. One indictment is that narratives are ineffective. The
ANTHROPOCENTRISM. This kritik, arguing that a central focus appeal to personal experience is unlikely to be persuasive unless
on human beings is environmentally destructive, in some ways the audience has similar experiences on which they can draw. This
parallels the Heideggerian/post-humanist kritik. It also is means that narrative can be effective for consciousness raising
commonly made as a environmental ethic, or deep ecology within a group but is unlikely to be effective when it comes to
disadvantage. Since the cards in this section seem especially persuading those outside the group. Second, narratives are indicted
self-explanatory, I will only make a few brief comments on this as counterproductive. Telling stories is, of course, one of the oldest
kritik. forms of persuasion, and some stories clearly are persuasive. The
danger is that the story may be overly simplistic, atypical, or even
First, an ecocentric or biocentric perspective does not necessarily untruthful. Mark Tushnet makes this indictment of stories about
mean that human interests become irrelevant. Humans are also part "political correctness." Ronald Reagan's simplistic stories about the
of the biosphere, that is, they are also part of nature, and all "evil empire" and the nuclear shield provided ostensibly by
animals have a natural tendency to seek to advance their own ballistic missile defense may have distorted public policy and
interests. If helping humans doesn't hurt other species, then even wasted billions of dollars. The Nazi story about the international
from a ecocentric or "deep ecological" framework, there is no Jewish conspiracy was even more pernicious in its results. The
reason not to help them. Second, many affirmative advantages will point of all these examples is that narratives can undermine sound
also help other species and the environment at large. War is bad for argument at least as easily as they can enhance it. The answer to
living things other than humans, and nuclear war might be the this indictment might be that this just means that we need to
ultimate environmental tragedy. Third, if every species mainly critically assess stories to determine their validity. This is difficult,
seeks to maximize its own advantage, then rejecting however, especially where fictional stories are concerned. Stories
anthropocentrism might, paradoxically, constitute an effort to place like this may be designed to make a point, but a counter-story
humans uniquely above nature. Fourth, anthropocentrism is making the opposite potent could just as easily be constructed. And
defensible. Only sentient life can have ultimate value because only since neither is true, it's next to impossible to choose between
sentient life can experience value. Human consciousness may also them. Most of these problems with narrative in law carry over to
give people a unique capacity to experience value. narrative in debate. In addition, there are a number of problems
with the use of narrative unique to debate. First, the narratives
Some of the evidence in the anthropocentrism section will apply to offered to date haven't included a plan. In this sense, it seems fair

xxxii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

to say that they have functioned as kritiks of the status quo but always counterproductive, as well as immoral. Non-violent
have failed to propose an alternative. Also, since there is no plan, methods, in this view, offer the best hope for peace and progress.
it is difficult if not impossible to conclude that the affirmative is
topical. This is especially so because the narratives offered often The doctrine of pacifism has been indicted at a number of levels.
fail to clearly even support the resolution. The narratives about Some defenses of non-violence are grounded in deontological
time travel and space aliens at most seem to suggest that there is considerations of absolute morel right and wrong. But even
racism in American society; they offer no direct reason to believe approached deontologically, non-violence is not clearly justified.
that criminal procedure should be changed. In Kantian terms, it would be possible to universalize the principle
that violence should be used only in self-defense; thus, at least a
And to say that Americans need to be more attentive to Palestinian limited use of violence seems consistent with the categorical
voices hardly proves that security assistance should be increased. imperative. Further, it is argued that non-violence inevitably
(It may prove the opposite--that Israel's security assistance should involves sacrificing some lives in the short term, an approach
be cut.) The standard affirmative answer to the topicality which would seem to violate the Kantian prohibition against using
indictment is to accuse the negative of trying silence the others solely as means. In consequentialist terms, the case for
affirmative and the perspectives it is seeking to advance. To me absolute non-violence is even more problematic. If avoiding
this is unpersuasive. No one has interrupted the affirmative violence is the primary goal, then it seems acceptable to use
speeches; the negative has simply argued that what the affirmative violence if greater violence is thereby avoided. The notion that
has said is irrelevant to the subject of the debate. Also, by this military force never succeeds is denied by every successful war
logic, the affirmative should never lose for being non-topical, an ever fought in history, and the forty-five year history of the cold
outcome which would probably destroy debate as we know it. war seems to prove that military preparedness can sometimes
prevent war. It is also argued that non-violence can succeed only
Another basic problem with the narrative, at least as it has so far under limited circumstances. Gandhian non-violence was effective
appeared in debate, is that it fails to advocate anything. The against the British because they shared many of Gandhi's values,
narratives are simply offered and allowed to stand on their own, but against an adversary like the Nazis, there is little reason to
letting the audience draw its own conclusions. Debate, I would believe that non-violence would have succeeded. (Jewish
argue, is best understood as a process of making competing claims. resistance to the Nazis was largely non-violent.) When the Soviet
The narrative in a sense is irrefutable simply because it never tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia in 1968, non-violent resistance
makes an explicit claim. And since it also fails to offer a policy, it proved of no avail.
provides nothing tangible to either endorse or attack.
Beyond the broader question of pacifism, this kritik has additional
Stories are clearly a part of persuasion, and there is nothing wrong problems applied to the question of domestic law enforcement.
with stories in debate. Debaters, indeed, clearly tell stories in every Many pacifists probably believe that while war is always wrong
round. The problem is that to be meaningfully evaluated those (that it is too destructive, inevitably takes innocent lives, and even
stories need to fit into a broader argumentative framework. threatens human survival), state coercion against criminals is
Narrative can be a tool of persuasion, but simply standing alone acceptable. Even King didn't advocate disbanding the police. If, on
narrative should not persuade very much. the other hand, non-violence is carried even to the extent of
prohibiting state coercion against criminals, it becomes a version
In sum, there are several powerful arguments against narrative as of anarchy; that is, it effectively rejects all civil authority. This is,
an exclusive form of argument in a debate. First, the lack of a plan of course, a defensible position, but it goes far beyond the debate
makes the debate too intangible. Plans, especially on broad topics, over non-violence as it normally occurs.
provide the specificity needed for intelligent discussion. Second,
the negative should try to argue that the stories offered fail to CULTURAL RELATIVISM. Cultural relativism argues that there
support the resolution. Whines about being silenced don't obviate are no moral values which transcend particular cultures. Values,
the affirmative need to be topical. Third, even if the affirmative instead, emerge out of the particular history and traditions of a
argues for the resolution exclusively by means of narrative, the group of people. If this is the case, then to criticize one culture in
negative need not rely solely on narrative to deny the resolution. If terms of the standards of another is seen as ethnocentric and
the negative can prove with non-narrative evidence the resolution oppressive. In some versions of relativism it is argued that it is
is untrue, then the inferential impact of the affirmative stories essential to recognize difference in order to respect "the other" as
should be undercut. a person or group of equal dignity.

NON-VIOLENCE. Non-violence is a kritik which has been run for Themes associated with cultural relativism have appeared in a
several years, mainly on international topics. Because of this, and number of debate arguments. They figure prominently in
because it could conceivably be applied to the juvenile crime topic, arguments indicting universal standards of human rights. The
I am treating it here. Non-violence has been conceived both as a Orientalism kritik, popular on the Middle East topic, made the
doctrine of systematic opposition to war and as a method of social relativist claim that Asian cultures cannot be effectively understood
reform. Grounded in part in Thoreau's theories of civil from the standpoint of Western values. Finally, discussion of "the
disobedience, it has been applied most successfully in this century other" figured in kritiks associated with the China topic.
by Gandhi in India and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the United
States. The idea of non-violent resistance blurs fairly readily into Cultural relativism can be a persuasive argument, but it also poses
the idea of pacifism or total opposition to war. In both its a number of problems. First, an absolute commitment to the idea
international and its domestic forms, it argues that violence is of cultural relativism requires one to defend the moral

xxxiii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

acceptability, under some circumstances, of slavery, cannibalism, this regard. According to one author, this process can create a
human sacrifice, and infanticide, not to mention numerous forms "rupture" in nuclear discourse, leading to potential salvation.
of racism and sexism. Second, the idea of respecting all cultures is Second, you should remember the definition of "nuclearism":
in effect an appeal to ad universal standard--tolerance--not found veneration or worship of nuclear weapons. Based on this
in most cultures. If respecting difference is a universal norm, then definition, most teams, I think, can plausibly deny that they are
this implies that there are universals which apply across cultures, nuclearist. Certainly, to claim nuclear war as an impact is hardly to
but if it is not a universal standard, then it is just another culture worship nuclear weapons--it labels them as the ultimate threat.
specific convention, without any ethical priority attached to it. Even reliance on nuclear deterrence may not be "nuclearism."
Third, it is easily possible to exaggerate cultural differences. In the Deterrence can be regarded as a tragic necessity but one which is
modern world, faced with the conditions of industrial and unavoidable. (As is often argued, the nuclear genie, once let loose,
post-industrial society, cultures have become much more similar in can never again be bottled up.)
many of their values. There is, for example, at least almost
universal lip service paid to the idea of democracy. Finally, The argument that focusing on small risks leads to neglect of larger
cultures are not unitary. Who, for example, speaks for Chinese ones has several problems. First is the question of uniqueness
culture--the communist party or the demonstrators in Tianamen (which seems relevant here since this form of the kritik is basically
Square? Who better spoke for American culture in the a policy argument). For there to be a unique "turn" impact, it is
1950s--pro-segregation Southern whites or Martin Luther King? necessary to show that we are now addressing the greater nuclear
Arguments could be made for either side in terms of either of these risk which the smaller risk is said to distract from. Second, the link
examples, but it may be that the best answer is "none of the above." seems suspect. Nuclear strategists consider all kinds of nuclear
If there are a plurality of cultures within the world, then it seems risks--and properly so. Where millions of lives and potential
reasonable to believe that their are a plurality of perspectives human extinction are at stake even remote scenarios should be
within a given culture. If this is the case, then the appeal to cultural considered. Third, it might be that focus on smaller risks can in fact
values becomes a good deal less viable. heighten concern about the greater ones. Consciousness concerning
the risk of nuclear war is a general kind of thing. Nuclear activists
NUCLEARISM. The term "nuclearism" was apparently coined by tend not to be worried about only one kind of nuclear threat; they
the psychologist, Robert Jay Lifton, an author who has written are concerned with the whole gamut of risks. Raising
extensively about the potential physical and psychological effects consciousness about one risk thus might well heighten
of a nuclear war. By "nuclearism" Lifton means an excessive consciousness about others.
reliance upon, to the point of veneration or worship of, nuclear
weapons. The critique of nuclearism often takes the form of an The kritik has its most valid application against teams who really
indictment of the language or discourse of nuclear weapons. An do increase reliance on nuclear weapons by expanding their use,
example would be to refer to a nuclear missile, which is after all a developing new technologies, and devising new strategies. And
weapon of mass destruction, as the "peacekeeper." This kind of there is some plausibility to the claim that devising elaborate
language is said to obscure the true dangers of nuclear war and scenarios for nuclear war fighting (as defense planners do) tends to
therefore to increase the risk of the ultimate cataclysm. desensitize by glossing over the true horrors of a nuclear exchange.
But even here there are a number of potential responses. First, it is
There are various ways in which the critique of nuclearism has arguable that nuclear weapons have kept the general peace for over
been and can be translated into policy debate. The clearest link fifty years. It has not been a particularly comfortable peace, lived
would seem to be to affirmatives which expand the nuclear arsenal, under the nuclear sword, but the central war in Europe which
developing some new form of nuclear weapon or nuclear strategy. seemed so threatening in the 1940s and 1950s has been avoided,
The language and assumptions of such an affirmative may well be largely, many think, because of nuclear deterrence. Second, if
nuclearist in Lifton's terms; that is, they may express an nuclear weapons are a fact of life, as they certainly are currently,
overconfident reliance on nuclear weapons as a savior. Of course, then it is also a fact of life that there is going to be some nuclear
the number of affirmatives who call for expanding nuclear forces strategy--and better a sound, thoughtful strategy than one adopted
is quite limited; thus, teams wanting to run the nuclearism kritik by indifference or default. Third, if the affirmative wins its case,
have looked for more generic links. Sometimes it has been argued then it wins that the approach it employs is likely to enhance peace.
that even referring to the threat of nuclear war (for example, by And there is a good likelihood that the detailed specifics of
claiming it as a case or disadvantage impact) is self-fulfilling. affirmative analysis will be more compelling than the highly
Thus, by this logic, we shouldn't even discuss the nuclear threat. generic (and largely non-unique) indictment provided by the
Alternatively, it has sometimes been argued that to focus on nuclearism kritik.
smaller nuclear risks leads to the neglect of more substantial ones.
Thus, there are several actual and potential "nuclearism" kritiks. THREAT CONSTRUCTION. The threat construction kritik was
How should one respond? developed and popularized in 1995-96 on the college Middle East
debate topic. One main source of this kritik is political scientist
First, the idea that we should simply ignore the risks of nuclear war Ronnie Lipschutz, editor of a 1995 book titled, ON SECURITY.
seems untenable. Considerable evidence (much of it from members What this kritik argues is that military threats are subjective rather
of the peace movement, including Lifton himself) insists that the than objective entities. Rather than objectively existing in the
nuclear threat can be checked only by constant vigilance and natural world, threats are constructed in the minds of those who
unceasing inquiry. A contemplation of the possibility of human feel threatened. This is not to deny that an objective, physical
extinction, such as that conducted by Jonathan Schell in his book, world exists; subjective threat perception doesn't change the
THE FATE OF THE EARTH, is said to be particularly salutary in number of tanks, planes, and nuclear warheads in various countries'

xxxiv
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

arsenals. But military hardware, the weapons themselves, is not reality. And "objective" reality includes the doctrines and
what constitutes a threat. Rather, threats are construals or intentions of potential adversaries, not only their military hardware.
constructions of the significance of those weapons, based on a A third argument is that if constructed threats become real, then the
certain reading of opposing intentions. The arms exist "out there" threats which we have constructed in the past are now real threats
in the world, but the threat exists only in the mind. Unfortunately, which need to be countered. It might be that initially the Arabs and
the subjective construction of threats can be self-fulfilling. In Israelis constructed each other as threats, but the result has been a
perceiving some nation as a threat, a state of mind is created which history of hatred and warfare which is not "deconstructed" simply
leads to certain potentially belligerent responses. If one nation by recognizing its origins. (Of course, there also seem to be real
perceives a threat, it is likely to become threatening in response. conflicts of interest here--who controls what lands. It isn't just "a
This can lead to an escalatory process of action and reaction. (This failure to communicate.")
is the essential process of an arms race.) The end result is that
constructed threats become real. Taken, as I have so far, as a relatively straightforward foreign
"policy" argument, the threat construction kritik has both strengths
This argument, concerning the creation of enemies through a and weaknesses. Its strength is that mainstream foreign policy
process of misperception, is a common one in foreign policy experts recognize that the false construction of threats is a real
literature. Such mainstream, "realist" foreign policy experts as problem, a real danger. The weakness is that this hardly seems to
George F. Kennan and Hans Morgenthau discuss this as a major be an absolute argument. Since it is offset, in the abstract, by the
problem in foreign policy assessment. And treated as a foreign danger of failing to sufficiently appreciate a threat, the relative
policy argument, the issue here seems relatively straightforward. weight to be given to the kritik can only be resolved on a case by
Yes, there are dangers associated with exaggerating threats--doing case basis--which means by actually debating the case (or
so can lead to mythical "missile gaps," arms races, unneeded disadvantage) scenario.
interventions, and nuclear brinkmanship. Much of the history of
the Cold War is an illustration of these perils. But there are also There is, however, an epistemological dimension to this kritik
dangers associated with under-assessing threats. The second world which makes it more complicated. The kritik is often defended in
war is, of course, the classic case in point. Hitler developed into a terms of a particular postmodern epistemological perspective
major world menace, it is often argued, because the threat he posed commonly referred to as "social constructivism." This argues, in
was ignored or at least under-valued. It seems, then, that there are essence, that "reality" is socially constructed. There is no
two dangers which foreign policy must avoid: "constructing" "objective" reality "out there." "Reality" is simply our
unreal threats and ignoring real ones. Which of these concerns interpretation of reality--and there are many equally valid
should be greater? Clearly a case can be made for either side, and interpretations. This isn't the place for a detailed discussion of
the answer will hinge on what one thinks generally motivates social constructivism, but I do want to make a few comments
nations to go to war. If wars mainly start reactively, out of fear, concerning how this idea functions in terms of this particular kritik.
then the threat construction side seems to have a compelling case.
(During the Cold War, this argument took the form of the claim First, the kritik claims to avoid "radical relativism" because it
that the United States needed to avoid "encircling" the Soviet doesn't question the existence of actual physical objects (i.e.,
Union. The Soviets were said to be essentially defensive, but the military hardware). Instead, it makes the less radical claim that
wounded bear was deemed capable of striking back.) But, if wars social reality is socially constructed. In some sense, this statement
are mainly offensive, designed to secure some policy objective, is unexceptionable. Many aspects of the world (including the
then the pro-deterrence, anti-appeasement side seems strong. (This, intentions of foreign leaders) are relatively opaque and do have to
of course, led in the Cold War to the policy of containment.) be interpreted. Thus, our view of the international scene is, in some
sense, a "construct." But what an epistemological and metaphysical
From the anti-kritik side, one strong argument is that most wars in realist would insist is that it can be a better or worse construct--one
this century have been started by aggressor or "imperialistic" which is closer to or further from reality. And again, it seems
nations who wish to restructure the international status quo. And, important to insist that motives and intentions do actually exist in
according to this argument, such aggressor nations have almost the minds of other people. Those motives and intentions are, in
always underestimated the strength (either the military capabilities part, influenced by how they perceive others. But they also have an
or the will to fight) of their opponents. The invasion of Kuwait in objective dimension. Hitler and Saddam, Stalin and the Kaiser had
1991 is offered as a classic example of this process. If this theory real aims, and hard as Chamberlain tried to "construct" Hitler as a
of war initiation is true, then faulty threat construction seems less peace-lover, that attempted construction didn't change the reality
of a problem. Countries which perceive threats are likely to be of Nazi racism and aggression. There is a hard and a soft version
deterred; those which don't see threats are more likely to become of social constructivism. The soft version admits that we do have
expansionist and actually threaten peace. to interpret the world but insists that there is still an objective
world which we are interpreting-so it's important for us to get it
Another argument which can be made against this kritik is that right. Hard constructivism seems to claim that reality is nothing but
since both under-valuing and over-valuing threats is a danger, it is our interpretations -- that those interpretations are, in effect,
necessary to decide the question of what really is a threat on a case constitutive of reality. There are a number of problems with this
by case basis. To say that there are no real threats (until we "perspective." If reality is just a construction, then we seem to have
construct them) seems patently false. Hitler really was a threat to done a relatively bad job of constructing it. But the pain in the
the jews. Saddam really was a threat to Kuwait. The perception of belly of a starving person doesn't seem to be just an interpretation.
threats is, of course, subjective; it is a mental construct. But that The world has a hard, recalcitrant reality which seems independent
mental construct either corresponds or fails to correspond to of our wishes. The person falling from a fifty story building can't

xxxv
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

simply reinterpret the pavement into something softer. Finally, the postmodern) authors from whom kritiks generally derive. (In fact,
distinction between a "real" physical world and an interpreted neopragmatism is sometimes itself classified as a postmodern
social world is also problematic. It implies an extreme dualism; philosophy.) But whereas the leading European philosophers who
that is, it suggests that humans are somehow separate from actual are associated with postmoderism, such as Nietzsche, Heidegger,
physical nature rather than a part of it. and Foucault, tend to derive from their anti-foundationalism
extremely radical ethical and political positions, pragmatism sees
Two final comments. First, it is not clear to me that Lipschutz anti-foundationalism as compatible with the tenets of liberal
himself embraces anything like hard (or even semi-hard) morality and politics.
constructivism. In a number of places, he seems to suggest that
there are some real threats or at least that the evaluation of threats Many kritiks stress our inherent inability to establish certain things,
is unavoidable. Second, while this kritik works reasonably well from the basis of science to the value of life. The pragmatist would
against teams who focus on particular threatening agents in the agree that we can never establish things with complete certainty.
international environment (i.e., we need to be strong to counter But lacking certainty, this simply means that we are forced to act
"rogue" nations like Iran and Iraq), it works far less well against on the basis of our admittedly incomplete, relative, and ultimately
impacts which focus on more systemic causes of war. To say, for foundationless knowledge. The fact that there are no certainties
example, that depression could lead to another world war doesn't shouldn't lead to paralysis, but to doing the best we can with our
seem to construct a threat (at least in any pernicious way). No one limited means.
will fear us and arm against us because we think prosperity is
important for peace. Rather than constructing an enemy, the peace Like the postmodernists, pragmatists see humans as socially
through prosperity argument is a reading of history, and even if constructed, but rather than leading to inevitable conflict,
history is an ambiguous text, it is not one which we can escape pragmatism sees this as the basis for democratic social cooperation.
attempting to read. Thus, the threat construction kritik should not In the pragmatist perspective, such mainstream values as humanism
be seen as an all-purpose response to all war impacts. It has and human welfare, social reform and political problem solving,
argumentative force under certain circumstances (where specific scientific and technological progress are all vindicated. In contrast,
threats are isolated), but it is not a universal indictment against pragmatism questions the usefulness of radical critique (especially
teams who try to promote peace. critique located at the highly abstract levels of ontology or
epistemology). Pragmatists see abstract philosophizing as disabling
PRAGMATISM. Though not a counter-kritik per se, pragmatism rather than liberating. Rorty, in fact, argues that the American
is a counterperspective which can be quite useful in answering political left has been undermined by the postmodern "cultural"
kritiks. In fact, the final round of the 1998 National Debate left.
Tournament was won by a team from Northwestern University
who defended a pragmatist perspective in opposition to the Thus, pragmatism is critical of many of the practices associated
Heidegger/Spanos kritik run (quite successfully) by Emory with kritiks: an ideological or paradigmatic focus, an emphasis on
University. language or discourse, the failure to offer alternatives, and so on.
Pragmatism also provided the basis for indicting many of the
Pragmatism is considered to be the major philosophical tradition leading philosophers associated with postmodernism and the kritik,
to originate in the United States. Pragmatism is generally said to be including Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, and Spanos.
grounded in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who flourished
during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, but as a The pragmatic perspective can also be applied in a number of
formal philosophy, pragmatism was first articulated around the turn specific areas. "Environmental pragmatism" is a very useful
of the century in the writings of authors such as C.S. Pierce and perspective from which to indict kritiks such as deep ecology,
William James. The most influential figure in the pragmatist social ecology, and ecofeminism. Pragmatism is also defended in
tradition was probably John Dewey, a philosopher whose work the foreign policy field. A pragmatic approach to foreign policy
profoundly affected progressive education. Among contemporary implies at least two things. First, it suggests skepticism toward
"neopragmatists," probably the most noteworthy is Richard Rorty, "grand strategies" such as the containment policy of the cold war
a philosopher who teaches at the University of Virginia. years. What foreign policy pragmatists suggest is that in the
post-cold war world there are simply too many uncertainties to
Pragmatism, as its name suggests, attempts to focus its attention on make reliable long range predictions and to make dependable long
the practical, rather than the purely theoretical, problems of range plans. What foreign policy pragmatism suggests is support
mankind. In doing so, it tends to reject most of the traditional for the logic of incrementalism, cautious, step by step reform,
problems of philosophy (especially those of a metaphysical or rather than radical redirection. Second, foreign policy pragmatism
epistemological nature) as pseudoproblems, that is, as either implies that we should be cautious with regard to general foreign
meaningless or moot. Especially noteworthy is the pragmatist policy paradigms such as realism, liberalism, or constructivism.
theory of truth. Rather than searching for epistemological The pragmatic view would seem to be that we need not be
foundations, pragmatism equates "truth" with whatever works. Our exclusively wedded to any of these perspectives. Each probably
senses and understanding, the pragmatists argue, developed in captures part of the truth (that is, it works some of the time), but no
order for us to function in the world, not to discover pure truth. theory is likely to work all the time. Thus, the best foreign policy
Thus, truth becomes a functional rather than an absolute concept. is likely to be flexible, adaptive, and eclectic. In terms of kritiks,
this means that teams defending pragmatism may well wish to
The value of pragmatism in terms of answering kritiks is that the answer the paradigmatic foreign policy kritiks by suggesting that
pragmatists accept many of the premises of the (primarily they endorse no single foreign policy framework. They may draw

xxxvi
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

on elements of each in arguing for a particular policy conclusion. from "nature' and therefore feel justified in exploiting and
degrading it. Thus, a true solution to the environmental crisis
TERROR TALK. Terror talk is the discourse surrounding the issue requires a shift away from anthropocentrism and a move to an
of terrorism. This is a kritik which has been in existence for some ecocentric (eco-system centered) or biocentric (life-centered) ethic.
time. It will definitely be run on the weapons of mass destruction This deep ecology is said to uniquely offer.
topic, and in fact is likely to appear on any topic in which terrorism
is an impact. The kritik argues that the language/discourse of The term "deep ecology" was coined in the early 1970s by the
terrorism is fundamentally misguided. "Terrorism" is an Norwegian philosopher, Arne Naess, who remains among the most
amorphous idea, without any clear definition, one man's terrorist prominent of deep ecological thinkers. Naess contrasted the
maybe another man's freedom fighter. position of deep ecology, with its rejection of anthropocentrism
and its commitment to radical social and individual life style
Also, the threat of terrorism is significantly exaggerated. In fact, reform, with what he called "shallow" environmentalism. Shallow
lightening kills more each year than do terrorists, and incidents of environmentalism remains anthropocentric, and though it seeks
terrorism have declined over time. Terrorism as a term is used environmental improvement, it does so mainly to make things
inconsistently; our enemies are terrorists; our friends, once again, better for human beings. These distinctions, between deep and
are freedom fighters. The danger of exaggerating terrorism is that shallow, anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric, provide the
it may be self-fulfilling. Terrorism is uniquely a discursive issue. basis for most links to the kritik.
It exists in order to communicate a political message, so talk about
terrorism tends to fuel its occurrence. Also, terror talk may justify Perhaps the most obvious and straightforward link is the appeal by
limits on civil liberties in order to ensure "security." the affirmative to human interests. Protecting the environment in
order to benefit humans is the hallmark of anthropocentrism and
In answering the terror talk kritik, you should be able to defend shallow ecology. The reliance on reformist strategies is another
that it can be adequately defined. Though definitions do vary, link to most affirmatives. Piecemeal reform, as opposed to radical
almost all definitions would agree that certain core acts involving consciousness shift, is another defining trait of shallow
the indiscriminate killing of innocent people in order to make a environmentalism. Avoiding an environmental crisis is another
political statement and/or to secure political ends are terroristic. link; some deep ecologists argue that only through crisis can the
Also, perfect definition is unnecessary. Like most general terms, necessary paradigm shift to deep ecology be accomplished. A
terrorism may not be subject to absolutely unambiguous definition, fourth link, especially relevant to the oceans topic, is the focus on
but it can be defined clearly enough to be a useful term. natural resources. The idea that some objects in nature are
"resources" for human consumption is clearly anthropocentric, and
Terrorists, however defined, do really kill people. The citizens of it is again described as one of the defining features of shallow
Oklahoma City, for example, would undoubtedly be surprised to environmentalism. There are, of course, many other possible links;
learn that the impact of terrorism is mainly discursive. Left these are only the most generic.
unchecked, terrorism may threaten democracy and the
constitutional order. The worst case predictions of the impact of Deep ecology has been subject to widespread criticism, most
terrorism may not have proven correct, but there may also be a new fiercely perhaps from proponents of the rival environmental
breed of terrorist more willing to inflict mass casualties. At any philosophies of social ecology and ecofeminism. Both of these
rate, the fact that a disastrous occurrence has not a occurred is not perspectives agree that anthropocentrism is NOT the root cause of
a reason not to be concerned. There has never been an all out the environmental crisis. Social ecologists, such as Murray
nuclear war either. The term terrorist may be used somewhat Bookchin, believe that it has its roots in social hierarchies like
inconsistently, but the equation of terrorists with freedom fighters those embedded in capitalism and the state. Ecofeminism sees
is unfounded. It confuses means and ends. Terrorists may be environmental problems as grounded in sexism. Thus, exponents
pursuing freedom (though in most cases this is doubtful), but the of these rival positions believe that deep ecology fails both
problem is the means they are employing, which inherently violate practically and analytically because it misidentifies the true cause
just war principles regarding attacks on noncombatants. Media of the problem. And, indeed, deep ecology may even make things
attention may further terrorist aims, but there's no way to stop worse, by entrenching capitalism or patriarchy.
media coverage of terrorism. Scholarly and policy talk, however,
is not what terrorists aim at, and such discussions are necessary to Another common criticism of deep ecology is that it is
devise strategies to contain terrorism. misanthropic, that is, that it hates humans. Some deep ecologists
have flirted with Malthusian population policies, and probably all
KRITIKS OF ENVIRONMENTALISM AND INTERNATIONAL deep ecologists would like to see a significant, if gradual, decline
RELATIONS in human numbers. The misanthropy charge is often linked to the
claim that deep ecology is eco-fascist. That is, it is willing to
DEEP ECOLOGY. Deep ecology is the most prominent of current engage in extreme acts of coercion (or even extermination) in order
radical environmental philosophies. Like all radical environmental to achieve its ends. Critics note affinities between the veneration of
views, it begins with the perception that there is an environmental nature associated with deep ecology and similar appeals to nature
crisis and that the survival of humanity (and many other species) made by the Nazis. Another common criticism is that deep ecology
is threatened. According to deep ecologists, the root cause of the would abandon the poor of the world to their destitution. Only
environmental crisis is "anthropocentrism" (human-centeredness). economic growth (which deep ecology militantly opposes) can free
The preoccupation with things human leads to the devaluation and them from their poverty.
neglect of the non-human. Humans view themselves as distinct

xxxvii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

Deep ecologists, of course, contest all of these claims, making for the material basis for environmental protection.
a good debate. The literature on deep ecology is a mature one,
widespread and relatively accessible. Its links to most In response to charges of this sort, social ecologists maintain that
environmental policies are relatively clear, and its impacts are also their ideal avoids the negative features of previous forms of
strong. The kritik "alternative" is relatively well defined. All of anarchy, socialism, and communitarianism. Social ecology, it is
these factors mean that this kritik is likely to be one of the most said, defends radically decentralized direct democracy, not pure
popular ones on the oceans topic. anarchy. As a libertarian socialism, it hopes to avoid the abuses of
both state socialism and coercive community. Whether such
SOCIAL ECOLOGY. Social ecology is another of the three major distinctions are viable makes for a good debate.
environmental philosophies, along with deep ecology and
ecofeminism. Whereas deep ecology argues that it is Another set of criticisms is leveled against social ecology from the
anthropocentrism (human-centeredness) that is at the root of the standpoint of the rival positions of deep ecology and ecofeminism.
environmental crisis, social ecology argues that the true cause of Deep ecologists argue that social ecology remains anthropocentric.
environmental degradation is social hierarchy. Hierarchical social Its focus on social problems means that it neglects ecological
relations involve the domination of one group by another. It is this problems at the deepest, most fundamental level. What
ideology of domination which justifies the human domination of ecofeminists object to most is the relative neglect of gender in
nature. Hierarchy takes a variety of forms. Social ecologists social ecological analyses. Since ecofeminists see patriarchy as the
(including most notably Murray Bookchin, the leading social root cause of environmental crisis, social ecology's failure to focus
ecological thinker) point especially to capitalism and the state as on feminist concerns dooms it to ineffectiveness.
forms of hierarchy which must be transcended in order for
environmental problems to be adequately addressed. Unless such In response to the deep ecological indictment, social ecologists
hierarchies are dismantled, the environmental crisis threatens maintain that it is not all humans who despoil the environment but
human survival. rather those wealthy and powerful persons at the top of the social
hierarchy. To the ecofeminists, they respond that patriarchy is a
To overcome hierarchy, social ecology calls for the radical form of hierarchy that needs to be dismantled, but it is not the only
decentralization of society. Instead of nation-states, society should such form. Ecofeminism, it argues, is likely to fail because it
be organized into ecocommunities, existing in harmony with local focuses too much on just this one form of hierarchy.
bioregions. These communities would be characterized by direct
democracy and lives of voluntary simplicity. Within such Reform policies may buy off the radical reform truly needed to
communities, ecologically benign technologies should be able to dismantle hierarchy; thus, reformism may be the most generic link
provide a humane standard of living for all, while offering their to the kritik. Policies which protect the oceans and ocean resources
inhabitants true freedom and community. may also tend to protect capitalism. Finally, all affirmative plans
employ the nation-state and may even call for forms of global
There are two major issues which arise concerning the viability of governance. This seems to be antithetical to the eco-anarchist
the social ecological alternative. First is the question of whether desire for radically decentralized decision-making.
such communities could be effective. Critics argue that they would
be too small scale to deal with global environmental problems ECOFEMINISM. Ecofeminism is one of the three major
(such as oceans). Decentralization might even involve greater environmental philosophies, the other two being deep ecology and
environmental impacts. More dispersed populations might absorb social ecology. All three of these perspectives share a common
more hitherto unoccupied parts of nature. The second issue belief in the reality of an environmental crisis, but each has a
concerns, assuming social ecological communities are desirable, unique slant on just what root cause underlies this condition. Deep
just how to get there. Here there are also a number of indictments ecology argues that ultimately environmental destruction is linked
of Bookchin and his colleagues. It is argued that social ecology is to anthropocentrism -- human-centeredness. Ecofeminism, in
simply too radical, too at odds with prevailing cultural norms to be contrasts, focuses on androcentrism -- male-centeredness -- as the
effective. People living in advanced consumer cultures simply don't ultimate source of the problem. Social ecology is similar to
want to adopt lives of voluntary simplicity. And capitalism and the ecofeminism in tracing environmental problems to social causes,
state are too powerful, too entrenched, for grassroots but while social ecology points to hierarchy in general as the root
environmental movements to overcome. cause, ecofeminism stresses patriarchy in particular.

Social ecology can be characterized as a form of communitarian, Ecofeminism believes that all forms of domination are linked, and
anarcho-socialism. This characterization suggests some other it points to a principle of domination underlying sexism, racism,
obvious lines of affirmative attack. Communitarianism can be militarism, environmental degradation, and so forth. In particular,
attacked as intolerant and oppressive of individual differences, as Western culture tends to associate women with nature, with the
well as inclined towards inter-group conflict and war. Anarchy is body as opposed to the mind, instinct as opposed to reason. In
widely indicted as unable to provide for personal and collective contrast, male rationality is seen as transcending nature, which it
security, and it may also be impossible, absent the protective is therefore licensed to dominate. The result of this kind of
apparatus of the state, to effectively protect the environment. dualistic thinking is the system of domination which ecofeminism
Socialism also has a poor empirical track record with regard to the indicts.
environment, and it may not be able to sustain acceptable standards
of living. Defenders of capitalism argue that by promoting There are many links to this kritik. One of the most generic is
prosperity it ultimately serves the interests of the poor and provides reformism. Reformist environmentalism ultimately fails because it

xxxviii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

doesn't address the underlying gender-related causes of ecological existence, a "fallen" and fundamentally dehumanized condition. It
destruction. Only a feminist ecology can truly succeed because may also threaten our survival. Treating nature as an object
only it properly discerns the systematic logic of domination. inevitably leads to its degradation and neglect.
Similarly, a non-ecological feminism fails because it doesn't see
how patriarchy is linked to the domination of nature. Another The "natural resources" wording in the topic is probably the
generic link is "instrumentalism." An instrumental approach to clearest link to this kritik. Focus on natural resources is part of the
protecting nature (including the oceans) is one which does so for mindset of management and manipulation of nature. Science and
the benefits this accrues to human beings as opposed to protecting technology also are important parts of this mindset, and they
the environment because of its intrinsic worth. The focus on marine therefore provide additional links. Political activism and political
"natural resources" grounds this instrumentalist logic in the reform may be still further ways in which humans willfully attempt
wording of the oceans resolution. to control their environments rather than allowing the process of
releasement (or "letting be") to take place.
The basic ecofeminist argument that all forms of domination are
linked is attacked in a variety of ways. Some cultures, such as the To let things be means to allow them to manifest themselves as
Chinese, seem to be pro-environmental without being feminist. bona fide beings, not just as objects of manipulation. It also means
Likewise, Nazi Germany displayed pro-environmental attitudes to let nature and natural beings unfold according to their own
without rejecting other forms of domination. Conversely, we can nature, as opposed to reshaping them for human ends. Humanity
easily imagine a pro-feminist culture which still exploited nature. has real hope of survival only if it can recover this process of
Affluent women are not notably less consumer-oriented than non-manipulative appreciation.
affluent men. As deep ecologists observe, a gender-neutral culture
could still place humans in a position of dominance over nature. A starting point for many answers to the kritik is Heidegger's
membership in the Nazi Party. There has been an ongoing (and
For social ecologists, ecofeminists error in giving so much weight very heated) debate in the Heidegger literature concerning the
to one form of domination -- patriarchy -- while relatively significance of this biographical fact. His defenders argue that
neglecting other forms of hierarchy such as capitalism and the though it was a profound political misjudgment, it does not
state. If all forms of domination are linked, why ecofeminism as fundamentally impugn his thought. There are good reasons to
opposed to eco-antiracism, eco-socialism, eco-queer theory, or believe that Heidegger did not embrace the entire Nazi worldview;
what have you? for example, he does not personally appear to have been
anti-Semitic. (A number of his most famous students, including
Its emphasis on patriarchy may make ecofeminism less truly Hanna Arendt and Herbert Marcuse, were Jewish.) Nor does one
ecological than deep ecology. Likewise, its emphasis on ecology need to be a Nazi to embrace Heidegger's criticism of the modern,
may make it less than truly feminist. Some ecofeminists seem to manipulative, technological worldview.
essentialize women -- to view them as pro-environmental because
they truly are closer to nature. This may simply reverse the On the other hand, Heidegger's radical antagonism towards the
traditional male sexist stereotype. Because of this, many critics modern world may well have disposed him to favor the Nazis.
argue that ecofeminism actually reinforces sexism. Certainly, he was no friend of liberal democracy. His critics charge
that an authoritarian and even totalitarian bent is inherent in his
Finally, one can argue that ecofeminism rejects vital parts of the thought. In one of their aspects, the Nazis were quite
Western tradition. Various ecofeminists; indict capitalism, science pro-environmental (at least in their rhetoric), lending further
and technology, justice and rights, global trade and economic credence to charges that radical environmentalism could become
development, objectivity and rationality. It may be that most if not ecofascist.
all of these ideas and institutions are vital for human welfare,
which includes of course the welfare of women. According to one view, Heidegger's work underwent a fundamental
turn or transition, and it is the latter work, with its emphasis on
HEIDEGGER. Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher who releasement and the rejection of willful striving and manipulation
lived from 1889 to 1976. One measure of his philosophical stature which many environmentalists embrace. This too, however, poses
is the influence he has exerted over virtually every major problems. One answer to the charge of Nazism is that the later
movement in continental philosophy from the 1920s to the present. Heidegger withdrew from active political engagement. But saving
These include phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, and the environment may require activism, rather than simply "letting
postmodernism. Heidegger has also had an important influence on things be."
recent environmental thought, and it is the environmental
implications of his philosophy which are central to this kritik. Heidegger's philosophy focuses on the ontological, that is, on the
way that things fundamentally ARE. This ontological focus is said
Heidegger's thought is notoriously difficult, and he is probably best to be essential for humans to transcend their debased modern lives
approached, at least initially, through secondary sources. His and to recover an authentic existence. But there are several
environmentalist interpreters tend to emphasize his criticism of the problems with this stance. First, ontological issues may be
modern, technological world. The technological worldview leads ultimately irresolvable. The basic nature of existence is something
us to regard nature as a "standing reserve," that is, as an object (or that has been debated for thousands of years without being
natural resource) to be manipulated for human ends. The result of resolved. Second, we might question why we should embrace
this is that we no longer experience the world as it is; its true being Heidegger's view of authenticity. If people prefer more
is hidden from us. This leads to an alienated and inauthentic materialistic and manipulative lives, why are they wrong and

xxxix
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

Heidegger right? Finally, there is the problem that an ontological Along with realism, liberalism remains one of the two major
focus may lead to the neglect of ethical concerns. A focus on paradigms of international relations. While there are many
nature and the appreciation of being can lead to estrangement from disagreements among liberals, the following are tenets which many
human concerns and can create an indifference to human suffering. liberals share. First, liberalism tends to be highly internationalist.
It seeks wide and deep international engagements, including aid,
KRITIKS OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS REALISM AND trade, and collective security ties. Second, liberalism, unlike
LIBERALISM. Realism is still widely regarded as the leading realism, sees considerable opportunities for international
paradigm of international relations. As a general theory of cooperation. Third, liberalism tends to favor international arms
international politics and the international system, realism takes a control regimes as well as other international institutions. Fourth,
number of forms: the classical realism of Morgenthau and Kennan, liberalism is cosmopolitan, meaning liberals are more likely than
the neorealism (or structural realism) of Waltz, neoclassical realists to give equal weight to the interests of non-Americans.
realism, offensive realism, defensive realism, motivational realism, Fifth, contemporary liberalism embraces democratic peace theory,
and so on. Some think that the range of "dueling realisms" has the idea that democracies are very unlikely to fight with each other,
become so wide that the term is no longer meaningful. There are, and because of this liberalism tends to support democracy
however, certain perspectives common to most realists, and maybe promotion. Sixth, following Kant, many liberals lean toward
more important realism is still treated as a unitary theory. This is deontological ethical positions. This is sometimes expressed in
especially true among those who critique realism. On almost all their strong human rights advocacy. Seventh, liberalism tends to
foreign policy topics, kritiks of realism are common, and the stress the values of economic interdependence and therefore to
Oceans topic will prove no exception. advocate globalization. Eighth, whereas realists tend to favor
strong deterrence policies, liberalism is more disposed toward
As the name suggests, "realism" stands in oppositions to "idealism" minimal deterrence postures. And whereas some leading realists
as a way of understanding foreign policy. This means that realism even support nuclear proliferation, liberals tend to be proliferation
is "tough minded.." It tends to emphasize material forces, rather pessimists and to favor limits on other forms of WMD. All of these
than ideas or institutions. It also tends to center on nation-states traits of liberalism can be used as links to the kritik.
and to see them as the central actors in the international system.
Realism also sees the international system as generally prone to I believe that this kritik has wide application. Negative debaters
conflict and war. For many realists, this is because of the anarchic often attempt to label affirmative policies as realist, but in fact most
structure of the global system -- a world of nation states not subject affirmatives on this topic will be more liberal than realist, as the
to an overarching authority. Realists also tend to emphasize above links suggest. This also suggests an important potential use
national security. They generally believe that national security is for the affirmative answer side of this volume. If, on the
best achieved by means of deterrence or military strength, rather affirmative, you are charged with realism, you may wish to counter
than through interdependence, democratization, or international that you are actually liberal and that liberalism is good. This may
law. All of these traits can be isolated as links to this kritik. also be an effective answer to threat construction kritiks, since
realists are more prone to threat construction than liberals.
The kritik argues that realism fails as a theory of international Similarly, you might counter feminist or critical/constructivist
politics. It exaggerates the state, it exaggerates conflict, and it kritiks by defending liberalism. In sum, this volume has many
neglects opportunities for cooperation. It fails to effectively explain potential uses in response to a wide variety of kritiks.
the continuing vitality of international institutions like NATO. It
has a hard time explaining events like the end of the Cold War and Liberalism is attacked both from the right and the left. The right
the demise of the Soviet Union -- neither event seems compatible often argues that liberalism leads to military weakness. Liberalism
with traditional power politics assessments. In general, realism is is too prone to see potential for cooperation and insufficiently wary
said to be outdated, to no longer apply effectively in the post-Cold about potential threats. Liberal Wilsonianism is often castigated as
War world. a recipe for myopic foreign policy. Critics from the left offer a
somewhat different set of indictments. Environmentalists dislike
One impact to the kritik is to turn solvency. Policies based on the free trade/globalization emphasis of liberalism. Other critics
realist assumptions are likely to be misguided because of the flaws from the left think that liberalism is imperialistic and even prone to
in those assumptions. By exaggerating conflict, realist threat genocide. Critics from both the left and right argue on occasion
perceptions are said to be self-fulfilling. By seeing enemies that liberalism is overly interventionist and may even be prone to
everyone, realism may actually create such enemies. Realism is moralistic global crusades based on liberal ideology. (The Vietnam
also said to reinforce statism and international hierarchy in general. War is often cited as an example of this.)
Its security focus leads it to neglect environmental issues. Finally,
a number of authors (especially of a constructivist bent) explicitly Defenders of liberalism, of course, counter both sets of claims.
the language or discourse of realism as evil (conflict-enhancing) in Liberals claim that free trade, globalization, human rights and
itself. democracy promotion all encourage peace. Liberal theorists claim
that there theory is sensitive to security issues and that it is better
Kritik of realism are launched from a number of perspectives, able to deal with contemporary conditions than are rival theories.
which implies that there are a number of alternatives to realism that Its defender claim that liberalism is not excessively interventionist
you may wish to defend. These include liberalism, constructivism but that it is still willing to intervene (for example, against
or critical international relations theory, and international relations genocide) when intervention is truly needed.
feminism.
RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM. With regard to the kritik of

xl
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

radical environmentalism proper, I want to highlight a few of its kritik--a kind of "turn." A defensive argument against a kritik (a
features. There are three basic link stories. The first focuses on takeout) only renders the kritik moot, i.e., not a reason to vote
radical environmentalism and argues that it attacks capitalism. To negative. For a counter-kritik to work effectively, it may be
win this link, you need to be able to successfully characterize the necessary to assume much of the theoretical framework of kritiks.
affirmative as "radical" environmentalism. The other two links A counter-kritik can work in several ways. It can demonstrate that
discussed below should help you in doing this. Also, you should the negative is relying on faulty discourse. Or it can prove that they
point to elements in the affirmative case analysis which suggest employ erroneous assumptions. Finally, it can simply show that the
radical environmentalist themes (for example, ecocentrism, animal thought process employed by the kritik is harmful rather than
rights, intrinsic value to nature, and so forth). The kritik should beneficial. Counter-kritiks seem especially valuable when debating
work especially well against "critical" affirmatives because they in front of judges who are favorably disposed towards the kritik.
will wear their radicalism up front. You may also wish to argue The counter-kritik functions within the framework which these
that even mainstream environmentalism is radical -- that is, that it judges prefer; hence they are likely to give it more weight than
shares anti-growth and anti-free market attitudes. The second main more standard arguments for why the kritik is not a voting issue.
link story focuses on oceans. The key source here is probably Of course, like a turn against a disadvantage, a counter-kritik does
Philip Steinberg's book, THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF not necessarily take out the initial negative indictment of the
THE OCEANS. Steinberg argues that the oceans are a social as affirmative discourse or assumptions. In the remainder of this
well as a physical space. The oceans can be constructed in various introduction, I want to discuss several examples of counter-kritiks.
ways -- as a void, a neutral space between nations, as an extension
of national territory, or as something in the middle, a site of strong Utopianism. An argument made against many kritiks is that the
political influence but not sovereign control. Various ways of perspective they assume is utopian--that is, based on a wildly
constructing this ocean space seem to support, while other unrealistic and ultimately unrealizable ideal. The utopianism
constructions impede what Steinberg terms "postmodern argument can be a powerful one, but it is usually underdeveloped.
capitalism." (Thus, his book provides evidence supporting both It strengthens the argument considerably if the affirmative explains
links and link turns.) In general, though, he seems to believe that (and documents) just why utopianism is so pernicious. (Common
disputes over the uses of the oceans offer one arena in which arguments are that the utopian perspective can never be realized,
capitalism can be challenged and it "contradictions" exposed. The or that if it is it will only be in a distorted, potentially totalitarian,
third link focuses on environmental doomsaying. The exaggeration form. Willingness to sacrifice millions of lives in order to reach
of environmental impacts is used to fuel radical environmentalism. some utopian future was a characteristic of both fascism and
Here you would probably need to win that affirmative harm claims communism.) It is frequently argued that utopianism must fail
really are much exaggerated; a robust case attack should help in because it attempts to totally restructure society based on some
doing this. comprehensive theory. But society is too complex for any theory
to grasp or any blueprint to alter. It is better, according to this
The impact debate is more straightforward. As this shell is written, argument, to engage in piecemeal reform, in incremental
it is argued that capitalism is key to both prosperity and adjustment, rather than attempting to wipe the slate clean and start
democracy, each of which in turn is strongly linked to peace and over.
environmental protection. You can also argue that capitalism itself
promotes peace and a clean environment directly. If you wish to The indictment of utopianism also applies with some force to the
avoid the capitalism good and bad debate, there are a number of idea of comprehensive "rethinking." As authors such as Yale
other reasons included here for why radical environmentalism is political scientist Charles Lindblom have argued, human cognitive
bad. These include ecofascism, anti-Americanism, anti-modernism, capabilities are simply insufficient to engage in comprehensive,
and irrationalism. These arguments can also be deployed as a series rationalistic rethinking. It's better, by this logic, to make
of impact turns against other kritiks grounded in the various radical adjustments at the margin, rather than trying to revamp the whole
environmental philosophies. system. Since "rethinking" is often said to be the "alternative"
which the kritik embraces, this argument should be of frequent
On the affirmative, you can try to deny the link in various ways. value.
You might argue that your plan is shallow, rather than radical,
environmentalism. You might also argue that capitalism is too There are authors who defend the position that "utopianism" is
deeply entrenched to be dislodged. Evidence is available which good. It may be that they think the system is so flawed that it does
will allow the affirmative to argue that many plans can and will be need to be totally made over. Or, they may argue that utopian
constructed in ways favorable to capitalism. If you win all or most thinking is needed in order to establish a regulative ideal in order
of your case harm debate, this should offset most of the to guide future thought.
doomsaying link. Also, the long history of environmental
doomsaying doesn't appear to have done too much damage to This kind of thinking is often used to defend so-called "utopian"
capitalism. The capitalism bad turn strategy is, of course, also counterplans, such as anarchy and world government. (These
available. counterplans are in many ways the direct ancestors of the kritik.)
These arguments are not without merit, and my point is not to
COUNTER-KRITIKS dismiss them out of hand. But the countercase against utopianism
is also strong, and it is important to be prepared to make it.
A counter-kritik can be defined loosely as any argument used in
answering a kritik which makes the kritik a reason to vote Nihilism. Another common argument, made especially against
affirmative. It is an offensive rather than a defensive answer to the postmodern kritiks such as Heidegger and Foucault, is that they are

xli
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

"nihilist." Nihilism means literally believing in nothing. This is an potentially effective way to express a common anti-kritik
allegation which has been made against numerous forms of perspective.
extreme skepticism, and it was one of the early charges directed
against the kritik. This argument tends to suffer, however, from the Postmodernism. Many kritiks rely on postmodern perspectives.
familiar "familiarity breeds contempt" problem. Thus, to be Heidegger and Foucault are both part of the pantheon of preferred
powerful, the argument needs to be enhanced, and I believe that postmodern thinkers. The normativity kritik draws heavily on the
this can best be done by articulating reason for why nihilism is so postmodern thought process of deconstruction. The threat
especially dangerous. One common argument is that nihilism construction kritik employs basically a postmodern perspective on
produces political paralysis. Lacking some kind of affirmative faith international relations. Postmodern thought is currently popular,
and rigorously doubting everything, the nihilist is said to lack the but it is also widely indicted. Thus, if you can successfully identify
grounds needed for commitment to political reform. This kind of a position as resting on postmodern assumptions, you have the
reasoning, it should be noted, applies particularly well to certain basis for a potentially powerful counter-kritik.
kritiks--especially those which call for ongoing inaction because
of the lack of a foundational certainty about some aspect of Common arguments against postmodernism are that it is overly
affirmative analysis. relativistic, nihilistically skeptical, and politically paralyzing. Since
postmodernism has been discussed in depth above, I will not repeat
In contrast to the quiescence argument is the claim that nihilism all of these arguments here. My point is simply that these can serve
can produce vast destruction. "If nothing is true, then everything is as offensive arguments for the affirmative in a kritik debate.
permitted." The French existentialist, Albert Camus, wrote a long
essay, THE REBEL, in which he outlined the history of European Cultural crisis. The last counter-kritik I wish to discuss is one
nihilism over the past two hundred years and concluded that which attacks an underlying assumption of many kritiks, which is
nihilism ultimately led to the mass bloodlettings of the twentieth that we exist in a period of cultural crisis. The attitude of historical
century. and cultural pessimism has a long history, but it began to be
especially pronounced during the late nineteenth century (a
Language games. The idea of language games was developed by reaction perhaps to Enlightenment and Victorian ideas of progress).
the Austrian philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein. He argued that The cultural crisis view is seen in works like Nietzsche's
there are numerous different kinds of language activity and that TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS, Spengler's THE DECLINE OF THE
each different language activity, or "game," has its own distinctive WEST, Eliot's "The Waste Land," and Yeats' "The Second
rules and assumptions. These rules and assumptions, he goes on to Coming." And, to update the story, such postmodern figures as
argue, cannot be meaningfully challenged from a perspective Heidegger and Foucault draw heavily on the same sense of cultural
outside the particular language game. An example is religion and crisis and decline.
science. The two positions a built upon such different, and
incommensurate, assumptions that they really have nothing This perspective can be indicted as both harmful and untrue. As far
meaningful to say to each other. Philosopher of science Thomas as its truth goes, Spengler announced "the decline of the West"
Kuhn made a similar point about those organizing belief systems approximately eighty years ago. (Marx's prediction of the downfall
which he referred to as "paradigms." of capitalism is, of course, of even more ancient vintage.)
Nietzsche announced the crisis of the Western World in the 1870s
The significance of all this for debate is that the kritik can be and 1880s. It may well be that in part Nietzsche was right--the
indicted for operating within the wrong language game. The twentieth century has been an era of conflict and crisis, of the great
language game we are playing, it can be argued, is policy debate. wars and "great politics" that Nietzsche foresaw. But crises rarely
(This is demonstrated by the fact that we are debating and always last over a hundred years. And the West, having weathered two
choose to debate policy topics.) The kritik attempts to challenge the world wars and the challenges of both fascism and communism
basic assumptions of policy argument, but this cannot be seems to have settled into a period of considerable, prosperity and
meaningfully accomplished because these are intrinsic to the relative calm.
language game of policy debate. The policy debate language game
assumes comparative marginal analysis, while the kritik tends to Numerous indicators, from affluence to life expectancy, suggest
make absolute judgments (of right or wrong, correct or incorrect) that the present is a period of progress, not of decadence. This is,
in a non-comparative mode. It is simply not playing the same of course, a very large debate and not one which can be very
language game. The kritik is like dribbling a football or punting a meaningfully addressed in a paragraph. But you should at least be
basketball. aware that there is a powerful counter-position opposed to the
fashionable doom and gloom.
If this argument has a familiar ring, that is probably because it
restates, in a somewhat more sophisticated way, the familiar Beyond being empirically suspect, the reason that the cultural crisis
argument that the kritik is operating in the wrong forum. Since this perspective is dangerous is that it can be self-fulfilling. The
argument, in its traditional form, no longer seems to carry much example of Heidegger provides a telling case in point. Heidegger
weight, perhaps the "language game" reformulation of the position was convinced (in part by Nietzsche and Spengler) of the
will make it more salable. This argument is probably not a decadence of modernity. Accepting such a cultural critique, he was
"counter-kritik" according to the definition which I gave above--it predisposed toward radical alternatives. Unfortunately, the
justifies rejecting the kritik, but isn't a reason, independently to alternative which presented itself to Germany in the 1920s and
vote affirmative (unless, of course, the kritik is the only negative 1930s was Nazism, a position and party which Heidegger, to his
argument in the round). But it is, I think, an interesting and considerable notoriety, embraced. A similar indictment is made of

xlii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

the radical wing of the environmental movement. Being convinced


that ecological apocalypse is at hand, radical environmentalists are
willing to contemplate such "solutions" as starving millions in the
less developed world in order to reduce pressures on natural
eco-systems. They also seek to limit technological development
and economic growth, both of which are arguably key to
environmental protection.

Other counter-kritiks. I have highlighted these five positions as


counter-kritiks, but the evidence is available in this volume for
many other counter-kritiks. The section on metaphysical kritiks
provides evidence which could be used to produce a counter-kritik
of metaphysical thought; the section on epistemology offers
evidence which indicts epistemology. Cards in the section on
language kritiks provide the basis for a counter-kritik of political
correctness and excessive language focus. Many other possibilities
exist. The kritik is an imaginative form of argument, and it calls for
an imaginative response.

A FINAL NOTE ON THE BOOK'S ORGANIZATION

As should be clear by now, many of the arguments in this book


interact. Thus, for example, there will be links to arguments found
in one section with impacts found in another. Many kritiks are
indicted as having irrationalist roots and tending to destroy science.
The impacts to science are found mainly in the section on general
answers to epistemological kritiks; impacts to rationality are found
in the "kritik of reason" answer section.

Against any kritik, you might choose to argue that the kritik relies
on postmodernism, and then proceed to indict postmodern thought.
You would find evidence to do this in the answers to the kritik of
modernity section. In indicting postmodernism, you might decide
to indict Derrida as the typical postmodern thinker. To find
evidence indicting Derrida, you would need to go to the section on
deconstruction. As part of your indictment of Derrida, you might
argue that he relies heavily on Heidegger and is thereby corrupted
by Heidegger's intellectual authoritarianism.

Evidence for this impact would be found in the post-humanism


section. Even a casual perusal of this volume should reveal
numerous other interactions. Careful reflection on the evidence
should reveal many uses for cards beyond the use to which they are
assigned in the book's current structure.

xliii
The Anti-Kritik Handbook

INDEX TO THE RESEARCH

I. GENERAL KRITIK ANSWERS


A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-9
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. DEBATE SHOULD ASSUME A POLICY CONTEXT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-16
2. MEANINGFUL DEBATE REQUIRES AN ALTERNATIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17-25
3. LACK OF ALTERNATIVE ENSURES POLITICAL FAILURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26-28
4. LACK OF ALTERNATIVE PRODUCES INEFFECTIVE CRITICISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29-31
5. KRITIK LEADS TO NIHILISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32-33
6. MEANINGFUL INQUIRY REQUIRES ASSUMPTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34-35
7. NOT ALL ASSUMPTIONS SHOULD BE QUESTIONED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36-40
8. POLICY DEBATE ESSENTIAL TO THE PUBLIC GOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41-50
9. THE KRITIK THREATENS SCIENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
10. SPEECH LIMITS ARE JUSTIFIED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52-61
11. THE APPEAL TO "NEW IDEAS" DOESN'T JUSTIFY THE KRITIK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62-65
12. RADICAL SKEPTICISM IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66-68
13. KRITIK IS BASED ON POSTMODERN AND DECONSTRUCTIONIST THOUGHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69-72
II. GENERAL ANSWERS TO LANGUAGE/RHETORIC KRITIKS
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73-78
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. CHANGING SPEECH WON'T SOLVE SOCIAL PROBLEMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79-80
2. "POLITICALLY CORRECT" CODES OF LANGUAGE ARE CENSORSHIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81-83
3. SPEECH LIMITS SNOWBALL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84-95
4. SPEECH LIMITS UNDERMINE THE ROLE OF THE UNIVERSITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96-100
5. SPEECH LIMITS CHILL EXPRESSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101-02
6. CENSORSHIP OF SPEECH IS INEFFECTIVE AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103-08
7. FREE SPEECH IS KEY TO REFORM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109-13
8. CENSORING SPEECH HURTS MINORITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114-18
III. GENERAL ANSWERS TO METAPHYSICAL/SYSTEMS OF THOUGHT KRITIKS
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119-25
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. METAPHYSICAL STATEMENTS ARE MEANINGLESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126-34
2. METAPHYSICAL QUESTIONS ARE UNANSWERABLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
3. METAPHYSICAL SPECULATION IS USELESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136-39
4. MODERN PHILOSOPHY REJECTS METAPHYSICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140-41
5. PHILOSOPHY SHOULDN'T REJECT COMMON SENSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
6. WE MUST ASSUME OBJECTIVE EXTERNAL REALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143-44
7. SEPARATE SELVES EXIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145-50
IV. GENERAL ANSWERS TO EPISTEMOLOGICAL KRITIKS
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151-61
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. FOCUS ON EPISTEMOLOGY IS BAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162-64
2. EPISTEMOLOGICAL DOUBT DOESN'T JUSTIFY INACTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
3. RELIABLE KNOWLEDGE IS POSSIBLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
4. THE WORLD IS KNOWABLE THROUGH SENSE EXPERIENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167-73
5. LOGIC PROVIDES VALID KNOWLEDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174-80
6. HISTORY PROVIDES VALID KNOWLEDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181-84
7. FIELD SPECIFIC SCHOLARSHIP PROVIDES VALID KNOWLEDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
8. SCIENCE PROVIDES VALID KNOWLEDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186-90
9. SCIENCE IS OBJECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191-96
10. SCIENCE OFFERS THE MOST RELIABLE KNOWLEDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197-200
11. SUCCESSFUL PREDICTIONS VALIDATE SCIENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201-06
12. RELATIVISM DOESN'T UNDERMINE SCIENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207-12
13. SCIENCE COMPATIBLE WITH CREATIVE IMAGINATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213-16
14. REJECTING SCIENCE IS DISASTROUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217-20
15. SCIENCE IS POLITICALLY PROGRESSIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221-24
16. THE KRITIK OF SCIENCE FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225-27
V. ANSWERS TO THE KRITIK OF REASON
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228-38
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. REASON PRODUCES THE BEST RESULTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239-42
2. REASON KEY TO DIGNITY, LIBERTY, DEMOCRACY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
3. REJECTING REASON LEADS TO FASCISM AND TYRANNY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244-57
4. REJECTING REASON LEADS TO NIHILISM AND INHUMANITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258-60
5. REJECTION OF REASON IS SELF-CONTRADICTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261-66
6. REASON HAS VALUE DESPITE ITS LIMITS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267-70
7. CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE IS IMPOSSIBLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271-72
8. ACTION MUST BE BASED ON PARTIAL KNOWLEDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273-76
9. ANTI-FOUNDATIONALISM DOESN'T UNDERMINE REASON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277-78
10. REASON CORRECTS ITS OWN ABUSES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279
11. LIMITED PERSPECTIVES STILL ALLOW KNOWLEDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280-82
12. REASON COMPATIBLE WITH INTUITION/CREATIVITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283-84
13. REASON NEEDED TO CHECK INTUITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285-91

1
14. REASON KEY TO BENEVOLENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
15. REASON KEY TO HUMAN SURVIVAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293-97
16. REASON KEY TO MORALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298-99
17. REASON NECESSARY FOR MEANINGFUL KRITIK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300-02
18. TRUTH REQUIRES REASON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303-04
19. HISTORY VALIDATES REASON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305
20. REASON IS GROUNDED IN INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306-09
21. REASON IS PRAGMATICALLY JUSTIFIED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
VI. ANSWERS TO THE KRITIK OF CAUSALITY
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311-14
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. CAUSALITY IS VALID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315-16
2. CAUSE IS A NECESSARY ASSUMPTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317-21
3. HUME DIDN'T DENY CAUSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322-24
4. THE INDUCTION PROBLEM DOESN'T DISPROVE SCIENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
VII. ANSWERS TO THE KRITIK OF MODERNITY/ARGUMENTS AGAINST POSTMODERNISM
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326-34
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. POSTMODERN THOUGHT IS NIHILISTIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 335-36
2. POSTMODERNISM IS POLITICALLY REACTIONARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337-43
3. POSTMODERNISM UNDERMINES RATIONALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344-50
4. POSTMODERNISM UNDERMINES SCIENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351-53
5. POSTMODERN KRITIK OF SCIENCE FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354-56
6. POSTMODERN THOUGHT SELF-CONTRADICTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 357-61
7. POSTMODERN THOUGHT INCOHERENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362-65
8. REALITY ISN'T JUST SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 366-68
9. STRESSING "DIFFERENCE" IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369-75
10. POSTMODERNISM JUST AN OBSOLETE FAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 376-79
11. POSTMODERNISM RESTS ON INTELLECTUAL PARANOIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380-81
12. INDICTMENTS OF NIETZSCHE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 382-83
13. POSTMODERNISM FAILS AS A THEORY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384
14. WE AREN'T ENTERING A POSTMODERN PERIOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385-90
15. MODERNITY HASN'T FAILED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391-98
16. MODERN VIEW KEY TO PEACE, DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 399-401
17. ENLIGHTENMENT PRINCIPLES VALID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402-12
18. POSTSTRUCTURALISM FLAWED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413-20
19. PRAGMATISM SUPERIOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 421
VIII. ARGUMENTS AGAINST DERRIDA AND DECONSTRUCTION
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 422-35
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. DECONSTRUCTION IS NIHILISTIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 436-41
2. DECONSTRUCTION LACKS CREATIVE INSIGHTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 442-44
3. DECONSTRUCTION DESTROYS DEBATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 445-47
4. DECONSTRUCTION LACKS POLITICAL VALUE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 448-56
5. DECONSTRUCTION POLITICALLY REACTIONARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 457-60
6. SHOULD BOTH ACT AND DECONSTRUCT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 461-62
7. DECONSTRUCTION DOESN'T OFFER USEFUL ALTERNATIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 463
8. DECONSTRUCTION IS INFINITELY REGRESSIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 464-68
9. DECONSTRUCTION RESTS ON FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 469-71
10. DECONSTRUCTION OVERSIMPLIFIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 472-77
11. DECONSTRUCTION UNDERMINES RATIONALITY AND TRUTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 478-85
12. DECONSTRUCTION CAN BE RATIONALLY ATTACKED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486
13. DERRIDA'S THOUGHT MYSTICAL AND METAPHYSICAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 487-90
14. DECONSTRUCTION IS INTELLECTUAL ANARCHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 491
15. DECONSTRUCTION CAUSES DEBILITATING SKEPTICISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 492
16. DECONSTRUCTION JUST DISAPPOINTED ABSOLUTISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 493-94
17. DECONSTRUCTION LACKS REAL WORLD UTILITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 495-96
18. EVEN DECONSTRUCTION RESTS ON UNCHALLENGED ASSUMPTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497-98
19. DECONSTRUCTION IS AN INTELLECTUAL FAKE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 499-502
20. DECONSTRUCTION JUST AN EXERCISE IN SELF-DRAMATIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 503-04
21. DECONSTRUCTION IS JUST WORDPLAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505-09
22. DECONSTRUCTIONIST WRITINGS FATALLY OBSCURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 510-11
23. DERRIDA SELF-CONTRADICTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 512-13
24. DECONSTRUCTION LACKS LOGICAL FOUNDATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 514-15
25. DERRIDA'S THEORY OF MEANING FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 516-20
26. DERRIDA'S SOCIAL THEORY FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 521-24
27. ANTI-FOUNDATIONALISM IS IRRELEVANT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 525-27
IX. ARGUMENTS AGAINST FOUCAULT-BASED KRITIKS
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 528-35
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. FOUCAULT ANTI-DEMOCRATIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 536
2. FOUCAULT NIHILISTIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 537-41
3. FOUCAULT'S THEORY OF POWER FLAWED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 542-58
4. FOUCAULT'S METHOD BANKRUPT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 559-61
5. FOUCAULT'S THEORY POLITICALLY COUNTERPRODUCTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 562-91
6. FOUCAULT'S VIEW PRESERVES PATRIARCHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 592
7. FOUCAULT'S KRITIK OF MODERNITY FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 593-94
8. FOUCAULT'S THEORIES UNDERMINE SCIENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 595

2
9. LOCALIZED PREDICTION POSSIBLE--THE CONTINUUM OF FORCES
ISN'T "INDISSOLUBLE" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 596
10. CRIMINAL SANCTIONS ARE GOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 597-602
11. FOUCAULT'S CRITIQUE OF REASON FLAWED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 603-14
12. FOUCAULT'S THEORY UTOPIAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 615-16
13. FOUCAULT OFFERS NO ALTERNATIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 617-20
14. LATE FOUCAULT RECANTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 621-24
15. FOUCAULT OVERLY RELATIVISTIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 625
16. FOUCAULT MISUNDERSTANDS INSTITUTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 626-28
17. FOUCAULT'S PERSPECTIVE WON'T LIBERATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 629-30
X. ANSWERS TO HEIDEGGER AND THE POSTHUMANIST KRITIK
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 631-36
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. GENERAL INDICTMENTS OF HEIDEGGER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 637-42
2. HEIDEGGER AN INTELLECTUAL AUTHORITARIAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 643-44
3. HEIDEGGER JUST A PSEUDO-THEOLOGIAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 645
4. HEIDEGGER'S THOUGHT INVITES FANATICISM/NIHILISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 646-48
5. HEIDEGGER'S CONCEPT OF AUTHENTICITY FLAWED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 649-51
6. HEIDEGGER'S CONCEPT OF BEING INCOHERENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 652-64
7. HEIDEGGER WAS A NAZI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 665-69
8. HUMANISM IS GOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 670-73
C. HEIDEGGER AND NAZISM
1. HEIDEGGER'S WRITINGS/SPEECHES REVEAL HIS NAZISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 674-77
2. HEIDEGGER VENERATED HITLER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 678-82
3. HEIDEGGER REJECTED DEMOCRACY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 683-88
4. HEIDEGGER GLORIFIED POWER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 689-91
5. HEIDEGGER'S NAZISM WASN'T INCIDENTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 692-705
6. HEIDEGGER RETAINED NAZI SYMPATHIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 706-10
D. HEIDEGGER BASIC CONCEPTS WRONG
1. HIS CRITIQUE OF MODERNITY FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 711-13
2. HIS CRITIQUE OF RATIONALITY FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 714-18
3. HIS FOCUS ON BEING IS DESTRUCTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 719-22
4. HIS POLITICS ENCOURAGE NATIONALISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 723-25
5. HIS POLITICS ENCOURAGE STATISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 726-27
6. HIS POLITICS ENCOURAGE TOTALITARIANISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 728-31
7. HIS CONCEPT OF TRUTH IS WRONG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 732-35
8. HIS RETHINKING FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 736
9. HIS CONCEPT OF AUTHENTICITY FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 737-38
10. HIS CRITIQUE OF TECHNOLOGY IS MISGUIDED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 739-42
11. HIS PHILOSOPHY CAN LEAD TO POLITICAL PASSIVITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 743-45
12. HIS LANGUAGE IS AUTHORITARIAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 746
13. HE IGNORES REALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 747
14. HE WAS A COVERT THEOLOGIAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 748
E. REJECTION OF HUMANISM IS TERRIBLE
1. DESTROYS FREEDOM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 749-50
2. LEADS TO TOTALITARIAN OPPRESSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 751-57
F. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION CONSISTENT WITH RELEASEMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 758-59
XI. ANSWERS TO THE KRITIK OF NORMATIVITY
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 760-70
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. NORMATIVITY IS INESCAPABLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 771-76
2. EVEN SCHLAG CAN'T ESCAPE NORMATIVITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 777-81
3. SCHLAG'S VIEW IS PARANOID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 782-85
4. EXPERIENCE DENIES THE KRITIK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 786
5. THE KRITIK OF NORMATIVITY IS INCOHERENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 787
6. SCHLAG OVERSIMPLIFIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 788-90
7. SCHLAG CAN'T TRANSCEND THE CARTESIAN FRAMEWORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 791-92
8. REJECTING NORMATIVITY REACTIONARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 793
9. REJECTING NORMATIVITY SCREENS OUT OTHER VIEWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 794
10. NORMATIVITY IS ESSENTIAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 795-98
11. NORMATIVE THOUGHT CAN SUCCEED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 799-803
12. FEMINIST JURISPRUDENCE IS NORMATIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 804
13. HISTORICAL INSTITUTIONAL DETERMINISM WRONG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 805-13
14. HUMAN AGENCY IS MEANINGFUL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 814-15
15. REJECTING THE SUBJECT DEHUMANIZES AND DESTROYS REASON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 816-17
16. DETERMINISM DESTROYS HUMAN VALUES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 818-20
17. FREE WILL EXISTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 821-23
18. FREE WILL A FUNCTIONAL REALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 824-25
19. DETERMINISM LACKS PRACTICAL SIGNIFICANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 826-30
20. DETERMINISM IS UNPROVEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 831-33
21. WE SHOULD ACT AS IF FREE WILL EXISTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 834-35
22. ARGUMENT AGAINST FREE WILL SELF-CONTRADICTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 836
23. MEANINGFUL PERSUASION AND DELIBERATION ARE COMPATIBLE WITH
DETERMINISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 837-42
24. STRONG DETERMINISTISM IS WRONG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 843-45
25. SKINNER'S BEHAVIORISM IS WRONG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 846-53
26. THE FREE WILL QUESTION IS MEANINGLESSLY METAPHYSICAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 854-55
27. AUTONOMY IS POSSIBLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 856-62
28. AUTONOMY IS GOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 863-72
29. VALUES CAN'T BE OBJECTIVELY PROVEN--THEY MUST BE ASSUMED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 873-82

3
30. NIHILISM IS SELF-REFUTING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 883-84
31. VALUES REQUIRE PERSONAL CHOICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 885-87
32. VALUE OF LIFE CAN'T BE ESTIMATED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 888-89
33. LIFE IS VALUABLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 890
34. NORMATIVE STATEMENTS ARE MEANINGFUL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 891
35. NORMATIVITY KRITIK RESTS ON POSTMODERNISM AND DECONSTRUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 892-93
XII. ANSWERS TO THE KRITIK OF STATISM
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 894-903
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. ANARCHY INCREASES VIOLENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 904-05
2. ANARCHY CAN'T PERSIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 906
3. CLASSICAL POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY REJECTS ANARCHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 907
4. HUMAN RATIONALITY LIMITED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 908-13
5. HUMANS INNATELY AGGRESSIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 914-25
6. SOCIAL ORDER REQUIRES GOVERNMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 926
7. THE STATE IS LEGITIMATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 927-29
8. THE STATE CAN LIMIT WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 930
9. UTOPIANISM IS BAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 931-35
10. ANARCHIST THOUGHT UTOPIAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 936-38
11. PRIVATE ARMIES/PROTECTION AGENCIES DESTROY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 939-41
12. EXTERNAL AGGRESSION DESTROYS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 942-46
13. ANARCHY CAN'T ENDURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 947-49
14. FAILURE LEADS TO FASCISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 950
15. FAILS UNDER CURRENT CONDITIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 951-54
16. HISTORICAL EXAMPLES DON'T SUPPORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 955-59
17. ANARCHY PRODUCES CRIME AND DISORDER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 960-64
18. ANARCHY NOT ECONOMICALLY VIABLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 965-69
19. ANARCHY UNDERMINES FREEDOM/INDIVIDUALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 970-84
20. ANARCHY DESTROYS JUSTICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 985-86
21. ANARCHY DESTROYS PERSONAL IDENTITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 987-88
22. ANARCHY PRODUCES SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 989
23. ANTI-GOVERNMENT RHETORIC CAUSES TERRORISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 990
24. GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS ARE SUCCESSFUL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 991-92
25. GOVERNMENT LOWERS POVERTY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 993-99
26. GOVERNMENT MORE EFFECTIVE THAN THE MARKET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1000-06
27. GOVERNMENT MEDICAL CARE EFFECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1007-10
28. FOOD AND HOUSING PROGRAMS EFFECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1011-12
29. JOBS PROGRAMS EFFECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1013-16
30. HEAD START EFFECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1017-18
31. POLLUTION CONTROL EFFECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1019-21
32. GOVERNMENT NOT INEFFICIENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1022-24
33. GOVERNMENT DOESN'T PRODUCE DEPENDENCY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1025-28
XIII. ANSWERS TO THE CRITICAL LEGAL STUDIES KRITIK
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1029-36
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. LIBERAL DEMOCRACY IS BEST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1037-38
2. AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS RESPONSIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1039
3. AMERICA NOT OPPRESSIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1040-45
4. AMERICA RELATIVELY EGALITARIAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1046-49
5. AMERICA NOT RACIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1050-57
6. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS IMPROVING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1058-61
7. GLOBAL DEMOCRACY EXPANDING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1062
8. RADICAL REFORM WON'T OCCUR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1063
9. KRITIK OF LAW FLAWED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1064-66
10. RULE OF LAW GOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1067-70
11. RULE OF LAW KEY TO LIBERTY AND DEMOCRACY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1071-75
12. RULE OF LAW KEY TO JUSTICE AND EQUALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1076-78
13. RULE OF LAW KEY TO GROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1079
14. FORMAL PROCEDURE GOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1080-85
15. MORAL RULES NECESSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1086-93
C. THE CRITICAL RACE THEORY DEFENSE OF RIGHTS
1. CRT GENERALLY UPHOLDS RIGHTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1094-95
2. CRT ANSWERS CLS CRITIQUE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1096-97
3. CRT ANSWERS FEMINIST CRITIQUE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1098
4. RIGHTS PRODUCE PROGRESS - THEY DON'T MASK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1099-106
5. RIGHTS AREN'T REIFIED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1107-10
6. NEEDS TALK NO BETTER THAN RIGHTS TALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1111
7. RIGHTS SHOULD BE EXTENDED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1112
XIV. ANSWERS TO FEMINIST JURISPRUDENCE KRITIK
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1113-19
B. EXTENSION BLOCKS
1. WOMEN PROGRESSING POLITICALLY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1120-24
2. FEMINISM IS IRREVERSIBLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1125-26
3. REASON HELPS WOMEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1127-31
4. OBJECTIVITY NOT BAD FOR WOMEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1132-34
5. REJECTING REASON AND OBJECTIVITY HURTS WOMEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1135-37
6. OBJECTIVITY AND UNIVERSALISM HELP WOMEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1138-40
7. ANSWERS TO FEMINIST KRITIK OF RIGHTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1141-43
8. NO UNIQUELY FEMALE EPISTEMOLOGY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1144

4
9. ETHIC OF CARE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1145
10. RADICAL FEMINISM TOTALIZES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1146-47
11. ANSWERS TO FEMINIST KRITIK OF SCIENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1148-54
XV. ANSWERS TO NARRATIVE
A. NARRATIVE INEFFECTIVE
1. GENERALLY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1155-59
2. DOESN'T EMPOWER MINORITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1160-67
3. DOESN'T EMPOWER WOMEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1168-69
B. NARRATIVE IS HARMFUL
1. ANTI-RATIONAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1170
2. UNDERMINES ARGUMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1171-75
3. STORIES DISTORT DECISION MAKING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1176-83
4. STORIES ARE ATYPICAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1184-89
5. STORIES UNDERMINE LEGAL SCHOLARSHIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1190-92
C. CRITERIA FOR NARRATIVES
1. STORIES REQUIRE ANALYTICAL INTERPRETATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1193-202
2. STORIES MUST BE VALID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1203
3. STORIES MUST BE CLEARLY RELEVANT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1204
D. REJECTING NARRATIVE DOESN'T SILENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1205
XVI. ANSWERS TO NON-VIOLENCE
A. NON-VIOLENCE MORALLY FLAWED
1. GENERALLY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1206-11
2. KANTIAN PRINCIPLES JUSTIFY REJECTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1212-14
3. CONSEQUENTIALIST PRINCIPLES JUSTIFY REJECTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1215
4. NATURAL RIGHTS THEORY JUSTIFIES REJECTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1216
5. CONSENSUS REJECTS COMPLETE PACIFISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1217
B. NON-VIOLENCE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
1. CRIMINAL JUSTICE CONSISTENT WITH PACIFISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1218-19
2. PURE PACIFISM UNDERMINES THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1220
3. CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS NEEDED AND JUSTIFIED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1221-25
4. POLICE POWER JUSTIFIES MILITARY POWER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1226
C. PACIFISM HARMFUL
1. GENERALLY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1227
2. INCREASES VIOLENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1228-32
3. LEADS TO WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1233-36
4. UNDERMINES LIMITED WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1237-39
5. UNDERMINES REFORM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1240
6. LEADS TO TOTALITARIAN RULE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1241-42
D. NON-VIOLENCE INEFFECTIVE
1. GENERALLY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1243-49
2. GANDHIAN NON-VIOLENCE FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1250-54
E. NON-VIOLENCE UTOPIAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1255-58
XVII. ANSWERS TO CULTURAL RELATIVISM
A. RELATIVISM IS INCORRECT
1. HISTORY AND REASON DENY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1259-60
2. NON-WESTERN WORLD ACCEPTS MODERN VALUES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1261
3. SOME CULTURES ARE SUPERIOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1262-70
4. NO RIGHT TO CULTURAL SURVIVAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1271-72
B. RELATIVISM IS WRONG
1. JUSTIFIES MORAL ATROCITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1273-74
2. RELATIVISM IS ETHNOCENTRIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1275-76
C. ANSWERS TO ORIENTALISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1277-80
D. EMPHASIS ON DIFFERENCE/"OTHER" COUNTERPRODUCTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1281-91
XVIII. ANSWERS TO THE KRITIK OF NUCLEARISM
A. NUCLEARISM DEFINED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1292
B. NUCLEAR EXTINCTION STILL A THREAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1293-95
C. IGNORING THE NUCLEAR THREAT HEIGHTENS THE RISK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1296-98
D. CONFRONTING THE NUCLEAR THREAT LOWERS THE RISK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1299-308
E. DISCOURSE ABOUT THE NUCLEAR THREAT NECESSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1309-11
F. SCHELL'S NUCLEAR DISCOURSE UNIQUELY FERTILE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1312-14
G. THE SLIGHTEST NUCLEAR RISK MUST BE AVOIDED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1315
H. NUCLEAR SCENARIOS MUST BE CONFRONTED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1316-19
I. MILITARY DETERRENCE EFFECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1320-21
J. NUCLEARISM THREAT EXAGGERATED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1322
XIX. ANSWERS TO THE THREAT CONSTRUCTION KRITIK
A. THREAT ASSESSMENT IS UNAVOIDABLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1323-28
B. NOT COUNTERING REAL THREATS LEADS TO WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1329-31
C. UNDERASSESSING THREATS IS A GREATER RISK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1332-41
D. DETERRENCE IS NECESSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1342-44
E. POSTMODERN APPROACHES TO FOREIGN POLICY FAIL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1345
F. THREAT CONSTRUCTION KRITIK NOT ABSOLUTE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1346-50
G. SOME ENEMIES ARE REAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1351
H. NEGLECTING SECURITY CONCERNS IS A MAJOR CAUSE OF WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1352
I. A WEALTH OF INFORMATION PERMITS INFORMED CONCLUSIONS ABOUT OTHER
COUNTRIES' INTENTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1353
J. REAL THREATS EXIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1354-7
K. MOTIVES NOT HARD TO ASSESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1358-60
L. ANSWERS TO TERRORIST THREAT CONSTRUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1361-4

5
XX. ANSWERS TO THE KRITIK OF TERROR TALK
A. TERRORISM CAN BE ADEQUATELY DEFINED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1365-7
B. TERRORISTS KILL MANY - THEIR IMPACT IS REAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1368-9
C. TERRORISM RISKS ESCALATION TO WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1370
D. STATE VIOLENCE DOESN'T JUSTIFY TERRORISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1371
E. TERRORISM REINFORCES THE POWER OF THE STATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1372
F. RESPONSES TO TERRORISM ARE NEEDED TO PRESERVE CONSTITUTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1373
G. VALID DEFINITIONS OF TERRORISM EXIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1374-9
H. PERFECT DEFINITION UNNECESSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1380
I. EVALUATIVE DEFINITIONS OF TERRORISM ACCEPTABLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1381
J. TERRORISM IS IMMORAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1382-9
K. CURRENT TERRORISM NOT JUSTIFIED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1390
L. TERRORISTS NOT FREEDOM FIGHTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1391-3
M. TERRORISM IS INEFFECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1394
N. STATE VIOLENCE DOESN'T EXCUSE TERRORISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1395-6
O. STATE TERRORISM NOT IGNORED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1397
P. TERRORISM THREATENS DEMOCRACY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1398
Q. TERRORISM NOT JUST DISCURSIVE - REAL PEOPLE DIE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1399
R. PAST IS A POOR GUIDE TO FUTURE TERRORISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1400-2
S. WMD TERRORISM IS A REAL THREAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1403
XXI. ANSWERS TO THE DEEP ECOLOGY KRITIK
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1404-20
B. ANTHROPOCENTRISM DOESN'T CAUSE ECO-CRISIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1421-2
C. DEEP ECOLOGICAL DISCOURSE ISN'T USEFUL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1423-4
D. DEEP ECOLOGY POLITICALLY IMPOTENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1425
E. DEEP ECOLOGY PRONE TO CONSERVATIVE COOPTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1426-7
F. DEEP ECOLOGY ENCOURAGES AUTHORITARIANISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1428-9
G. DEEP ECOLOGY IS GENOCIDAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1430-1
H. DEEP ECOLOGY HURTS THE POOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1432-3
XXII. ANSWERS TO THE SOCIAL ECOLOGY KRITIK
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1434-45
B. SOCIAL ECOLOGY MISUNDERSTANDS HIERARCHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1446-7
C. CAPITALISM DOESN'T CAUSE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1448-9
D. REJECTION OF THE STATE NOT NECESSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1450
E. REFORMISM LEGITIMATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1451-2
F. ANARCHY FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1453-4
G. SOCIAL ECOLOGY POLITICALLY COUNTERPRODUCTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1455
H. SOCIAL ECOLOGY UNDERMINES COALITIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1456
I. SOCIAL ECOLOGY LACKS WIDE APPEAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1457
J. SOCIAL ECOLOGY CAN'T MAKE NEEDED TRANSITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1458
K. ATTACKING CAPITALISM ECOLOGICALLY COUNTERPRODUCTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1459
L. DECENTRALIZATION IS DISASTROUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1460
M. DECENTRALIZATION CAUSES CONFLICT AND WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1461
N. SOCIAL ECOLOGY HURTS THE POOR AND VIOLATES JUSTICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1462
O. SOCIAL ECOLOGY CAUSES ECONOMIC COLLAPSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1463
XXIII. ANSWERS TO THE ECOFEMINISM KRITIK
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1464-71
B. ECOFEMINIST THEORY OF DOMINATION IS WRONG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1472-3
C. ALL FORMS OF DOMINATION NOT LINKED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1474-5
D. PATRIARCHY NOT LINKED TO DOMINATION OF NATURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1476-7
E. WOMEN NOT INNATELY PRO-ENVIRONMENTALIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1478-9
F. FEMINISM SCAPEGOATS MEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1480
G. ECOFEMINISM IS INTELLECTUALLY UNSOUND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1481-2
H. ECOFEMINISM DOESN'T SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1483
I. ECOFEMINISM HURTS THE ENVIRONMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1484
J. ECOFEMINISM HURTS THE STATUS OF WOMEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1485-6
K. ECOFEMINISM REINFORCES STEREOTYPES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1487-8
L. ECOFEMINISM IS POLITICALLY REACTIONARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1489-90
M. ECOFEMINISM ANTI-DEMOCRATIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1491
N. ECOFEMINISM ESSENTIALIZES WOMEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1492-3
XXIV. ANSWERS TO HEIDEGGER-BASED ENVIRONMENTALIST KRITIKS
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1494-8
B. HEIDEGGER'S THOUGHT NOT ENVIRONMENTALLY BENIGN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1499-1500
C. ONTOLOGICAL FOCUS UNDESIRABLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1501-2
D. HEIDEGGER ANTI-DEMOCRATIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1503
E. HEIDEGGER'S THOUGHT POLITICALLY REACTIONARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1504
F. HEIDEGGER'S THOUGHT DESTROYS FREEDOM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1505-6
G. PERMUTATION: KRITIK AND ACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1507-8
XXV. ANSWERS TO THE KRITIK OF REALISM
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1509-21
B. REALISM PRODUCES EFFECTIVE POLICIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1522-3
C. REALISM PROMOTES PEACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1524-5
D. DISCURSIVE CHANGE FAILS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1526
E. CONSTRUCTIVIST CRITIQUE OF REALISM WRONG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1527
F. REALISM SUPERIOR TO CONSTRUCTIVISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1528-9

6
XXVI. ANSWERS TO THE KRITIK OF LIBERALISM
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1530-7
B. LIBERAL HEGEMONY BENIGN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1538-9
C. INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS EFFECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1540
D. LIBERALISM NOT OVERLY INTERVENTIONIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1541
E. LIBERALISM NOT PRONE TO IDEOLOGICAL CRUSADES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1542-3
F. LIBERALISM GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1544
G. LIBERALISM ENCOURAGES PEACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1545-6
H. LIBERALISM BETTER THAN ITS ALTERNATIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1547-8
XXVII. THE COUNTER-KRITIK OF RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM
A. FRONTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1549-54
B. RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM REJECTS CAPITALISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1555
C. DEEP ECOLOGY REJECTS CAPITALISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1556
D. ECOFEMINISM REJECTS CAPITALISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1557
E. SOCIAL ECOLOGY REJECTS CAPITALISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1558
F. ECO-RADICALISM REPUDIATES GROWTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1559-60
G. CAPITALISM KEY TO PROSPERITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1561-2
H. CAPITALISM KEY TO DEMOCRACY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1563-4
I. CAPITALISM PROMOTES PEACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1565-6
J. GROWTH PROMOTES PEACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1567-8
K. GROWTH AIDS THE ENVIRONMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1569-70
L. GROWTH IS KEY TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1571-2
M. DEMOCRACY CAUSES PEACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1573-4
N. CAPITALISM INCREASES LENGTH AND QUALITY OF LIFE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1575-6
O. RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM THREATENS THE ENVIRONMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1577-8
P. RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM IS ECOFASCIST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1579-80
Q. LOGIC OF ECOFASCISM JUSTIFIES MASS KILLING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1581
R. RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM ATTACKS DEMOCRACY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1582-3
S. ECO-RADICALISM THREATENS CIVILIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1584
T. ECO-RADICALISM REJECTS TECHNOLOGY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1585-6
U. RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM EMBRACES ANARCHISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1587
V. STATE ESSENTIAL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1588
XXVIII. COUNTER-KRITIKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1589-1689
XXIX. PRAGMATISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1690-1750

7
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 1
AKH0001 ARGUMENTS ARE MEANINGFUL ONLY WITHIN A REALM OF AKH0007 THE KRITIK LEADS TO UNINTELLIGIBLE DEBATE
DISCOURSE Paul Berman, fellow, New York University Institute for the Humanities, DEBATING P.C.
Stanley Fish, Duke English and Law prof, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS FREE 1992, p.6.
SPEECH, 1994, p.129. No three people agree about the meaning of central terms like "deconstruction,"
The ordinary situation is one in which what you can say is limited by the decorums you are "difference," "multiculturalism," or "poststructuralism." Every participant carries around
required to internalize before entering. Regulation of free speech is a defining feature of his own definitions, the way that on certain American streets every person packs his own
everyday life, not because the landscape is polluted by censors, but because the very gun. And when you take these numberless definitions into consideration, the entire
condition of purposeful activity (as opposed to activity that is random and inconsequential) argument begins to look like . . . what? I would say it looks like the Battle of Waterloo as
is that some actions (both physical and verbal) be excluded so that some others can go described by Stendhal. A murky fog hangs over the field. Now and then a line of soldiers
forward. In the very few contexts in which the idea of "free expression" is really taken marches past. Who are they? Which army do they represent? They may be Belgian
seriously- call-in talk shows and major league baseball games (and even these have their deconstructionists from Yale, or perhaps the followers of Lionel Trilling in exile from
limits)-it is understood that the speech freely produced is tolerated because it doesn't Columbia. Perhaps they are French mercenaries. It is impossible to tell. The fog thickens.
matter. When speech does matter, when it is produced in the service of some truth or Shots go off. The debate is unintelligible. But it is noisy!
preferred agenda, the sign of its mattering is the fact that only some forms of it will be
welcome. If we keep in mind that regulation of speech is constitutive of meaningful AKH0008 THE KRITIK FALSELY ASSUMES A CRISIS OF MODERN CULTURE
discourse, we will not regard proposals for regulation as anomalous but receive them as J.G. Merquior, King's College, London, FROM PRAGUE TO PARIS, 1986, p.260.
suggested modifications of a condition-the condition of productive constraint--that has By stating that Foucault's anti-Enlightenment philosophical history, as well as Derrida's
always obtained. brand of irrationalism, are not only instances of a literarization of thought but also a
surrender of thought to modernist ideology, that is, to the pious countercultural worldview
AKH0002 REJECTING WITHOUT AN ALTERNATIVE LEADS TO NIHILISM of most modern art, I meant to stress how questionable are the assumptions that gave birth
Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut, French philosophers, FRENCH PHILOSOPHY OF THE to the radical tradition within Kulturkritik. Do the many failures and shortcomings of
SIXTIES, 1990, p.62. modern culture actually warrant such a massive indictment of modernity's achievements?
From the disintegration of norms to the rise of neo-nihilism was but a single step, which, Can we really say that the historicist appraisal and approval of an industrial order, where
when taken, rather easily undermined the fragile order of existing society: "to reject one knowledge, art and morals work as separate though obviously not wholly unrelated
social order without having any notion of which order might be erected in its place" spheres, has been convincingly shown to be erroneous? Are there not sufficient grounds
demonstrates "one of the reasons for the decomposition we saw in May."[1968] to present a case for what Hans Blumenberg has called 'die Legitimitat der Neuzeit'? That
a deep cultural crisis is endemic to historical modernity seems to have been much more
AKH0003 THE CRITIQUE OF ASSUMPTIONS IS INFINITELY REGRESSIVE eagerly assumed than properly demonstrated, no doubt because, more often than not, those
Stanley Fish, Duke English and Law prof, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS FREE who generally do the assuming-humanist intellectuals-have every interest in being
SPEECH, 1994, p.18. perceived as soul doctors to a sick civilization. Yet is the medicine that necessary, or the
Why not, then, one might ask, go deeper (in the wonderful world of rationality accidents sickness that real? Perhaps we should be entertaining second thoughts about it all.
are always being peeled away in order that essences might be revealed) and put those
underlying assumptions on the table so that they could be scrutinized and assessed? To this AKH0009 NEGLECTING POLICY SPECIFICS IS DEBILITATING AND
suggestion I would pose a simple question: if you propose to examine and assess ESSENTIALIST
assumptions, what will you examine and assess them with? And the answer is that you will Michael Wickham. Professor at Murdoch University in Australia, TOWARD A
examine and assess them with forms of thought that themselves rest on underlying CRITIQUE OF FOUCAULT, 1986, p.149.
assumptions. At any level, the tools of rational analysis will be vulnerable to the very A non-essentialist analysis treats its objects in terms of its specificity, its particular
deconstruction they claim to perform. You can never go deep enough, for no matter how conditions of existence, without reference to an eternal external essence. In this way a
deep you go, you will find reasons whose perspicuity is a function of just those non-essentialist analysis allows a far more thorough understanding of its object as it is not
factors-institutional history, personal education, political and religious affiliation--from restricted to considerations in terms of an essence. An essentialist analysis. on the other
which Reason supposedly stands apart. hand, is bound by such restrictions-it must ignore or marginalize those aspects of the object
being maintained But an essentialist analysis is not only analytically debilitating, it is also
AKH0004 CERTAIN ASSUMPTIONS SHOULD NOT BE QUESTIONED politically debilitating. Essentialism means that strategies and tactics developed to achieve
Amitai Etzioni, GW govt prof, THE SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY, 1993, p.24. policy objectives must be limited to considerations only in terms of the essence maintained
We need to return to a society in which certain actions are viewed as beyond the pale, and not in terms of the specific conditions of existence of the policy concerned.
things that upright people would not do or even consider: to walk out on their children, file
false insurance claims, cheat on tests, empty the savings accounts of others, or force sexual AKH0010 MEANINGFUL DISCOURSE CAN ONLY OCCUR WITHIN THE
advances on unwilling employees. We also need to return to a state in which there are a LANGUAGE OF A PARTICULAR ACTIVITY
fair number of positive compelling commitments-the dos rather than the don'ts-that are Stanley Fish, Duke English and Law prof, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FREE
beyond debate and dispute. When a sick child cries at night, a parent rushes to help. There SPEECH, 1994, p.23.
is no need to consult clergy or a book by Kant to determine what one's duty is under such Since the features of the legal (or any other) landscape come into view by virtue of the
clear, elementary conditions. This is what Tocqueville and Communitarian sociologist descriptive terms certified practitioners unreflectively employ, the removal of those terms
Robert Bellah mean by "habits of the heart": values that command our support because will not clean up that landscape but depopulate it, or repopulate it with the terms, and
they are morally compelling. therefore with the entities, of some other enterprise. Insofar as you value the job being
done by a particular enterprise-be it law, literary criticism, or anything else-it behooves
AKH0005 DEMOCRACY REQUIRES EFFECTIVE DEBATE you to retain and strengthen the vocabulary that marks its distinctiveness; for you can not
Christopher Lasch, Professor of History, University of Rochester, THE REVOLT OF THE get rid of the vocabulary without depriving yourself of the resources (including resources
ELITES, 1995, p.162-3. of action) it makes available.
What democracy requires is vigorous public debate, not information. Of course, it needs
information too, but the kind of information it needs can be generated only by debate. We AKH0011 MEANINGFUL ARGUMENT REQUIRES A SHARED DISCURSIVE
do not know what we need to know until we ask the right questions, and we can identify SYSTEM
the right questions only by subjecting our own ideas about the world to the test of public Stanley Fish, Duke English and Law prof, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS FREE
controversy. Information, usually seen as the precondition of debate, is better understood SPEECH, 1994, p.136.
as its byproduct. When we get into arguments that focus and fully engage our attention, It follows then that persons embedded within different discursive systems will not be able
we become avid seekers of relevant information. Otherwise we take in information to hear the other's reasons as reasons, but only as errors or even delusions. This, I think,
passively- if we take it in at all. is Carter's point when he observes that "to the devout fundamentalist . . . evolutionary
theory is not simply contrary to religious teachings; . . . it is demonstrably false." I take the
AKH0006 THE KRITIK THREATENS PRODUCTIVE RELATIONS OF SCIENCE stress on the word demonstrably to mean that Carter understands fully that the clash
AND SOCIETY between liberals and fundamentalists is a clash between two faiths, or if you prefer (and
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and it is my thesis that these two formulations are interchangeable) between two ways of
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.4. thinking undergirded by incompatible first principles, empirical verification and biblical
The danger for the moment at least, is not to science itself. What is threatened is the inerrancy.
capability of the larger culture, which embraces the mass media as well as the more serious
processes of education, to interact fruitfully with the sciences, to draw insight from
scientific advances, and, above all, to evaluate science intelligently. To the extent that the
academic left's critique becomes the dominant mode of thinking about science on the part
of nonscientists, that thinking will be distorted and dangerously irrelevant.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 2
AKH0012 PERSUASIVE ARGUMENT REQUIRES A DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE AKH0019 KRITIK WITHOUT ALTERNATIVE PRODUCES SOCIAL ANARCHY
Stanley Fish, Duke English and Law prof, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS FREE Amitai Etzioni, GW govt prof, THE SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY, 1993, p.24.
SPEECH, 1994, p.27. The problem is that the waning of traditional values was not followed by a solid
Although the New Historicist polemic emphasizes the virtue of hard archival work, New affirmation of new values; often nothing filled the empty spaces that were left when we
Historicist assumptions permit interpreters to get away with doing almost no work at all razed existing institutions. The result is rampant moral confusion and social anarchy.
of the kind that would result in persuasive arguments as opposed to discrete, ad hoc
speculations. Persuasive arguments are arguments that can be seen as advancing a project AKH0020 WE NOW NEED MORAL RECONSTRUCTION, NOT JUST
whose goals are clearly articulated. Persuasive arguments are disciplinary arguments. DESTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
Amitai Etzioni, GW govt prof, THE SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY, 1993, p.12.
AKH0013 MEANINGFUL CRITIQUE CAN ONLY FUNCTION WITHIN A FORM OF Since the early sixties many of our moral traditions, social values, and institutions have
DISCOURSE been challenged, often for valid reasons. The end result is that we live in a state of
Margaret Radin and Frank Michelman, Professors of Law, Stanford and Harvard, increasing moral confusion and social anarchy. Once we were quite clear about what
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW REVIEW, 1991, p.1043. young couples were supposed to do-and refrain from doing-even if many of them did not
Concepts are distinguishable by us only relative to discourses in which we participate (and fully live up to these expectations. The trouble now is not that the traditional family was
which participate in us); there is no discourse we can deconstruct except our own discourse undermined; it did deserve a critical going-over. The trouble is that no new concept of the
in use at the moment. But there is no discourse in use except colloquially, by people family-of responsibility to children, of intimacy, and of commitment to one another-has
sharing some particular form of life So the poststructuralist critic is limited to detailed emerged to replace the traditional form. (The fate of two books by Betty Friedan illustrates
observation, from within a form of life, of practices embedded in that form of life. the difference: The Feminine Mystique, which was critical of the traditional family, was
all the rage in the 1960s and early 1970s. Her second book, The Second Stage, published
AKH0014 ARGUMENTS HAVE RELEVANCE ONLY WITHIN SPECIFIC SPHERES in 1981, which advocated the restructuring of the family, fell on deaf ears.) Moral
OF DISCOURSE transitions often work this way: destruction comes quickly. A vacuum prevails.
YALE LAW JOURNAL, 1986, p.979. Reconstruction is slow. This is where we are now: it is time to reconstruct, in the full sense
Habems posits that the objective, social, and subjective spheres which constitute our of the term-not to return to the traditional, but to return to a moral affirmation,
worlds all consist of understandings negotiated according to "communicative rationality," reconstructed but firmly held.
a process procedurally similar in each case Yet each sphere has a specific rationality that
is substantively distinct, because the standard according to which clams in each sphere are AKH0021 KRITIK ISN'T ENOUGH EVEN IN THEORY
evaluated varies. In the objective realm, where subject confronts object (e.g., scientific or Ken Kress, University of Iowa Professor of Law, CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW, 1989,
empirical investigation), Claims are made to truth or success. In the subjective realm, p.320.
where subject expresses experiences (e.g., aesthetic expression), Claims are to sincerity. But critique is not enough. All legal systems and all legal theories are flawed. We are, after
And in the social realm, where subject interacts with subject (e.g., moral theory, law), all, humans, not gods. Legal argument is comparative, and so is theory, We decide which
claims are to rightness. theory to believe by provisionally accepting that theory which has the best overall
combination of virtues and vices. It is therefore incumbent on critical scholars to present
AKH0015 COMMON LANGUAGE IS NECESSARY FOR DIALOGUE not only critiques. but also alternatives preferable to the doctrine and theories they critique.
Diane Michelfelder and Richard Palmer, MacMurray College, DIALOGUE AND (Some critical scholars are now vigorously making that attempt). Otherwise, critical
DECONSTRUCTION, 1989, p.6. scholars give us no cause to change our beliefs or our actions.
In Truth and Method Gadamer asserts that without this common language, partners in a
conversation would talk at cross purposes and fail to make any headway toward mutual AKH0022 CRITIQUE DOESN'T RECOGNIZE THE IMPERFECTION OF ALL
understanding (WM 360/341). His remark in "Destruktion and Deconstuction"-that when SOLUTIONS
a dialogue starts out in two different languages, there comes a time when those speaking Congressman Barney Frank, THE NEED FOR U.S. HEALTH REFORM: UNINSURED
have to switch to one language for the conversation to advance echoes this point. AND CHRONICALLY ILL AMERICANS, SuDoc#Y4.AG4/2:Un3/5 Feb 6, 1992, p.16.
What we have to understand, however, when we design a solution is, and its a rule that is
AKH0016 REJECTING THE LANGUAGE OF A CERTAIN FIELD PRODUCES too often ignored, when you are dealing with a very difficult problem that is going to leave
MISUNDERSTANDING AND BACKLASH its earmarks on the solution No solution can be by some order of magnitude more elegant
YALE LAW JOURNAL, 1986, p.988. than the problem at which it is aimed, and it will be a mistake to critique every solution
Whether the judge wants to change or to conserve the language of power spoken by a because it is not going to be perfect. We have let the situation go on too long.
society, he or she will use it to communicate. It is a common tongue that evokes agreement
and produces effect, while alien approaches provoke misunderstanding, ridicule, reversal, AKH0023 SIMPLE REJECTION IS INTELLECTUALLY VACUOUS
official censure, widespread noncompliance, or lack of support from other branches. John Ellis, Professor of German, University of California-Santa Cruz, AGAINST
Indeed the judge is not chosen, in either a hierarchical polity or an egalitarian one, unless DECONSTRUCTION, 1989, p.82.
he or she has demonstrated a "know-how" of the current legal medium and a level of Ultimately, then, the position that the traditional and obvious must be systematically
commitment to it. opposed and deconstructed is vacuous; it is not really a position in critical theory at all, for
it tells us nothing about original thinking in criticism and where it may lead us. Logically,
AKH0017 RADICAL CRITIQUES END IN SUPPORT FOR TOTALITARIANISM it seems to me on a par with the slogan of the younger generation in the 1960S: "Don't trust
Berman, NYU Institute for the Humanities, DEBATING P.C., 1992, p.9-10. anyone over thirty!" Both advocate an indiscriminate response to authority that lacks
The many dazzlements of '68 Philosophy were never any use in addressing mundane reflectiveness or discrimination. (To be fair, the younger generation of the sixties never
questions like these. The great god of the Paris thinkers was Heidegger, who was second thought of this as a positive program in its own right, and it was busy thinking up
to none in holding Western rationalism and humanism responsible for all the unhappiness alternative views of war and society that had their own logic.)
of modern life and for hinting at millenarian alternatives. But the alternative he ended up
embracing was the Nazism of Adolf Hitler. Of course, the Paris ultra-radicals who imbibed AKH0024 MERE CRITICISM IS TRIVIAL)ALTERNATIVES ARE WHAT MATTER
the theories of '68 Philosophy were anything but right wing. Yet there was nothing in their John Ellis, Professor of German, University of California-Santa Cruz, AGAINST
leftism to prevent a substantial number of them from tilting to an opposite extreme and DECONSTRUCTION, 1989, p.105.
celebrating dictators like Mao Zedong, so long as the horrors of liberal civilization were No one will object to the view that all traditional, conventional views should be given
being opposed. For the whole point of postmodern theorizing was, after all, to adopt close scrutiny-though, to be sure, one might object to the assertion that an interpretation
positions that were so far out, so wild, as to blow your mind. can be dismissed or declared incomplete simply because it is traditional. The real objection
here is surely that it is just too easy to express a generalized scorn for all received opinion:
AKH0018 DECONSTRUCTION LEADS TO NIHILISM much more valuable is the hard work of finding out what is wrong with a particular
Irving Howe, literary and social critic, DEBATING P.C., Paul Berman ed, 1992, p.157-8. received view and thinking up a better one.
As for the French theorizing-metacritical, quasi-philosophical, and at times of a stupefying
verbal opacity-it has provided a buttress for the academic insurgents. We are living at a
time when all the once-regnant world systems that have sustained (also distorted) Western
intellectual life, from theologies to ideologies, are taken to be in severe collapse. This leads
to a mood of skepticism, an agnosticism of judgment, sometimes a world-weary nihilism
in which even the most conventional minds begin to question both distinctions of value
and the value of distinctions.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 3
AKH0025 SIMPLE QUESTIONING IS INTELLECTUALLY WORTHLESS AKH0030 EFFECTIVE CRITICISM REQUIRES AN ALTERNATIVE
John Ellis, Professor of German, University of California-Santa Cruz, AGAINST Brian Barry, Professor of Political Science, London School of Economics, PHILOSOPHY
DECONSTRUCTION, 1989, p.95-6. AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, Fall 1990, p.363-4.
Imagine a conference on cancer research at which the general sense is that recent research All criticism)as opposed to lamentation)presupposes that it is possible for things to be
is going nowhere. A deconstructionist rises to tell the conference that it must look at better than they are now as a result of human action(CC pp.17-18). I think that Walzer
hitherto marginalized, thus neglected, ideas. A researcher, intrigued by the possibility of skews his analysis by taking as his paradigmatic social critic the prophet Amos. (He is the
a new idea, asks what specific suggestion or suggestions the deconstructionist has in mind. major figure in the last third of ISC, and reappears at key points in CC.) For the burden of
But the deconstructionist replies only that the field must question its concept of what is Amos's complaint is that the Jews (and in particular the rich) are failing to live up to the
central to cancer research. Evidently, replies the researcher, but just what aspect of the precepts of the Covenant-failing, for example, to return to their owners each night clothes
current consensus on centrality is the problem, and which of the thousands of currently given in pledge (ISC, pp.81-82). Charles Dickens was a critic of this kind: avarice was for
neglected chemical possibilities is the one that the deconstructionist is recommending? If him, too, the root of evil. As George Orwell observed, Dickens's solution was that
now the deconstructionist replies that he is recommending a general strategy not a concrete businessmen should model themselves on (post-spirit) Scrooge and the Cheeryble brothers.
proposal, the audience will conclude, correctly, that he has nothing to say after all. For This is no doubt to be counted as social criticism of a sort, but typical social critics of the
what he has just said is rather like saying, "Have a good new idea." That is not even a left in this century (including those on Walzer's list) have rejected as naive the formula of
strategy for finding new ideas, much less a new idea in itself. social reform constituted by individual reform. A critic of institutions as distinct from a
critic of conduct, must surely have a social theory in order to explain why the reforms that
AKH0026 KRITIK WITHOUT ALTERNATIVES PRODUCES POLITICAL he proposes will deal with the complaints that he articulates. Thus, for example, Orwell
OPPRESSION had a theory (at any rate from, say, the late 1930s to the mid-1940s) to the effect that a
Louis Schwartz, UC-Hastings Law Prof, STANFORD LAW REVIEW, 1984, p.414. capitalist economy was hopelessly inefficient compared with a socialist economy, and that
The pieces exhibited that species of irresponsibility that denounces the political status quo the abolition of private education would have beneficial effects on the class system. This
without considering available alternatives; Churchill's aphorism that "[d]emocracy is the theory may have been a good one or a bad one, but it was, I suggest, the belief that he
worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to knew of a better way that made Orwell a critic rather than a mere grouser.
time" apparently left no impression on these writers. Moreover, these writers were
contemptuous of "compromise" and "balancing,"-- and often explicitly advocated violent AKH0031 CONTEMPORARY "THEORY" UNDERMINES TRUE SOCIAL CRITICISM
solutions to political differences. They were receptive to paternalistic coercion to override Christopher Lasch, Professor of History, University of Rochester, THE REVOLT OF THE
the stated preferences of real human beings on the ground that those tastes had been ELITES, 1995, p.193.
corrupted by the 'system." Grotesque proposals were frequently advanced without "Theory" is no substitute for social criticism, the one form of intellectual activity that
pragmatic basis or sensitivity to institutional issues. would seriously threaten the status quo and the one form that has no academic cachet at all.
Social criticism that addressed the real issue in higher education today-the university's
AKH0027 NOT MOVING BEYOND CRITICISM MEANS POLITICAL FAILURE assimilation into the corporate order and the emergence of a knowledge class whose
Catharine MacKinnon, Professor of Law, University of Michigan, TOWARD A ''subversive" activities do not seriously threaten any vested interest-would be a welcome
FEMINIST THEORY OF THE STATE, 1989, p.241. addition to contemporary discourse. For obvious reasons, however, this kind of discourse
Failure to move beyond criticism, a failure of determinism and radical paralysis, is failure is unlikely to get much encouragement either from the academic left or from its critics on
of feminism in its left forms. the right.

AKH0028 CRITICISM WITHOUT ALTERNATIVE UNDERMINES REAL PROGRESS AKH0032 THE KRITIK EMBODIES DEBILITATING SKEPTICISM
John Ellis, Professor of German, University of California-Santa Cruz, AGAINST David Caudill, University of Texas Adjunct Law Professor, IOWA LAW REVIEW, 1987,
DECONSTRUCTION, 1989, p.91-2. p.287.
As a program for criticism, then, this version of deconstructive criticism is vacuous in Yet the prospect of CLS ending in skepticism is nevertheless at hand. "By arguing that
theory and counterproductive in practice. To oppose a particular tradition or viewpoint decisionmaking is not grounded on objective criteria and denying the impossibility of
with a particular alternative program is to set out a real position; but to announce simply 'liberal' theory's capacity to formulate objective criteria, democratic radicals have produced
an indiscriminate and unspecified opposition to any tradition in general and none in a critique that cannot be distinguished from that of the complete skeptic...Once skeptics
particular, with no particular alternative in mind in any given case, is not to take a position finish announcing the impossibility of making rational choices or of finding truth about
at all but only to gain rather too easily acquired feelings of iconoclastic superiority. anything, they recognize that they themselves must make choices and must proceed upon
Thinking about real problems is thus circumvented. assumptions of reality...Skepticism is a philosophy of talk and not of life. Skeptics are
walking contradictions: they have to be...[Further, if] no human process can avoid
AKH0029 THE PROPER METHOD OF CRITIQUE INVOLVES COMPARISON subjective decisionmaking, it seems absurd to indict a process as illegitimate merely
Karl Popper, Professor of Philosophy, University of London, THE ABDICATION OF because it does not avoid subjectivity.
PHILOSOPHY, Eugene Freeman, ed., 1976, p.46.
We thus can logically distinguish between a mistaken method of criticizing and a correct AKH0033 NIHILISTIC KRITIK IS A WORSE CURE THAN ANY CULTURE ILLNESS
method of criticizing. The mistaken method starts from the question: how can we establish J.G. Merquior, King's College, London, FROM PRAGUE TO PARIS, 1986, p.242.
or justify our thesis or our theory? It thereby leads either to dogmatism; or to an infinite But although Megill is shrewd enough to realize that 'the problem with the crisis notion is
regress; or to the relativistic doctrine of rationally incommensurable frameworks. By that it can only speak in vague generalities'-which is music to our ears-he actually
contrast, the correct method of critical discussion starts from the question: what are the swallows a great deal of the Kulturkrisis myth and does not see that Derrida's nihilistic
consequences of our thesis or our theory? Are they all acceptable to us? Thus it consists equivocations, including his underrating of crisis theory itself, are a cure still worse than
in comparing the consequences of different theories (or, if you like, of different the illness. Briefly, Megill's able characterization of crisis thinking as aestheticism falls
frameworks) and tries to find out which of the competing theories or frameworks has short of the crucial critical step: it balks before the acknowledgement that the
consequences that seem preferable to us. It is thus conscious of the fallibility of all our Kulturkritik-be it 'prophetic' (Heidegger), rebel-like (Foucault) or cynical-ironic (Derrida)
methods, and it tries to replace all our theories by better ones. This is, admittedly, a -is not a mimetic but a productive concept, a theory that begets its own object and then lays
difficult task, but by no means an impossible one. it in a humanist mind only too eager to hatch it, as an insignia of its self-important wisdom.
Post-structuralist thought marks the ultimate intellectual decay of this vacuous ideological
posturing; and within it, deconstruction, the tame pseudo-Nietzscheanism of academe, is
a gloomy histrionics passing for theoretical insight.

AKH0034 ALL INQUIRY MUST MAKE ASSUMPTIONS


Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.135.
It is a truism that every inquiry, whether in history or the natural sciences, must proceed
by taking something for granted. But this does not mean that in every inquiry we take the
same assumption for granted. What we leave unquestioned in one context we can very well
question in another.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 4
AKH0035 TO BE MEANINGFUL, A CRITIQUE MUST BE POSSIBLE TO LIVE BY AKH0042 PUBLIC IGNORANCE IS DUE TO THE DECLINE OF PUBLIC DEBATE
Frederich Nietzsche, German philosopher, UNTIMELY MEDIATIONS, (Cambridge U. Christopher Lasch, Professor of History, University of Rochester, THE REVOLT OF THE
Press),1873, p.187. ELITES, 1995, p.162.
The only critique of a philosophy that is possible and that proves something, namely trying As for the claim that the information revolution would raise the level of public intelligence,
to see whether one can live in accordance with it, has never been taught at universities: all it is no secret that the public knows less about public affairs than it used to know. Millions
that has ever been taught is a critique of words by means of other words. of Americans cannot begin to tell you what is in the Bill of Rights, what Congress does,
what the Constitution says about the powers of the presidency, how the party system
AKH0036 A GOOD LIFE REQUIRES AN UNCRITICAL SET OF BELIEFS emerged or how it operates. A sizable majority, according to a recent survey, believe that
Francis Fukuyama, Rand, THE END OF HISTORY AND THE LAST MAN, 1992, p.306. Israel is an Arab nation. Instead of blaming the schools for this disheartening ignorance
For according to Nietzsche, a living thing cannot be healthy, strong, or productive except of public affairs, as is the custom, we should look elsewhere for a fuller explanation,
by living within a certain horizon, that is, a set of values and beliefs that are accepted bearing in mind that people readily acquire such knowledge as they can put to good use.
absolutely and uncritically. "No artist will paint his picture, no general win his victory, no Since the public no longer participates in debates on national issues, it has no reason to
nation gain its freedom," without such a horizon, without loving the work that they do inform itself about civic affairs. It is the decay of public debate, not the school system (bad
"infinitely more than it deserves to be loved." as it is), that makes the public ill informed, notwithstanding the wonders of the age of
information. When debate becomes a lost art, information, even though it may be readily
AKH0037 INTELLECTUAL INQUIRY LEGITIMATELY MAKES UNSTATED available, makes no impression.
ASSUMPTIONS
Isaiah Berlin, Professor of Social and Political Theory, Oxford, FOUR ESSAYS ON AKH0043 REASONED DEBATE IS NEEDED TO FORM KNOWLEDGE
LIBERTY, 1969, p.92. Christopher Lasch, Professor of History, University of Rochester, THE REVOLT OF THE
If I am an historian and wish to explain the causes of the great French Revolution, I ELITES, 1995, p.170.
naturally assume or take for granted certain general propositions. Thus I assume that all Arguments were what took place in the absence of reliable information. Lippmann had
the ordinarily accepted physical laws of the external world apply. I also assume that all or forgotten what he learned (or should have learned) from William James and John Dewey:
most men need and consciously seek food, clothing, shelter, some degree of protection for that our search for reliable information is itself guided by the questions that arise during
their persons, and facilities for getting their grievances listened to or redressed. arguments about a given course of action. It is only by subjecting our preferences and
projects to the test of debate that we come to understand what we know and what we still
AKH0038 ALL KNOWLEDGE MUST BEGIN WITH ASSUMPTIONS need to learn. Until we have to defend our opinions in public, they remain opinions in
Bertrand Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge, THE PROBLEMS OF Lippmann's pejorative sense-half-formed convictions based on random impressions and
PHILOSOPHY, 1912, p.150. unexamined assumptions. It is the act of articulating and defending our views that lifts
When, however, we speak of philosophy as a criticism of knowledge, it is necessary to them out of the category of "opinions," gives them shape and definition, and makes it
impose a certain limitation. If we adopt the attitude of the complete skeptic, placing possible for others to recognize them as a description of their own experience as well. In
ourselves wholly outside all knowledge, and asking, from this outside position, to be short, we come to know our own minds only by explaining ourselves to others.
compelled to return within the circle of knowledge, we are demanding what is impossible,
and our skepticism can never be refuted. For all refutation must begin with some piece of AKH0044 DEBATE ENHANCES DEMOCRACY
knowledge which the disputants share; from blank doubt, no argument can begin. Hence Jerry Anderson and Paul Dovre, Michigan State and Concordia College, READINGS IN
the criticism of knowledge which philosophy employs must not be of this destructive kind, ARGUMENTATION, 1968, p.55.
if any result is to be achieved. Against this absolute skepticism, no logical argument can Whereas Lippmann relates debate to freedom of speech in a democracy and Ehninger
be advanced. But it is not difficult to see that skepticism of this kind is unreasonable. speaks of the ideal objectives and method of debate, Mills attempts to relate debate to the
broad spectrum of political ideals and forces. He develops the view that debate reinforces
AKH0039 NOT ALL ASSUMPTIONS NEED TO BE JUSTIFIED; SOME ARE democratic values and mitigates the forces which naturally tend to erode those values.
AXIOMATIC Professor Mills begins by identifying the ideals of democracy, then enumerates some of
Ronald Dworkin, Oxford professor of Jurisprudence, MORALITY AND THE LAW, the forces which may undermine these ideals, and finally indicates the role of
Richard Wasserstrom, ed.,1971, p.65. argumentation in securing the ideals.
But do I really have to have a reason to make my position a matter of moral conviction?
Most men think that acts which cause unnecessary suffering, or break a serious promise AKH0045 DEMOCRACY DEPENDS ON PUBLIC ADVOCACY SKILLS
with no excuse, are immoral, and yet they could give no reason for these beliefs. They feel Jerry Anderson and Paul Dovre, Michigan State and Concordia College, READINGS IN
that no reason is necessary because they take it as axiomatic or self-evident that these are ARGUMENTATION, 1968, p.xiii.
immoral acts. It seems contrary to common sense to deny that a position held in this way The continuing strength of a democratic society depends on a public forum of competing
can be a moral position. arguments by informed, responsible, and skilled citizen-advocates. This is especially true
today in an era when our world and nation are challenged by a greater number, complexity,
AKH0040 THE PHILOSOPHICAL KRITIK OF ASSUMPTIONS IS IRRELEVANT TO and scope of social issues; when we are bombarded from all sides by a smoke screen of
PRACTICAL AFFAIRS mass persuasion; and when the amount of knowledge and information accessible to us
Louis Schwartz, UC-Hastings Law Professor. STANFORD LAW REVIEW, 1984, p.413. burgeons daily. The study of argumentation is based on the premises that thoughtful
It is we that jurisprudential scholars are under no moral obligation to pass for practical deliberation, intensive research, rational analysis, and the testing of ideas through reasoned
politicians. A philosopher may legitimately restrict his inquiry to questions such as those discourse provides a vital means of conflict resolution and decision making; and that the
concerning the assumptions that underlie particular systems of thought or the student who firmly grasps principles of argumentation theory is best equipped to become
inconsistencies or logical flaws in the systems put forward on the basis of those a responsible and competent practitioner of argumentative discourse.
assumptions, The philosopher certainly may also develop a system of thought and indicate
the anticipated practical consequence of adopting that system, without proffering a draft AKH0046 POLICY DEBATE IS INTEGRAL TO FREE SOCIETY
of a statute to carry out these views, which in any event have up to this point solely the Jerry Anderson and Paul Dovre, Michigan State and Concordia College, READINGS IN
merit of consistency with postulated premises. The philosopher becomes vulnerable only ARGUMENTATION, 1968, p.53.
when he leaves the self-contained and assumption-bounded world of theory and assumes "Give the people the facts and freedom to discuss and all will go well" was a favorite
the role of leader in practical affairs. aphorism of the late Wisconsin Senator and leader of the Progressive Party, Robert M.
LaFollette, Sr. Political practitioners and theorists long before and after LaFollette have
AKH0041 DEMOCRACY REQUIRES DEBATE maintained that applied argumentation, debate, is integral to a free society.
Christopher Lasch, Professor of History, University of Rochester, THE REVOLT OF THE
ELITES, 1995, p.171. AKH0047 PUBLIC OPINION SUCCESSFULLY INFLUENCES GOVERNMENT
If we insist on argument as the essence of education, we will defend democracy not as the Russell Windes and Arthur Hastings, Professors of Speech, Queens College and Stanford,
most efficient but as the most educational form of government, one that extends the circle ARGUMENTATION AND ADVOCACY, 1965, p.8.
of debate as widely as possible and thus forces all citizens to articulate their views, to put Lord Bryce termed public opinion "the great source of power, the master of servants who
their views at risk, and to cultivate the virtues of eloquence, clarity of thought and tremble before it." Government by public opinion exists, Bryce wrote, "where the wishes
expression, and sound judgment. As Lippmann noted, small communities are the classic and views of the people prevail, even before they have been conveyed through the regular
locus of democracy-not because they are "self-contained, " however, but simply because law-appointed organs. . . ." Through public opinion the "national will shall be most fully
they allow everyone to take part in public debates. Instead of dismissing direct democracy expressed, most quickly known, most unresistingly and cheerfully obeyed." What is the
as irrelevant to modern conditions, we need to recreate it on a large scale. From this point power that makes public opinion such a potent force? Why do public officials obey the
of view the press serves as the equivalent of the town meeting. dictates of public opinion so eagerly once they have learned its meaning? Public opinion
has influence because it has behind it both the authority of the vote and the so-called
voting threat.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 5
AKH0048 INFORMED KNOWLEDGE IS KEY TO BENEFICIAL EXERCISE OF AKH0054 MEANINGFUL DISCOURSE REQUIRES REGULATION OF SPEECH
PUBLIC OPINION Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH
Russell Windes and Arthur Hastings, Professors of Speech, Queens College and Stanford, THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.129-30.
ARGUMENTATION AND ADVOCACY, 1965, p.17. If we keep in mind that regulation of speech is constitutive of meaningful discourse, we
Even if people should concern themselves over a public controversy, that concern alone will not regard proposals for regulation as anomalous but receive them as suggested
is not sufficient. Along with concern goes the responsibility of making oneself modifications of a condition --the condition of productive restraint--that has always
knowledgeable, of making oneself qualified to examine various alternatives to the solution obtained. In this light the question: 'Should hate speech be regulated?' will lose much of
of a problem in order to arrive at positions on those alternatives. If public opinion is not its sexiness, for it will no longer be heard as an extraordinary question provoked by
based on thorough analysis of an issue and the support of a resulting position through extraordinary circumstances, as a limit case that tests the resources of philosophy; rather
evidence and reasoning, then that opinion may be not only worthless but pernicious it will be heard as a perfectly ordinary question, no more or less difficult that the question
Witch-hunting in the seventeenth century represented a certain public opinion, opinion of whether spectators at a trial can applaud or boo the statements of opposing counsels.
based on false information and indefensible analysis. Witch-hunting still exists. And how would I answer the question? I would say, 'It depends,' an answer that may be
philosophically unsatisfying but one that is responsive to the messy contingency of a world
AKH0049 INFORMED PUBLIC DEBATE IS KEY TO FREE INSTITUTIONS that defies the neatness of philosophical formulations.
Christopher Lasch, Professor of History, University of Rochester, THE REVOLT OF THE
ELITES, 1995, p.21. AKH0055 MOST FREE SPEECH DEFENSES ARE UNREFLECTIVE IDEOLOGY
We have already seen that the survival of free institutions depends on the opportunity and Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH
the ability of sovereign people to make responsible decisions in social matters. We have THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.13.
observed that opportunity and ability depend on the constitutional guarantees of a free Recently Frederick Schauer, a noted First Amendment scholar, said the unsayable when
marketplace, as well as the concern free people demonstrate in public affairs and their he suggested that standard free-speech arguments have all the earmarks of an ideology
willingness to knowledgeably participate in the decision-making process. because it is assumed in the society that counterarguments are dangerous and must be
rejected by all right thinking persons. There is, observes, Schauer, 'little free inquiry about
AKH0050 INTELLECTUAL PROGRESS IS POSSIBLE THROUGH ARGUMENT free inquiry and little free speech about free speech' in the current climate. It is a paradox
John Ellis, Professor of German, University of California-Santa Cruz, AGAINST that an orthodox of tolerance is intolerant of those 'who have less protective rather than
DECONSTRUCTION, 1989, p.128. more protective views about freedom of speech.'
In the real world in which we live, progress in all fields occurs through the clash of
different views and of conflicting opinions. In that clash, views do not simply persevere AKH0056 APPEALS TO FREE SPEECH ARE ESSENTIALLY RHETORICAL PLOYS
unaltered; the world does not consist of individuals stubbornly clinging to their first Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH
thoughts and not talking to others. On the contrary, individuals present their views for THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.16.
discussion by others, and there is modification, alteration, even abandonment of ideas in The First Amendment is not a self-declaring statement and will assume the form given to
the process of discussion. Some views are persuasive and grow in influence; others do not it by powerful and authoritative interpreters. And the moral that follows from that one is
persuade and are forgotten. The development of knowledge is a social process argument that the First Amendment does not in and of itself (finally a meaningless phrase) direct a
between differing individuals counts for a great deal in this process. politics but will display the political 'spin' of whatever group has its hand on the
interpretive machinery. 'Free speech' is thus just like 'fairness' and 'merit'--rather than a
AKH0051 ANY KRITIK OF WESTERN VALUES ULTIMATELY ATTACKS concept that sits above the fray, monitoring its progress and keeping the combatants
SCIENCE honest, it is right there in the middle of the fray, an object of contest that will enable those
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and who capture it to parade their virtue at the easy expense of their opponents: we're for
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.5-6. fairness and you are for biased judgment; we're heir opponents: we're for fairness and you
On the other hand, science, together with its immediate realization as technology, is-as are for biased judgment; we're for merit and you are for special interests; we're for
much as anything can be-the single aspect of Western thought and social practice that objectivity and you are playing politics; we're for free speech and you are for censorship
defines the Western outlook and accounts for its special position in the world. and ideological tyranny. It is a wonderful (not here a word of approbation) strategy, and
Non-Western societies-Japan, to take the obvious example-can simultaneously succeed and if it is pursued as successfully as it has been in recent years by the neoconservatives, the
maintain their identities only to the degree that they naturalize the science and technology result is to place the opposition in the difficult position of having not only to respond to
of Western culture. Consequently, if one is predisposed to regard that Western position of arguments but to dispute the very vocabulary in which the issues have come to be framed,
privilege as wicked, for its prejudices and for its history of conquest, then one will a vocabulary which, because it occupies the rhetorical high ground, stigmatizes
inevitably regard Western science with suspicion and perhaps with contempt. Sooner or counterarguments...
later any critique of Western values aspiring to be comprehensive must offer an analysis
of natural science, preferably scathing. AKH0057 WHETHER SPEECH SHOULD BE REGULATED DEPENDS ON THE
SITUATION
AKH0052 FREE SPEECH ONLY HAS VALUE AGAINST BACKGROUND OF Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH
UNPERMITTED SPEECH THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.111.
Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH In saying this, I would not be heard as arguing either for or against regulation and speech
THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.103-4. codes as a matter of general principle. Instead my argument turns away from general
I want to say that all affirmations of freedom of expression are like Milton's, dependent for principle to the pragmatic (anti)principle of considering each situation as it emerges. The
their force of an exception that literally carves out the space in which expression can then question of whether or not to regulate will be a local one, and we can not rely on
emerge. I do not mean that expression (saying something) is a realm whose integrity is abstractions that are either empty of content or filled with the content of some partisan
sometimes compromised by certain restrictions but that restriction in the form of an courses of action. In the course of this consideration many things will be of help, but
underlying articulation of the world that necessarily (if silently) negates alternatively among them will not be phrases like 'freedom of speech' or 'the right of individual
possible articulations, is constitutive of expression. Without restrictions, without an inbuilt expression,' because, as they are used now, these phrases tend to obscure rather than clarify
sense of what it would be meaningless to say or wrong to say, there could be no assertion our dilemmas. Once they are deprived of their talismanic force, once it is no longer
and no reason for asserting it. The exception to unregulated expression is not a negative strategically effective simply to invoke them in the act of walking away from a problem,
restriction but a positive hollowing out of value--we are for this, which means we are the conversation could continue in directions that are now blocked by a First Amendment
against that--in relation to which meaningful assertion can then occur. It is in reference to absolutism that has only been honored in the breach anyway.
that value-- constituted as all values are by an act of exclusion--that some forms of speech
will be heard as (quite literally) intolerable. AKH0058 THE VALUE OF THE FREE SPEECH INTEREST VARIES WITH THE
SITUATION
AKH0053 WE SHOULD SUPPRESS SPEECH COUNTER TO CONSTITUTIONAL Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH
VALUES THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.129.
Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH The Florida case allows us to see exactly what balancing means. It means that the value of
THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.123-4. the 'free-speech' interest, which is a real interest, will vary with the underlying purpose for
It may sound paradoxical but the First Amendment has a positive claim on us only if we which some social space has been organized. It is only in the most peculiar and eccentric
understand it to be self-qualifying; you will not abridge speech that is supportive of the of social spaces, like a Hyde Park corner, where the production of speech has no purpose
values in the name of which we have joined together. Regulation of other forms of other than itself that absolute toleration will make sense, and it is one of the oddities of
speech-- speech either irrelevant to the maintenance of those values of subversive of 'official' First Amendment rhetoric that such peculiar spaces are put forward as the norm.
them--should not be regarded as an exception to the amendment but as a fulfillment of its
mandate.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 6
AKH0059 THE SLIPPERY SLOPE IS TOTALLY NON-UNIQUE AKH0064 TOO MUCH SUSCEPTIBILITY TO "NEW IDEAS" LEADS TO
Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH ABSURDITIES
THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.111. Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
And when someone warns about the slippery slope and predicts mournfully that if you Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.224.
restrict one form of speech, you never know what will be restricted next, one could reply, We put it forward as a general rule that the indulgence of one kind of heterodoxy betokens
'Some form of speech is always being restricted, else there could be no meaningful a further susceptibility to eccentric or highly speculative ideas. In the eighteenth century,
assertion; we have always and already slid down the slippery slope someone is always for instance, the nascent political radicalism of groups such as the Freemasons was often
going to be restricted next, and it is your job to make sure that they someone is not you.' associated with esoteric magical doctrine; historical figures like Cagliostro and the
Illuminati attest to this. Earlier in this century, radical intellectuals, their patrons and
AKH0060 SLIDES DOWN SLIPPERY SLOPES ARE ALWAYS HALTED sympathizers, mingled with theosophists, spiritualists, Jungians, and the like. A
Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH predilection for the unconventional almost always reigns among rebellious spirits.
THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.130.
But the slippery slope argument is another one of those exercises in abstract reasoning that AKH0065 THE KRITIK IS RADICALISM WITHOUT RISK
imagines a worse-case scenario every time because nothing fills up its landscape but its Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
own assumptions. That is, the slippery slope argument assumes that there is nothing in Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.74.
place, no underbrush, to stop the slide; but in any complexly organized society there will The idea that close attention to the words, tropes, and rhetorical postures of a culture gives
always be countervalues to invoke and invested persons to invoke them. Slippery slope one transmutative power over that culture finds acceptance for a number of reasons. First
trajectories are inevitable only in the head, where you can slide from A to B to Z with of all, it shifts the game of politics to the home turf of those who by inclination and
nothing to retard the acceleration of the logic. In the real world, however the step even training are clever with words, disposed to read texts with minute attention and to attend
from A to B will always meet with resistance of all kinds from persons differently to the higher-order resonances of language. At the same time, it allows scholars of a certain
positioned, and, as a line will be drawn beyond which regulators will be prevented from stamp to construe the pursuit of their most arcane interests as a defiantly political act
going, at least for a time, until new pressures and new resistances provoke a new round of against the repressive strictures of society. This is exhilarating: it is radicalism without
debates, at the end of which still another line will be provisionally drawn. risk. It does not endanger careers but rather advances them. It is a radicalism that university
administrators and even boards of governors have found easy to tolerate, since its calls to
AKH0061 COMMUNITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FREE EXPRESSION arms generally result in nothing more menacing than aphorisms lodged in obscure
Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH periodicals. It is, finally, a politics upon which the wear-and-tear of ordinary political life
THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.108. can have little effect. If something bad happens, one's doctrine is confirmed: if something
The objection to this line of reasoning is well known and has recently been reformulated good happens, it is vindicated.
by Benno Schmidt, former president of Yale University. According to Schmidt, speech
codes on campuses constitute 'well intentioned but misguided efforts to give values of AKH0066 RADICAL SKEPTICISM IS SELF-CONTRADICTORY
community and harmony a higher place than freedom' (WALL STREET JOURNAL, May Frederick Crews, U Cal-Berkley, English prof, SKEPTICAL ENGAGEMENTS, 1986,
6, 1991). 'When the goals of harmony collide with freedom of expression,' he continues, p.xviii.
'freedom must be the paramount obligation of an academic community.' The flaw in this But the Poststructuralist Two-Step is not as novel as it looks. In one form or another, it
logic is on display in the phrase 'academic community,' for the phrase recognizes what characterizes the whole "School of Suspicion"-the line of radically anti-consensual
Schmidt would deny, that expression only occurs in communities- -if not in an academic philosophy that runs from Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche through Heidegger to Derrida and
community, then in a shopping mall community or a dinner party community or an Foucault. All of those thinkers described a general human state of epistemic occlusion-of
airplane ride community or an office community. In these communities and in any others inevitable subjection to the warping effects of class membership or species-wide cowardice
that could be imagined (with the possible exception of a community of major league or the repressed unconscious or the hermeneutic circle or the prisonhouse of language; yet
baseball fans), limitations on speech in relation to a defining and deeply assumed purpose each, in the act of making his claims, implied that a superior mind, his own, was unaffected
are inseparable from community membership. by those forces. Marxism and Freudianism became the modern movements par excellence
that induced fervid belief by holding out this double promise: enlightenment for you and
AKH0062 THE KRITIK ISN'T NEW me, darkness for the others.
Hans Reiss, Professor of German, University of Bristol, KANT'S POLITICAL
WRITINGS, 1970, p.8. AKH0067 REJECTING OBJECTIVE JUDGEMENTS ENTRENCHES THE STATUS
It must not be forgotten that the Enlightenment was only one body of thought in the QUO
eighteenth century, even if it was the dominant one. There were other strands. Criticism Frederick Crews, U Cal-Berkley, English prof, SKEPTICAL ENGAGEMENTS, 1986,
of the Enlightenment arose not merely in its decline, but accompanied its rise and p.118.
predominance. In Germany, and not only in Germany, the eighteenth century saw the As we ought to have learned by now from the larger political realm, a scorn for
spread of scientific ideas through the thinkers of the Enlightenment, but it was also independent criteria of judgment is ultimately a means, not of fostering spontaneity and
characterized by a religious way of life centered on the emotions and inward experience. liberation, but of guaranteeing that entrenched leaders will not be contradicted by upstarts
In Germany, Pietism stressed the cultivation of the inner life and fostered an emotional possessing uncongenial ideas.
approach to religion. (It was not without its counterparts elsewhere-- e.g. Methodism and
Quietism.) Kant's fervent conviction of man's inward sense of morality may well have been AKH0068 RADICAL SKEPTICISM CAN PRODUCE FASCIST
rooted in that particular soil. Furthermore, persistent criticism of the Enlightenment came ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM
not only from the orthodoxy of established religion and from privileged or traditional H. Stuart Hughes, Stanford historian, CONSCIOUSNESS AND SOCIETY, 1977, p.17.
political interests, but also, as the century progressed, from various new irrationalists. It In nearly every case, it was to a greater or lesser extent self-defeating. The new
came from those who preferred intuition to reason, the perception of genius to common self-consciousness could readily slip into a radical skepticism: from an awareness of the
sense, and spontaneity to calculated reflection. They tended to base their understanding on subjective character of social thought it was an easy step to denying the validity of all such
the individual instance and example rather than on the universal rule, and even on poetry thought-or, alternatively, to a desperate resolve to "think with the blood." In evaluating the
rather than on science. permanent significance of the generation of the 1890's, we need constantly to bear in mind
the central paradox of their achievement: more often than not, their work encouraged an
AKH0063 REJECTION OF ABSOLUTE TRUTH ISN'T AN INTELLECTUAL anti-intellectualism to which the vast majority of them were intensely hostile.
INNOVATION
John Ellis, Professor of German, University of California-Santa Cruz, AGAINST AKH0069 POSTMODERNISM INTELLECTUALLY PARALLELS THE KRITIK
DECONSTRUCTION, 1989, p.100-1. Jon Brody, University Of Texas Debater, THE PRAXIS OF KRITIKS, 1994, Harvex.
Charles Sanders Peirce, more than a century ago, saw already that all knowledge was in The parallel between postmodernism and kritiks is obvious: both criticize attempts to
the nature of a hypothesis, subject to modification and critical reformulation by future control the objects and methods of thinking. Since the decline of the system counterplans,
experience. And these opinions and many like them have become an entrenched part of the debate has begun to settle into a comfortable equilibrium. Although we all hear about
thinking of the learned world. Viewed against this broader background, a reasonable paradigms, we rarely debate them. To be sure, we have preserved their implications as they
judgment of the value of the recent debate over the meaning and usefulness of "all relate to topicality or counterplan burdens, but their extended presence as counter-warrants,
interpretation is misinterpretation" will be obvious enough: it is not very well informed and justification arguments, minor repairs, plan amendments, among other forms, has faded.
not really very interesting. On the one hand, proponents cannot really be allowed to get Just as philosophy triumphed in the ancient battle against rhetoric and capitalism emerged
away with the claim that they deserve the credit for having gotten rid of absolute truth and victorious in the war against communism, policymaking has defeated the hypothesis-
objective knowledge. That was really done a very long time ago, and the resulting testing, games-playing, and the tabula rasa paradigms. But just as postmodern thinkers
epistemological position is not a new and provocative one but instead a commonplace. such as Derrida have renewed the challenge to philosophy's privileged status and the
market system has come under criticism for its failure to protect the homeless, the
uninsured, and other marginalized groups, kritiks contest the dominance of "traditional"
policymaking analysis.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 7
AKH0070 THE KRITIK RESTS ON IDEAS OF POSTMODERNISM AKH0076 REPRESSING EXPRESSION OF PREJUDICES LEAVES THEM
Jon Brody, University Of Texas Debater, THE PRAXIS OF KRITIKS, 1994, Harvex. UNEXAMINED
If we believe that debate, being an academic activity, should reflect and educate us about Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
developments in Academy, debate should clear a space for postmodern thinking. Docherty FOR THEE, 1992, p.168-9.
notes that postmodern "leaves its traces on every cultural discipline from architecture to Steven Rhode. a constitutional lawyer, who was co-chairman of the Los Angeles Bar
zoology, taking on its way biology, forestry, geography, history, law, literature, and the Association Bill of Rights Bicentennial Committee. points out: 'A university campus,
arts in general, medicine, politics, philosophy, sexuality, and so on. Those who oppose whether public or private, must be a place for robust wide-open and free discussion
postmodern thinking should welcome the opportunity, based on their own standards, to Students bring to college all their prejudices, their fears, their doubts, their misconceptions.
defend their beliefs. If they spend four years cooped up under repressive regulations, they might well dutifully
obey the rules, offend no one, and leave with all their prejudices, fears, doubts, and
AKH0071 THE KRITIK EMBODIES POSTMODERN THOUGHT misconceptions firmly intact. Punishing bigoted speech only treats the symptoms, not the
Jon Brody, University Of Texas Debater, THE PRAXIS OF KRITIKS, 1994, Harvex. disease. It often creates martyrs and drives them underground where they attract new,
Since postmodernism and kritiks challenge the accuracy and desirability of modernist impressionable followers on the pretext that they themselves [the bigots] are an oppressed
processes of understanding, processes that categorize things by dividing them into distinct minority whose truths are so powerful they are banned by the Establishment.'
boxes, it is only by fitting that kritiks be difficult to divide and describe according to those
processes. Language kritiks, in their understanding of the power of discourse, contain the AKH0077 FREE SPEECH IS KEY TO ADVANCING CIVIL RIGHTS
elements of thinking kritiks. Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
FOR THEE, 1992, p.164
AKH0072 THE KRITIK RELIES ON DECONSTRUCTION A number of blacks on the CLUM board are in agreement with Hagler, but there is also
Jon Brody, University Of Texas Debater, THE PRAXIS OF KRITIKS, 1994, Harvex. Byron Rushing, a forthright member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Briefly, deconstruction seeks to destabilize the enlightenment project in order to uncover 'Bigotry thrives underground,' Rushing told me. Rather than curb speech on campus, he
what modernist practices hide from us. Deconstruction seeks to overturn the dominant added, 'we need to train people in how to deal with free speech.' Without hesitation, he
order in order to resurrect what has been subordinated, to think what remains unthought. calls himself 'a First Amendment Absolutist,' having learned the crucial importance of free
Deconstruction observes the Western thought operates through binary oppositions, speech, he points out, during his work in the civil rights movement in the 1950s and since.
hierarchies where one element is subordinated to the other. Examples include: And Rushing notes how effective Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X were by
Rationality/Mysticism, Speech/Writing, Man/Woman, and Man/Nature. Deconstruction vigorously exercising their freedom of speech.
temporarily inverts these hierarchies in order to think about the subordinated element in
such a way that it is not defined by the dominant one. Although the reversal is temporary, AKH0078 MINORITIES NEED TO BE EXPOSED TO WOUNDING LANGUAGE TO
after the hierarchy reverts to its original form we leave with a different understanding of COUNTER IT
the elements, and their respective roles, in the hierarchy. In the debate, the negative could Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
argue that voting negative signifies a temporary inversion or overturning of the dominant FOR THEE, 1992, p.167
element (normative practice) and represents an attempt to think what the dominant order There is also the damaging effect of these 'protective' regulations on the very people who
prevents us from thinking. In this case, the dominant order wants to deflect questions away are insisting they be safeguarded. Malcolm X used to talk about the need to learn how
from the subject. language works, how to dissect it, how to use it as both a shield and sword. Above all, he
felt, blacks should not be fearful of language. They should not let language intimidate them
AKH0073 CHANGING SPEECH WON'T SOLVE SOCIAL PROBLEMS but rather fight back--when words are used against them--with more powerful words of
Christopher Lasch, Professor of History, University of Rochester, THE REVOLT OF THE their own. If you read Malcolm X's collected speeches and listen to his recordings, it's clear
ELITES, 1995, p.7. he was an extraordinarily resilient, resourceful, probing master of language. How did he
The current catchwords--diversity, compassion, empowerment, entitlement--express the get that way? Not by being protected as he grew up from wounding language.
wistful hope that deep divisions in American society can be bridged by goodwill and
sanitized speech. We are called on to recognize that all minorities are entitled to respect AKH0079 WORDS AREN'T KEY
not by virtue of their achievements but by virtue of their sufferings in the past. Barbara Ehrenreich, social critic, DEBATING P.C., ed. Paul Berman, 1992, p.336.
Compassionate attention, we are told, will somehow raise their opinion of themselves; Now, I'm all for verbal uplift. I like being called Ms. I don't want people saying "man"
banning racial epithets and other forms of hateful speech will do wonders for their morale. when they mean me, too. I'm willing to make an issue of these things. But I know that even
In our preoccupation with words, we have lost sight of the tough realities that cannot be when all women are Ms., we'll still get sixty-five cents for every dollar earned by a man.
softened simply by flattering people's self-image What does it profit the residents of the Minorities by any other name-people of color, or whatever-will still bear a huge burden
South Bronx to enforce speech codes at elite universities? of poverty, discrimination, and racial harassment. Verbal uplift is not the revolution.

AKH0074 POLITICAL CORRECTNESS HAS PRODUCED ORWELLIAN AKH0080 SOCIAL REFORM THROUGH LINGUISTIC CHANGE IS ABSURD
CONDITIONS Paul Berman, fellow, New York University Institute for the Humanities, DEBATING P.C.
Roger Kimball, author of TENURED RADICALS, DEBATING P.C, ed. Paul Berman, 1992, p.23-4.
1992, p.64-5. And there is the idea that, sparkling like jewels here and there, a millenarian alternative is
This celebration of 'difference' may sound like a prescription for tolerance and genuine somewhere lurking, that we can turn the world upside down-if we, the anti-bigot reformers,
pluralism. But in fact it has fostered a positively Orwellian situation in which 'diversity' can only get hold of the dominating verbal structures. For if we can only command the
really means strict intellectual conformity, and 'tolerance' is reserved exclusively for those school curriculum, or dictate the literary canon, or get everyone to abandon certain
who subscribe to one's own perspective. As has been widely reported in the press recently, previously unanalyzed phrases that contain the entire structure of oppressive social
attempts to endorse the ethic of 'difference' have led to egregious violations of academic domination, and replace these phrases with other phrases that contain a new, better
freedom and have poisoned the atmosphere for honest intellectual exchange at campuses society-if we can only do that, great results will occur, and the radiant new day will be at
across the country. Deviation from the multiculturalist orthodoxy on any number of issues hand. That is a wild notion, which consciously no one believes, at least not in full. Yet bits
is punished by social ostracism, mandatory 'consciousness raising' classes, or even and pieces of that idea peek out from within the academic vocabulary.
suspension or expulsion. It is precisely this cluster of phenomena that is summed up in the
phrase 'political correctness.' AKH0081 CAMPUS CENSORSHIP IS CREATING ILLIBERAL EDUCATION
Dinesh D'Souza, author of Illiberal Education, DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman, 1992,
AKH0075 OFFENSIVE SPEECH IS THE PRICE OF FREEDOM p.30.
Benno Schmidt, former President of Yale University, quoted in: FREE SPEECH FOR ME, And finally, liberal education should be about high standards and about free speech, free
BUT NOT FOR THEE, 1992, p.134. and open debate. Instead, many campuses are witnessing attack on academic standards as
Thus, on many campuses around the country, perhaps most, these is little resistance to being the sole property of white males and, further, many campuses, more than a hundred,
growing pressure to suppress and to punish rather than to answer, speech that offends now have censorship regulations outlawing racially and sexually offensive speech. So we
notions of civility and community. These campuses are heedless of the oldest lesson in the have gone from liberal education to its antithetical opposite, to illiberal education.
history of freedom of expression, which is that offensive, erroneous and obnoxious speech
is the price of freedom. Offensive speech cannot be suppressed under open-ended
standards without letting loose an engine of censorship that cannot be controlled. Vague
and unpredictable possibilities of punishment for expression on campus not only fly in the
face of the lessons of freedom, but are in addition antithetical to the idea of the university..
If fear, ignorance and bigotry exist on our campuses, it is far better than they be exposed
and answered than that they be bottled up.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 8
AKH0082 POLITICAL CORRECTNESS LEADS TO SELF-CENSORSHIP AKH0087 FREE EXPRESSION IS KEY TO ALL OUR LIBERTIES
Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST columnist, DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman, 1992, Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
p.218-9 FOR THEE, 1992, p.133-4
Students at New York University Law School have also told me that they censor 'The problem of freedom of expression on our campuses lies at the intersection of two
themselves in class. The kind of chilling atmosphere they describe was exemplified last extremely disturbing tendencies. One is a general anxiety in our society that is eroding our
year as a case assigned for a moot court competition became subject to denunciation when commitment to enduring principles in our national life, an unsteadiness that especially
a sizable number of law students said it was too 'offensive' and would hurt the feelings of threatens freedom of expression, the freedom that is the indispensable condition, as
gay and lesbian students. The case concerned a divorced father's attempt to gain custody Benjamin Cardozo reminded us, of all our liberties. What the near-miss of amending the
of his children on the grounds that their mother had become a lesbian. It was against PC First Amendment to deal with flag burning, the political agitation over indecency in the
to represent the father. Although some of the faculty responded by insisting that you learn arts, and the steady march toward an official-secrets-act regime of national-security secrecy
to be a lawyer by dealing with all kinds of cases, including those you personally find all have in common in a pervasive doubt about the capacity of our society to live and
offensive, other faculty members supported the rebellious students, praising them for their flourish in conditions of freedom.
sensitivity. There was little public opposition from the other students to the attempt to
suppress the case. AKH0088 SUPPRESSING DISSENT SNOWBALLS TO EXTERMINATING
DISSENTERS
AKH0083 CODES REPRESS MODERATES--NOT CONSERVATIVES Justice Jackson, quoted in, FREE SPEECH FOR ME, BUT NOT FOR THEE, 1992, p.247
Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST columnist, DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman, 1992, Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating
p.217-8 dissenters...Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would
One of the myths about the rise of PC (politically correct) is that, coming from the left, it be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that
is primarily intimidating conservatives on campus. Quite the contrary. At almost every touch the heart of the existing order.'
college I've been, conservative students have their own newspaper, usually quite lively and
fired by a muckraking glee at exposing 'politically correct' follies on campus. By and large, AKH0089 SUPPRESSING INTOLERANT SPEECH IS SELF-DEFEATING
those most intimidated--not so much by the speech codes themselves but by the Madame Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
Defarge-like spirit behind them--are liberal students and those who can be called politically FOR THEE, 1992, p.254
moderate. I've talked to many of them, and they no longer get involved in class discussions Holmes' logic is inescapable. If speech is to be free, there is always the risk that those who
where their views would go against the grain of PC righteousness. Many, for instance, would destroy free speech may be sufficiently eloquent to use that constitutional freedom
have questions about certain kinds of affirmative action. They are not partisans of Jesse to end it. But if speech is to be limited to prevent that possibility, then the enemies of free
Helms or David Duke, but they wonder whether progeny of middle-class black families expression have already won a significant victory-- even as they are silenced. And once
should get scholarship preference. Others have a question about abortion. Most are not the concept of curbing speech is established, those enemies, each time the state suppresses
pro-life, but they believe that fathers should have a say in whether the fetus should be sent speech, will have moved closer to their goal of destroying free speech.
off into eternity.
AKH0090 LIMITS ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT SNOWBALL
AKH0084 SLIPPERY SLOPE ARGUMENTS UNIQUELY APPLY TO SPEECH Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
Frederick Schauer, College of William & Mary Law professor, FREE SPEECH: A FOR THEE, 1992, p.259
PHILOSOPHICAL ENQUIRY, 1982, p.83 Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Tribe pointed out in THE NEW YORK TIMES,
The hypothesis here is that 'slippery slope' and 'where do you draw the line?' arguments that this case came before the Court at a time when the First Amendment is under siege
may have special relevance with respect to regulating speech. This suggestion is hardly throughout the country, and not only from the political religious Right: '...people in so
novel. Lord Chesterfield, speaking against the Theatres Act of 1737, remarked that: There many contexts-- hate speech on campus, feminists against pornography, political
is such a connection between licentiousness and Liberty, that it is not easy to correct the correctness--are making the argument that you can suppress certain kinds of speech just
one, without dangerously wounding the other. It is extremely hard to distinguish the true because it does so much harm. The First Amendment is almost always tested with speech
limit between them; like a changeable silk, we can easily see there are two different colors, that is profoundly divisive or painful. But if you start making exceptions, and suppressing
but we cannot easily discover where one ends, or where the other begins. Censorship is a speech that is hurtful, these exceptions will swallow free speech, and the only speech that
double futility. It cannot prevent any single intended criticism; and it is bound to suspect will be left protected will be abstracted, emotionally lightweight speech that doesn't pack
a theoretically infinite number of unintended ones. any wallop.'

AKH0085 SPEECH LIMITS ARE ESPECIALLY PRONE TO BE OVER-INCLUSIVE AKH0091 CARVING OUT EXCEPTIONS TO THE FIRST AMENDMENT KILLS IT
Frederick Schauer, College of William & Mary Law professor, FREE SPEECH: A Leslie Williams, American Civil Liberties Union, quoted in: FREE SPEECH FOR ME,
PHILOSOPHICAL ENQUIRY, 1982, p.84 BUT NOT FOR THEE, 1992, p.388
If our descriptive language about speech is less refined or less precise than our descriptive We all believe in free speech for us, but not for them. Holocaust survivors think
language about other forms of conduct-- and this seems by no means an implausible anti-Semitic speech should be outlawed; Senator Jesse H elms thinks whatever he
hypothesis--then any regulating rule may be particularly vulnerable to the vice of linguistic considers indecent should not be protected by the First Amendment; George Bush and a
over-inclusiveness. And if this is so, then there is some validity to the claim that slippery lot of others think flag-burning is an unacceptable form of expression; some women's
slope fears are more well- founded in reference to regulation of speech than in reference rights advocates think any speech that degrades women ought to be outlawed; anti-choice
to other forms of conduct. Such a conclusion would support recognition of a Free Speech groups think it's okay to impose their religious principles and moral values on everyone
Principle solely to counteract the special slipperiness of this particular slope. else; indulging in 'hate speech' can get you thrown out of some colleges. If all these people
and others are able to make exceptions to the First Amendment, we might as well kiss free
AKH0086 THE EROSION OF FREE SPEECH ON CAMPUS COULD SNOWBALL TO expression good-bye.
SOCIETY
Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT AKH0092 THOUGHT POLICING SNOWBALLS
FOR THEE, 1992,, p.132-3 George Will, Columnist, DEBATING, P.C., Editor- Paul Berman, 1992,, p.260.
Under Benno Schmidt, Yale became the leading university in the country in the defense This orthodoxy is reinforced--and enforced--by codes of conduct called 'anti-harassment'
of free speech. Schmidt, along with Donald Kagan and others, continued the spirit of the codes, under which designated groups of victims are protected from whatever they decide
Woodward Report. In March 1991, Schmidt, speaking at the 92nd Street Y in New York offends them. To cure the offensiveness of others, therapists, and thought police are
said: 'The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our proliferating on campuses, conducting 'racial awareness seminars' and other 'sensitivity
campuses. On many...including some of the finest universities...freedom of thought is in training.' These moral tutors have a professional interest in the exacerbation of group
danger from well-intentioned but misguided efforts to give values of community and tensions, to which university administrations contribute by allowing, even encouraging,
harmony a higher place in the university than freedom. The assumption seems to be that the Balkanization of campus life. This is done by encouraging group identities--black
the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and dorms, women's centers, gay studies, etc. The status of victim is coveted as a source of
to liberate the mind. The issue of freedom in our universities is not only of critical moral dignity and political power, so nerves are rubbed raw by the competitive cultivation
importance to the quality and integrity of higher education. Attitudes on campus often of grievances. The more brittle campus relations become, the more aggressive moral
presage tendencies in the larger society. If that is so with respect to freedom of expression, therapy becomes, making matters worse.
the erosion of principle we have seen throughout our society in recent years may be only
the beginning.' AKH0093 SITUATIONAL LIMITS ON SPEECH SNOWBALL
Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST columnist, DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman, 1992,
p.222
A precedent has been set at, of all places, colleges and universities that the principle of free
speech is merely situational. As college administrators change, so will the extent of free
speech on campus. And invariably, permissible speech will become more and more
narrowly defined. Once speech can be limited in such subjective ways, more and more
expression will be included in what is forbidden.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 9
AKH0094 SPEECH CODES PERSUADE FUTURE LEADERS OF LEGITIMACY OF AKH0099 PROTECTING FREE EXPRESSION IS THE UNIVERSITY'S PARAMOUNT
CENSORSHIP GOAL
Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT Woodward Commission-Yale University, quoted in FREE SPEECH FOR ME, BUT NOT
FOR THEE, 1992, p.158 FOR THEE, 1992, p.116
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz--among the boldest and bravest of First The conclusions we draw, then, are these: even when some members of the university
Amendment defenders--writes: 'I feel this problem quite personally, since I happen to community fail to meet their social and ethical responsibilities, the paramount obligation
agree as a matter of substance with most politically correct positions. But I am appalled at of the university is to protect their right to free expression. This obligation can and should
the intolerance of many who share by substantive views. And I worry about the impact of be enforced by appropriate formal sanctions. If the university's overriding commitment to
politically correct intolerance on the generation of leaders we are currently educating.' free expression is to be sustained, secondary social and ethical responsibilities must be left
Leaders will emerge from the ranks of these college and university graduates. Among them to the informal processes of suasion, example, and argument.
will be the lawyers, judges, educators, legislators, and Supreme Court Justices of the
future. And the mind-set with which some leave the campus in these years is: some AKH0100 DIVERSE SOCIETIES ESPECIALLY NEED FREE SPEECH
censorship is okay--provided that the motivations are okay. Benno Schmidt, Yale University, quoted in: FREE SPEECH FOR ME, BUT NOT FOR
THEE 1992, p.136
AKH0095 SPEECH CODES ARE INHERENTLY OVERBROAD I have often heard the argument...that unhibited freedom of speech was somehow more
Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT appropriate in the days when our universities were more homogeneous, while current
FOR THEE, 1992, p.169 conditions of far greater racial, religious, and cultural diversity call for controls in the
Stanford prides itself on being one of the elite universities, and yet the majority of its interest of harmony and community. That so many people of goodwill would make such
faculty and students have yet to learn so basic a historical truth as this--stated by Eleanor an argument shows how far we have drifted from our confidence in and commitment to
Holmes Norton, former chairwoman of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity freedom. I can only imagine what James Madison or Holmes would have thought of this
Commission: 'It is technically impossible to write an anti-speech code that cannot be complete inversion of the theory of free expression. It is precisely societies that are diverse,
twisted against speech nobody means to bar. It has been tried and tried and tried.' pluralistic, and contentious that most urgently need freedom of speech and freedom of
religion...
AKH0096 THE UNIVERSITY'S BASIC MISSION IS TRUTH, NOT COMMUNITY
Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT AKH0101 SPEECH CODES CHILL THE EXPRESSION OF MODERATES
FOR THEE, 1992, p.152 Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
On Fred Friendly's Public Broadcasting System program, Schmidt said: 'I take a FOR THEE, 1992, p.152-3
completely different view of what a university is..I don't think the university is first and Conservative students are enjoying their role as champions of free speech, taking great
foremost a community. It's not a place, first and foremost, that is about the inculcation of sardonic pleasure in depicting the righteous left as neo-McCarthyites. On many campuses,
thought [and] habits of mind that I might agree are correct and constructive. The university conservatives--usually with the help of funds from highly conservative foundations--are
has a fundamental mission which is to search for the truth. And a university is a place publishing alternative papers. They tend to be quite lively and witty (humor being in
where people have to have the right to speak the unspeakable and think the unthinkable exceedingly short supply among the Jacobins.) And these papers take much muckraking
and challenge the unchallengeable. Now it's not a place of violence. It's not a place for pleasure in exposing the surrenders, small and large, of university administrators to the
threats...There's no place for violence, or threats of it, in a regime of freedom. But beyond demands of the ultra-orthodox. Those most stifled by the pall of orthodoxy on campus are
that, I think that these [speech] codes make a terrible mistake...Students think that they are students who are liberals but of an independent mind--and moderates. On campus after
codes about building communities that are based on correct thoughts, and that's campus, from Brown to Stanford, I have talked to students who say there are some views
antithetical, I think, to the idea of a university.' that hold--or questions they want to ask--that they no longer bring up in class or in most
places outside of class. It's not worth the hassle--or being placed in Coventry. Questions,
AKH0097 CENSORSHIP VIOLATES THE ESSENCE OF THE UNIVERSITY for example, about affirmative action. How far should it go? Should the progeny of the
Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST columnist, DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman, 1992, black middle class get preference? And questions about abortion. Should the father have
p.223 any say at all in what happens to the fetus?
One of the exceedingly few college presidents who speaks out on the consequences of the
anti-free speech movement is Yale University's Benno Schmidt: Freedom of thought must AKH0102 SPEECH CODES CHILL ARTISTIC EXPRESSION
be Yale's central commitment. It is not easy to embrace. It is, indeed, the effort of a Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
lifetime...Much expression that is free may deserve our contempt. We may well be moved FOR THEE, 1992, p.168
to exercise our own freedom to counter it or to ignore it. But universities cannot censor or Also overlooked by students especially concerned with artistic expression is that a 'hostile
suppress speech, no matter how obnoxious in content, without violating their justification atmosphere' can be created by a painting or a piece of sculpture because obviously,
for existence...On some other campuses in this country, values of civility and community 'expression' can be graphic as well as verbal. When the University of Wisconsin's speech
have been offered by some as paramount values of the university, even to the extent of code was being debated before the state's Board of Regents, E. David Cronon, dean of the
superseding freedom of expression. Such a view is wrong in principle and, if extended, is university's Madison College of Letters and Sciences, testified that the code would indeed
disastrous to freedom of thought...The chilling effects on speech of the vagueness and chill student's rights to artistic expression.
open-ended nature of many universities' prohibitions...are compounded by the fact that
these codes are typically enforced by faculty and students who commonly assert that vague AKH0103 SPEECH CODES DON'T REDUCE RACIST ATTITUDES
notions of community are more important to the academy than freedom of thought and Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
expression... FOR THEE, 1992, p.168
Furthermore--and this is a poignant dimension of the rush to virtuous censorship--it won't
AKH0098 IN A UNIVERSITY, FREE SPEECH VALUES OUTWEIGHS VALUES OF do a bit of good. Let us suppose these codes were in place on every campus in the country.
CIVILITY Would racism go away? Racism would go underground, in the dark, where it's most
Woodward Commission-Yale University, quoted in FREE SPEECH FOR ME, BUT NOT comfortable. The language on campus could become as pure as country water, but racist
FOR THEE, 1992, p.115 attitudes would still fester. The only way to begin to deal with racism is to bring it out in
If a university is a place for knowledge, it is also a special kind of small society. Yet it is the open--not pretend it has been scared away.
not primarily a fellowship, a club, a circle of friends, a replica of the civil society outside
it. Without sacrificing its central purpose, it cannot make its primary and dominant value AKH0104 SPEECH CODES COULD BE USED TO SUPPRESS BLACKS AND
the fostering of friendship, solidarity, harmony, civility, or mutual respect. To be sure, WOMEN
these are important values other institutions may properly assign them the highest, and not Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
merely a subordinate priority; and a good university will seek and may in some significant FOR THEE, 1992, p.168
measure attain these ends. But it will never let these values, important as they are, override In my view, I said, Farrakhan ought to be able to speak anywhere he chooses, and certainly
its central purpose. We value freedom of expression precisely because it provides a forum on a college campus. So long as the students have the right to question him and argue with
for the new, the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox. Free speech is a barrier him, they'll have something to gain from the experience. But under some of the speech
to thy tyranny of authoritarian or even majority opinion as to the rightness or wrongness codes at more and more colleges. Farrakhan--having created a 'hostile atmosphere'--would
or particular doctrines or thoughts... quite likely not be permitted on campus again. Is that what the black students pressing for
speech codes want? To have black speakers they invite on campus rejected because of what
they say and how they say it? Do women students want radical feminist Andrea Dworkin
barred because of possible charges that she creates a 'hostile environment' for nearly all
men?
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 10
AKH0105 SPEECH CODES UNDERCUT THE VALUE OF DIVERSITY AKH0110 OFFENSIVE SPEECH IS BEST COUNTERED WITH MORE SPEECH
Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
FOR THEE, 1992, p.181-2 FOR THEE, 1992, p.159
But what about a claim by the university made by its chancellor, Donna Shalala, many The leader of the opposition at Stanford was law Professor Gerald Gunther, arguably the
minority students, black state legislators, members of the Board of Regents, and a good nation's leading authority on constitutional law. But Gunther did not have much support
many members of the faculty? Judge Warren addressed that claim directly: 'The Board [of among other faculty members, conservative or liberal. Gunther pointed out during the
Regents] first asserted compelling interest in increasing minority representation to add to campus debate that he received his elementary school education in a very small town in
the diversity of the University of Wisconsin System campuses. Increasing diversity is Nazi Germany. There his teacher, classmates, and other townspeople would address him
clearly a constitutionally permissible goal for an institution of higher education.' However, as 'Judensau' (Jew pig). That, he recalls, was one of the milder ways in which they used to
the UW rule does as much to hurt diversity on Wisconsin campuses as it does to help it. make his day. Professor Gunther, knowing what constant harassment by vilification feels
By establishing content-based restrictions on speech, the rule limits the diversity of ideas like, learned, he says, in Nazi Germany and his life here that it's necessary to denounce 'the
among students and thereby prevents the robust exchange of ideas which intellectually bigots' hateful ideas with all my power yet at the same time challenge...any community's
diverse campuses provide.' attempt to suppress hateful ideas by force of law.' The way to deal with bad speech,
Gunther emphasized, is 'with more speech, with better speech, with repudiation and
AKH0106 CODES ARE BEING USED TO REPRESS PERSONAL LIBERTIES contempt.'
Dinesh D'Souza, author of Illiberal Education, in DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman,
1992, p.34-5 AKH0111 FREE EXPRESSION BEST DISPELS PREJUDICE
The problem is that students are beginning to talk among themselves about the taboo topics Benno Schmidt, Former President- Yale University, quoted in, FREE SPEECH FOR ME,
surrounding racial preference, surrounding racial separatism, surrounding activism, BUT NOT FOR THEE, 1992, p.136
homosexuality, homosexual rights activism and so one, and the university is seeking to It does not follow that because the university is committed to nondiscrimination, it should
regulate the students' discussion of these topics so as not to give offense. To take a fairly suppress any speech that can plausibly be though to be racist. What is racial prejudice,
typical example, the University of Michigan, a student was hauled before a disciplinary after all, but a particularly vicious form of ignorance and fear? It is precisely the function
committee and accused of making the statement that homosexuality was immoral. The of free expression to dispel ignorance and fear with the light of truth. A university ought
student pleaded guilty. This, in fact, was his view, based, I suppose, on religious or to be the last place where people are inhibited by fear of punishment from expressing
aesthetic preference, and the university administrators told him your punishment is that ignorance or even hate, so long as others are left free to answer.
you will have to write a forced apology titled 'Learned My Lesson' to be published in the
campus newspaper, and we to enroll you in sensitivity education to raise your AKH0112 FREE SPEECH IS EFFECTIVE DESPITE UNEQUAL RESOURCES
consciousness on this issue. So a subject that is a matter of legitimate discussion is, Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
instead, settled not by reference to persuasion but by reference to force. FOR THEE, 1992, p.183
The MILWAUKEE JOURNAL interviewed Svovata Edari, president of the Black Student
AKH0107 SPEECH CODES FAIL Union. 'Minority students,' Edari said, 'don't need to hear views such as Belling's spoken
Barbara Ehrenreich, TIME magazine Columnist, DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman, again. Free speech to us is just a joke anyways,' Edari said. 'We don't own any major
1992, p.335 newspapers or radio stations. How can you have free speech when you can't be heard?' By
First, there's a tendency to rely on administration-enforced rules to stop offensive speech continuing to speak. As Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass and William Du Bois and
and to enforce a new, and quite admirable, kind of civility. Quite aside from the free Martin Luther King had. They were heard. Obviously, there is an enormous imbalance in
speech issue, the problem is: Rules don't work. If you outlaw the use of the term 'girl' institutional resources, but no change in the laws would have been accomplished without
instead of 'woman' you're not going to do a thing about the sexist attitudes underneath. free speech and assembly--including speech by those who did not own any major
Changing sexist, racist, and homophobic attitudes is a challenge for those of us who newspapers or television stations.
believe in a multicultural, just, and equal world. It is not a problem you turn over to the
police, to the administration, or anybody else. The only route is through persuasion, AKH0113 FREE SPEECH WORKED TO END MCCARTHYISM
education, and organizing. Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
FOR THEE, 1992, p.306
AKH0108 SPEECH CODES HAVEN'T LIMITED OFFENSIVE SPEECH Beginning with James Madison and including, in our time, Justice Hugo Black, the idea
Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT was that so long as there is room and time to reply to bad speech, counterspeech would
FOR THEE, 1992, p.390 provide the punishment that was needed. Not money damages, not imprisonment, but the
To Francis Lawrence, president of Rutgers University, the need for censoring insulting shining of a pitiless verbal light on the lies and distortions and sheer meanness of the awful
speech on campus is so obvious that, he says, 'it is difficult to credit the seriousness of speech in question. Joe McCarthy, for instance received his terrible punishment not in his
those who assail [speech codes] as evidence of...censorship.' Accordingly, Rutgers has a eventual censure by the Senate, but before that, from devastating counterspeech: Ed
stiff speech code which hauls into the dock students whose words offend on the basis of Murrow on television and Boston lawyer Joe Welch during the Army-McCarthy hearings.
race, religion, color, ancestry, sex, handicap, marital status, and sexual orientation. The
blanket of protection would seem to omit no one, and yet there is a veritable plague of AKH0114 MINORITIES ULTIMATELY LOSE FROM SUPPRESSION OF SPEECH
racist graffiti and other rawly offensive expression on campus. Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, FREE SPEECH FOR ME--BUT NOT
FOR THEE, 1992, p.213
AKH0109 EVEN HIGHLY OFFENSIVE SPEECH STRENGTHENS THE POLITICAL And more fundamentally, if more law professors do not join the law students supporting
COMMUNITY free inquiry, Anthony Amsterdam's prophecy will come true: 'More basically, once you
Jan Naverson, University of Waterloo Philosopher, THE LIBERTARIAN IDEA, 1988, begin to exclude ideas from the discourse of a community on the ground that they are
p.291 wrong or offensive, you start in motion a process that inevitably ends up justifying
We may agree that some speech activities may plausibly be singled out as requiring special suppression of the unpopular ideas of unpopular minorities. It is fanciful to think that
protection, for example, the dissemination of weird political ideas at London's famed Hyde bigots cannot beat you at the game you have begun. They always have and they always
Park Corner. Thus Dworkin again: 'In the case of free political speech, we might well will.'
concede...that each person has an important interest in developing his own independent
political convictions, because that is an essential part of his personality...also...that political AKH0115 LEARNING TO COUNTER OFFENSIVE SPEECH IS A KEY SKILL FOR
activity in a community is made more vigorous by variety, even by the entry, that is, of MINORITIES
wholly despicable points of view. These are decent arguments why individuals and the Nat Hentoff, WASHINGTON POST Columnist, DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman,
community as a whole are at least in certain respects better off when the Nazi has spoken 1992, p.224
his piece.' In the national board debate at the ACLU on college speech codes, the first speaker and
I think she had a lot to do with making the final vote against codes unanimous--was Gwen
Thomas. A black community college administrator from Colorado, she is a fiercely
persistent exposer of racial discrimination. She started by saying, 'I have always felt as a
minority person that we have to protect the rights of all because if we infringe on the rights
of any persons, we'll be next.' 'As for providing a nonintimidating educational
environment, our young people have to learn to grow up on college campuses. We have
to teach them how to deal with adversarial situations. They have to learn how to survive
offensive speech they find wounding and hurtful.'
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 11
AKH0116 POLITICAL CORRECTNESS ULTIMATELY LEADS TO RACIAL AKH0123 TRUE METAPHYSICAL DOUBT IS MENTAL ILLNESS
HOSTILITY Anthony Giddens, Professor of Sociology, Cambridge, THE CONSEQUENCES OF
Dinesh D'Souza, author of Illiberal Education, in DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman, MODERNITY, 1990, p.93.
1992, p.35 The same is not true of a minority of people who treat our inability to be certain about such
I think that America is becoming a multiracial society and the whole issue is transcending matters not just as an intellectual worry, but as a deep disquiet that feeds into many of the
black and white. We are going to have four or more groups, whites, blacks, Hispanics, and things that they do. A person who is existentially unsure about whether he or she is several
Asians in this diverse culture. It's very important to have a fair set of rules to arbitrate the selves, or whether others really exist, or whether what is perceived really exists, may be
differences among these groups. And the problem is that universities and to some extent entirely incapable of inhabiting the same social universe as other human beings. Certain
society at large are moving away from a fair or neutral set of principles and are engaging categories of individuals regarded by others as mentally ill, particularly schizophrenics,
in a politics of expediency, or racial rationing, of racial preference. I think this is a formula do think and act in this way.
for division, for Balkanization, and ultimately for racial hostility.
AKH0124 PRAGMATISM JUSTIFIES REJECTING METAPHYSICS
AKH0117 REJECTING POLITICAL CORRECTNESS KEY TO DEALING WITH Roger Trigg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, RATIONALITY AND
RACIAL PROBLEMS SCIENCE, 1993, p.36.
Dinesh D'Souza, author of Illiberal Education, in DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman, For the pragmatists, as for Wittgenstein, metaphysical speculation should be ruled out
1992, p.38 Instead of reasoning about the nature of reality, or searching for firm foundations of
Well, the central paradox is that affirmative action or racial preference policies that are not knowledge, the pragmatist typically believes that we should start from where we are and
routinely practices by colleges are saying to students that the best way to fight build up our conception of knowledge out of our present practices. Because metaphysics
discrimination in America is to practice discrimination. This is to say the least a tends to point to a reality beyond our knowledge, it can open up the possibility of
paradoxical assertion, one that at the very least needs to be publicly stated and defended. skepticism. If something is beyond our grasp, it might appear that we have no very great
Maybe there are good arguments for affirmative action, but they need to be named. Look reason for believing it is there, and it is easy for anyone to deny its existence. Pragmatism
at the case of Georgetown University, where the kid released partial data about the subject begins with our actions and our actual purposes, and so avoids this.
and the university responded not by releasing full information, not by debating the issue,
but by punishing the student. Critics of political correctness are not saying get rid of AKH0125 PHILOSOPHY SHOULDN'T REJECT COMMON SENSE
affirmative action, but (a) let's talk about it and (b) let's discuss some possible alternatives. A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.51.
AKH0118 CONTROLLING RACIAL SLURS ISN'T THE REAL POINT OF SPEECH It follows that the philosopher has no right to despise the beliefs of common sense. If he
CODES does so, he merely displays his ignorance of the true purpose of his enquiries. What he is
Dinesh D'Souza, author of Illiberal Education, in DEBATING, P.C., ed. Paul Berman, entitled to despise is the unreflecting analysis of those beliefs, which takes the grammatical
1992, p.35 structure of the sentence as a trustworthy guide to its meaning.
I'm not a free speech absolutist. I might part company here with the ACLU. I don't believe
that people should be able to say anything they want, whenever they want. But you could AKH0126 METAPHYSICS IS MEANINGLESS BECAUSE IT ISN'T BASED ON
have a code on campus that simply had one line in it: A student shall not yell racial epithets SENSE EXPERIENCE
at each other. None of the codes say this because, as I said, that's not the problem. The A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
universities are trying to outlaw and suppress a different kind of discussion. AND LOGIC, 1946, p.34.
Consequently one cannot overthrow a system of transcendent metaphysics merely by
AKH0119 METAPHYSICAL STATEMENTS ARE MEANINGLESS criticizing the way in which it comes into being. What is required is rather a criticism of
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH the nature of the actual statements which comprise it. And this is the line of argument
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.31. which we shall, in fact, pursue. For we shall maintain that no statement which refers to a
To test whether a sentence expresses a genuine empirical hypothesis, I adopt what may be "reality" transcending the limits of all possible sense-experience can possibly have any
called a modified verification principle. For I require of an empirical hypothesis, not literal significance; from which it must follow that the labours of those who have striven
indeed that it should be conclusively verifiable, but that some possible senses-experience to describe such a reality have all been devoted to the production of nonsense.
should be relevant to the determination of its truth or falsehood. If a putative proposition
fails to satisfy this principle, and is not a tautology, then I hold that it is metaphysical, and AKH0127 METAPHYSICAL STATEMENTS DON'T MEET THE CRITERIA FOR A
that, being metaphysical, it is neither true nor false but literally senseless. MEANINGFUL SENTENCE
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
AKH0120 QUESTIONS OF GOD, BEING, HUMAN NATURE AND THE NATURE OF AND LOGIC, 1946, p.35.
THE WORLD ARE METAPHYSICAL Our charge against the metaphysician is not that he attempts to employ the understanding
R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979, in a field where it cannot profitably venture, but that he produces sentences which fail to
p.42-3. conform to the conditions under which alone a sentence can be literally significant. Nor
By the broadest definition, metaphysics is the study of the basic structure of existence and are we ourselves obliged to talk nonsense in order to show that all sentences of a certain
of the nature of being. It can also be defined as the study of those things which transcend type are necessarily devoid of literal significance. We need only formulate the criterion
experience, or as a theory of the first principles or ultimate truths of the universe. In which enables us to test whether a sentence expresses a genuine proposition about a matter
general, any philosophy which purports to "get down to fundamentals" and to describe the of fact, and then point out that the sentences under consideration fail to satisfy it.
nature of life and the world as a whole, or which speculates about the aim of existence,
may be called metaphysical. The questions considered by this department of philosophy AKH0128 METAPHYSICAL STATEMENTS ARE MEANINGLESS BECAUSE THEY
fall into three big groups: i questions about the nature of God and being, ii questions about ARE NOT JUSTIFIABLE IN PRINCIPLE
the nature of mankind, iii questions about the nature of the world. A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.36.
AKH0121 METAPHYSICAL QUESTIONS ARE RATIONALLY UNANSWERABLE On the other hand, such a metaphysical pseudo-proposition as "the Absolute enters into,
Anthony Giddens, Professor of Sociology, Cambridge, THE CONSEQUENCES OF but is Itself incapable of, evolution and progress," is not even in principle verifiable. For
MODERNITY, 1990, p.92-3. one cannot conceive of an observation which would enable one to determine whether the
Philosophers have shown us that on a cognitive level there are few, if any, aspects of our Absolute did, or did not, enter into evolution and progress.
personal existence about which we can be certain. This is perhaps part of the reflexivity
of modernity, but is certainly not limited in its application only to a specific historical AKH0129 METAPHYSICAL PROPOSITIONS ARE MEANINGLESS BECAUSE
period. Certain questions-"Do I really exist?" "Am I the same person today as I was THEY ARE NEITHER EMPIRICAL NOR TAUTOLOGICAL
yesterday?" "Do other people really exist?" "Does what I see in front of me continue to be A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
there when I turn my back on it?"-cannot be answered in an indubitable way by rational AND LOGIC, 1946, p.41.
argument. It should be mentioned here that the fact that the utterances of the metaphysician are
nonsensical does not follow simply from the fact that they are devoid of factual content.
AKH0122 METAPHYSICAL SPECULATION IS USELESS It follows from that fact, together with the fact that they are not a priori propositions. And
R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979, in assuming that they are not a priori propositions, we are once again anticipating the
p.152. conclusions of a later chapter in this book. For it will be shown there that a priori
The proposition which unites all philosophers who can be called positivist is that all propositions, which have always been attractive to philosophers on account of their
genuine knowledge is based on sense experience, and that metaphysical speculation can certainty, owe this certainty to the fact that they are tautologies. We may accordingly
produce no genuine knowledge and must be abandoned in favour of the methods of define a metaphysical sentence as a sentence which purports to express a genuine
science. proposition, but does, in fact, express neither a tautology nor an empirical hypothesis. And
as tautologies and empirical hypotheses form the entire class of significant propositions,
we are justified in concluding that all metaphysical assertions are nonsensical.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 12
AKH0130 STATEMENTS NOT LOGICAL OR EMPIRICAL ARE MEANINGLESS AKH0136 METAPHYSICS FAILS TO GUIDE ACTUAL PRACTICE
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH Roger Trigg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, RATIONALITY AND
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.54. SCIENCE, 1993, p.37.
Of Hume we may say not merely that he was not in practice a metaphysician, but that he Pragmatists object to metaphysics because it fails to guide our actual practices. Instead of
explicitly rejected metaphysics. We find the strongest evidence of this in the passage with starting with the conception of some reality which may not even be attainable, we must,
which he concludes his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. ''If," he says, "we take they believe, begin with the concrete things around us in our every day world William
in our hand any volume; of divinity, or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does James put the matter succinctly (1907, p.45) when he said that the pragmatist method
it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any aimed to settle metaphysical disputes that might otherwise never end. It appeals to what,
experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the if any, would be the practical consequences of the truth of one theory rather than another.
flames. For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion." What is this but a rhetorical In a famous image he said that 'you must bring out of each word its practical cash value'
version of our own thesis that a sentence which does not express either a formally true (1907, p.53).
proposition or an empirical hypothesis is devoid of literal significance?
AKH0137 METAPHYSICS ISN'T EVEN POETICALLY VALUABLE
AKH0131 STATEMENTS WHICH AREN'T LOGICAL OR EMPIRICAL ARE A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
MEANINGLESS AND LOGIC, 1946, p.44-5.
R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979, The view that the metaphysician is to be reckoned among the poets appears to rest on the
p.153-4. assumption that both talk nonsense. But this assumption is false. In the vast majority of
Extremely dissatisfied with every philosophical position ever adopted, logical positivists cases the sentences which are produced by poets do have literal meaning. The difference
maintained that the task of philosophy was not to produce propositions about the world but between the man who uses language scientifically and the man who uses it emotively is
only to clarify the meaning of statements made by others. According to this outlook, there not that the one produces sentences which are incapable of arousing emotion, and the other
are three possible kinds of statement: logical (including mathematics), scientific (including sentences which have no sense, but that the one is primarily concerned with the expression
statements of empirical observation) and nonsensical (including almost all philosophy of true propositions, the other with the creation of a work of art. Thus, if a work of science
hitherto). The object of classifying statements into one of these three kinds is to determine contains true and important propositions, its value as a work of science will hardly be
which discipline is appropriate For dealing with questions arising from it. Nonsensical diminished by the fact that they are inelegantly expressed. And similarly, a work of art is
propositions are held to be those which are not propositions of formal logic nor capable not necessarily the worse for the fact that all the propositions comprising it are literally
of being the subject of some scientific discipline: such propositions are not true or false, false. But to say that many literary works are largely composed of falsehoods, is not to say
but literally without meaning, as a sentence of gibberish is without meaning. that they are composed of pseudo-propositions. It is, in fact, very rare for a literary artist
to produce sentences which have no literal meaning. And where this does occur, the
AKH0132 NON-VERIFIABLE QUESTIONS ARE MEANINGLESS sentences are carefully chosen for their rhythm and balance. If the author writes nonsense,
R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979, it is because he considers it most suitable for bringing about the effects for which his
p.154. writing is designed.
The criterion for distinguishing between a scientific proposition and a nonsensical one is
called the principle of verifiability: a statement can be considered significant if one knows AKH0138 METAPHYSICAL STATEMENTS ARE INHERENTLY PARTIAL, HENCE
what observations would have to be made in order to verify or refute it; if no conceivable UNTRUE
observation could either verify or refute a statement, it is without meaning. Thus the R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979,
statement "All men have free will" is declared, not true or false, but meaningless, since no p.157.
observation can be imagined which would verify or refute it. To Nietzsche, all truth except scientific truth had been "unmasked" as error: a
metaphysical, religious, moral or rational "truth" was true only from a certain
AKH0133 METAPHYSICAL IDEAS ARE MEANINGLESS WHEN APPLIED TO perspective--considered absolutely it was false.
EXPERIENCED REALITY
R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979, AKH0139 METAPHYSICS IS BASED ON GRAMMATICAL AND LOGICAL
p.141. ERRORS
The Ideas of the soul, of the world as a totality, and of God-which are the three forms of A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
absolute unity demanded by the three forms of logical inference-can never be objects of AND LOGIC, 1946, p.45.
experience, but pure reason demands them as concepts. But if these concepts are applied The metaphysician, on the other hand, does not intend to write nonsense. He lapses into
to supposed objects of experience-- as if they were a posteriori concepts or categories then it through being deceived by grammar, or through committing errors of reasoning, such
error and illusion results. The propositions of metaphysics are without meaning if they as that which leads to the view that the sensible world is unreal. But it is not the mark of
involve either the application of the categories to things-in-themselves or the application a poet simply to make mistakes of this sort. There are some, indeed, who would see in the
of the Ideas to experienced reality. The foregoing is expounded in the Critique of Pure fact that the metaphysician's utterance are senseless a reason against the view that they
Reason, Kant's masterpiece. have aesthetic value. And, without going so far as this, we may safely say that it does not
constitute a reason for it.
AKH0134 METAPHYSICAL PROPOSITIONS ARE NEITHER ANALYTICAL NOR
EMPIRICAL, HENCE THEY ARE MEANINGLESS AKH0140 NIETZSCHE DEMONSTRATED THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF METAPHYSICS
R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979, R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979,
p.43. p.159.
The argument that metaphysical propositions are not meaningful can be stated as follows: Martin Heidegger, the third of the most famous "existentialists", objected to that term to
only empirical or analytic propositions are meaningful; but metaphysical propositions are characterize his own philosophy on the ground that, while Sartre's definition was certainly
neither empirical nor analytic; therefore they are not meaningful. correct, to say that "existence precedes essence" is still to speak the language of
metaphysics, and he, Heidegger, believed metaphysics to be impossible. To Heidegger,
AKH0135 METAPHYSICS CAN'T REVEAL THE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE Nietzsche was the "last metaphysician of the West" who had demonstrated the
Bertrand Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge, THE PROBLEMS OF impossibility of metaphysics: Heidegger's study is ontology- the nature of being-and
PHILOSOPHY, 1912, p.141. human existence he regards as a "window" through which being can be observed.
Most philosophers--or at any rate, very many- profess to be able to prove, by a priori
metaphysical reasoning, such things as the fundamental dogmas of religion, the essential AKH0141 LINGUISTIC PHILOSOPHY DEMONSTRATES THE FUTILITY OF
rationality of the universe, the illusoriness of matter, the unreality of all evil, and so on. METAPHYSICS
There can be no doubt that the hope of finding reason to believe such theses as these has R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979,
been the chief inspiration of many life-long students of philosophy. This hope, I believe, p.154.
is vain. It would seem that knowledge concerning the universe as a whole is not to be In the view of ordinary language philosophers, it is still possible to make positive
obtained by metaphysics, and that the proposed proofs that, in virtue of the laws of logic discoveries in philosophy, but not of the metaphysical kind. The philosopher's task is to
such and such things must exist and such and such others cannot, are not capable of understand the world through understanding the correct use of words. The analysis of
surviving a critical scrutiny. language in terms of the use of words leads, it is claimed, to the correction of many
misleading ideas. To understand how such words as "know", "believe", "promise" are
actually used is to come nearer to a knowledge of the mind and of the nature of man.
Philosophical perplexity is shown to arise in many cases not from any inherent difficulty
in the subject-matter but in a subtle misuse of language, which suggests entities which
have no real existence. For example, in his well-known book The Concept of Mind, Gilbert
Ryle shows that many untenable ideas concerning the nature of the mind have arisen
directly from the misunderstanding of how such words as "know, "believe" and "infer" are
actually used.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 13
AKH0142 IT'S NOT THE PURPOSE OF PHILOSOPHY TO DENY COMMON SENSE AKH0148 SENSE EXPERIENCE JUSTIFIES BELIEF IN OTHERS
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.52. AND LOGIC, 1946, p.130.
Locke is generally regarded as being one who, like G. E. Moore at the present time, puts And just as I must define material things and my own self in terms of their empirical
forward a philosophy of common sense.' But he does not, any more than Moore, attempt manifestations, so I must define other people in terms of their empirical manifestations-that
to give an a priori justification of our common-sense beliefs. Rather does he appear to have is, in terms of the behaviour of their bodies, and ultimately in terms of sense-contents. The
seen that it was not his business as a philosopher to affirm or deny the validity of any assumption that "behind" these sense-contents there are entities which are not even in
empirical propositions, but only to analyze them. For he is content, in his own words, "to principle accessible to my observation can have no more significance for me than the
be employed as an under-labourer in clearing the ground a little, and removing some of the admittedly metaphysical assumption that such entities "underlie" the sense-contents which
rubbish that lies in the way of knowledge"; and so devotes himself to the purely analytic constitute material things for me, or my own self. And thus I find that I have as good a
tasks of defining knowledge, and classifying propositions, and displaying the nature of reason to believe in the existence of other people as I have to believe in the existence of
material things. material things. For in each case my hypothesis is verified by the occurrence in my
sense-history of the appropriate series of sense-content.
AKH0143 COMMUNICATION ASSUMES OBJECTIVE EXTERNAL REALITY
John Searle, Berkeley philosopher, DEBATING P.C., ed. Paul Berman, 1992, p.114. AKH0149 COMMUNICATION JUSTIFIES BELIEF IN THE EXISTENCE OF OTHERS
The person who denies metaphysical realism presupposes the existence of a public A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
language, a language in which he or she communicates with other people. But what are the AND LOGIC, 1946, p.132-3.
conditions of possibility of communication in a public language? What do I have to In the same way, each of us has good reason to suppose that other people understand him,
assume when I ask a question or make a claim that is supposed to be understood by others? and that he understands them, because he observes that his utterances have the effect on
At least this much: If we are using words to talk about something, in a way that we expect their actions which he regards as appropriate, and that they also regard as appropriate the
to be understood by others, then there must be at least the possibility of something those effect which their utterances have on his actions; and mutual understanding is defined in
words can be used to talk about. Consider any claim, from particular statements such as terms of such harmony of behaviour. And, since to assert that two people inhabit a
"my dog has fleas," to theoretical claims such as "water is made of hydrogen and oxygen," common world is to assert that they are capable, at least in principle, of understanding one
to grand theories such as evolution or relativity, and you will see that they presuppose for another, it follows that each of us, although his sense-experiences are private to himself,
their intelligibility that we are taking metaphysical realism for granted. has good reason to believe that he and other conscious beings inhabit a common world. For
each of us observes the behaviour, on the part of himself and others, which constitutes the
AKH0144 OUR BASIC LINGUISTIC PROCESSES PRESUPPOSE METAPHYSICAL requisite understanding. And there is nothing in our epistemology which involves a denial
REALISM of this fact.
John Searle, Berkeley philosopher, DEBATING P.C., ed. Paul Berman, 1992, p.114.
I am not claiming that one can prove metaphysical realism to be true from some standpoint AKH0150 THE KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER PEOPLE IS A FICTITIOUS PROBLEM
that exists apart from our human linguistic practices. What I am arguing, rather, is that A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
those practices themselves presuppose metaphysical realism. So one cannot within those AND LOGIC, 1946, p.130-1.
practices intelligibly deny metaphysical realism, because the meaningfulness of our public It appears, then, that the fact that a man's sense-experiences are private to himself,
utterances already presupposes an independently existing reality to which expressions in inasmuch as each of them contains an organic sense-content which belongs to his body and
those utterances can refer. Metaphysical realism is thus not a thesis or a theory; it is rather to no other, is perfectly compatible with his having good reason to believe in the existence
the condition of having theses or theories or even of denying theses or theories. This is not of other men. For, if he is to avoid metaphysics, he must define the existence of other men
an epistemic point about how we come to know truth as opposed to falsehood, rather it is in terms of the actual and hypothetical occurrence of certain sense-contents, and then the
a point about the conditions of possibility of communicating intelligibly. Falsehood stands fact that the requisite sense-contents do occur in his sense-history gives him a good reason
as much in need of the real world as does truth. for believing that there are other conscious beings besides himself. And thus we see that
the philosophical problem of "our knowledge of other people" is not the insoluble, and,
AKH0145 SEPARATE BODIES AND SENSE EXPERIENCES CREATE SEPARATE indeed, fictitious, problem of establishing by argument the existence of entities which are
SELVES altogether unobservable, but is simply the problem of indicating the way in which a certain
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH type of hypothesis is empirically verified.
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.125.
But, as it is logically impossible for any organic sense-content to be an element of more AKH0151 EPISTEMOLOGICAL EMPHASIS IMPEDES PROGRESS
than one body, the relation of "belonging to the sense-history of the same self" turns out Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Harvard, THE AMERICAN EVASION OF
to be a symmetrical and transitive relation. And, from the fact that the relation of belonging PHILOSOPHY, 1989, p.93.
to the sense-history of the same self is symmetrical and transitive, it follows necessarily The epistemological problematic of modern philosophy now, in Dewey's view, stands in
that the series of sense-experiences which constitute the sense-histories of different selves the way of American and world progress. Like religion, for him, it misdirects human
cannot have any members in common. And this is tantamount to saying that it is logically powers and misleads human energies. Similar to the opiates of old, this problematic lingers
impossible for a sense-experience to belong to the sense-history of more than a single self. on owing to cultural lethargy, academic entrenchment, and existential quests for certainty.
To go beyond the epistemological problematic is to be a twentieth-century pioneer
AKH0146 PERSONAL IDENTITY IS GROUNDED IN BODILY IDENTITY "wandering in a wilderness" (his self-description in his only autobiographical account)
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH ready to reflect critically upon and realize new possibilities for a better future.
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.127.
For we have solved Hume's problem by defining personal identity in terms of bodily AKH0152 EPISTEMOLOGICAL CRITIQUES DON'T JUSTIFY ABANDONING
identity, and bodily identity is to be defined in terms of the resemblance and continuity of NORMAL POLICY ARGUMENTS
sense-contents. And this procedure is justified by the fact that whereas it is permissible, Stanley Fish, Duke English and law prof, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS FREE
in our language, to speak of a man as surviving a complete loss of memory, or a complete SPEECH, 1994, p.20.
change of character, it is self-contradictory to speak of a man as surviving the annihilation This is the hardest of lessons for the cultural and intellectual left, whose members want
of his body. For that which is supposed to survive by those who look forward to a "life very much to think that what they take to be their epistemological sophistication gives
after death' is not the empirical self, but a metaphysical entity-the soul. And this them an advantage over their adversaries and makes their reasons different in kind from
metaphysical entity, concerning which no genuine hypothesis can be formulated, has no the reasons of those who retain a faith in objectivity. But this is a flat-out misreading of the
logical connection whatsoever with the self. lesson anti-foundationalism preaches, for if all arguments are inevitably intermixed with
policy and therefore challengeable, no argument, even the argument that all arguments are
AKH0147 THE STATEMENT OF HOLISM IS LOGICALLY NONSENSICAL inevitably intermixed with policy, can claim an epistemological superiority that would give
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH its proponents an advantage independent of the hard work of presenting evidence,
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.146. elaborating analogies, marshaling authorities, and so on. It is because all arguments owe
We have, indeed, already remarked that the assertion that Reality is One, which it is their force to contingent historical factors that no meta-argument can make contingency
characteristic of a monist to make and a pluralist to controvert, is nonsensical, since no a matter either of suspicion or of celebration; contingency is a given and can count neither
empirical situation could have any bearing on its truth. for nor against an argument; any argument must still make its way by the same routes that
were available before contingency was recognized as a general condition.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 14
AKH0153 THE SUM OF ARGUMENTS CAN PRODUCE RELIABLE KNOWLEDGE AKH0160 SCIENCE IS THE MAIN ALLY OF THE POLITICALLY PROGRESSIVE
Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Harvard, THE AMERICAN EVASION OF Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
PHILOSOPHY, 1989, p.44. Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.23-4.
Fourth, the Cartesian philosophical method of inference overlooks the relatedness of ideas There are many reasonably well read people to whom the growing antagonism toward
to other ideas, propositions to other propositions. Indubitable foundations and absolute science on the part of a large number of left-wing intellectuals will come as something of
certainty are beyond human attainment, but warranted claims and reasonable conclusions a surprise. There is a tendency, mostly justified, as we have seen, to think of political
result from a"multitude and variety" of forms and styles of argumentation that "form an "progessivism" as naturally linked to a struggle against obscurantism, superstition, and the
integral unbroken part of the great body of truth." Peirce's image here is not that of "a chain dead weight of religious and social dogma. In this effort, the obvious ally and chief
which is no stronger than its weakest link, but a cable whose fibers may be ever so slender, resource is scientific knowledge of the world and the systematic methodology that supports
provided they are sufficiently numerous and intimately connected." it, as these have developed over the past few centuries, chiefly in Western culture.

AKH0154 EXTERNAL REALITY IS JUSTIFIED BY SENSE EXPERIENCE AKH0161 THE CRITIQUE OF SCIENCE CAN'T EXPLAIN ITS SUCCESSES
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.50. Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.58-9.
Thus it is common for writers on the subject of perception to assume that, unless one can Latour's picture of science is bleak and ominous: a war of all against all! Science is
give a satisfactory analysis of perceptual situations, one is not entitled to believe in the presented as a savage brawl in which, from day to day, the dominant chieftain is he who
existence of material things. But this is a complete mistake. What gives one the right to assembles, by dint of wealth, prestige, and warrior cunning, the biggest and nastiest gang
believe in the existence of a certain material thing is simply the fact that one has certain of henchmen (i.e., a "network," in Latour's parlance). We must remind ourselves-with a
sensations: for, whether one realises it or not, to say that the thing exists is equivalent to pinch if necessary- that this process is alleged to account for the emergence of celestial
saying that such sensations are obtainable. mechanics, Maxwell's equations, the periodic table of the elements, plate tectonics, the
genetic code, algebraic topology, quantum mechanics, massive parallel processing, and a
AKH0155 DEDUCTIVE LOGIC PROVIDES CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE million other insights and advances, modest as well as exalted. Empirical verification is
R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979, dismissed as a species of bluster, or as a kind of collective hallucination of the
p.40. power-crazed.
A form of knowledge apparently free from these limitations is deductive logic and
mathematical knowledge. In this case, certain knowledge seems to be attainable: the AKH0162 EMPHASIS ON EPISTEMOLOGY IS INTELLECTUALLY
conclusion of a valid syllogism is true, beyond any doubt. IMPOVERISHING
Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Harvard, THE AMERICAN EVASION OF
AKH0156 IT'S POSSIBLE TO LEARN FROM THE PAST PHILOSOPHY, 1989, p.89.
Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt prof, THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.38. Dewey's metaphilosophy is essentially an act of intellectual regicide; he wants to behead
And least of all can we afford to explain away our own shortcomings as historic modern philosophy by dethroning epistemology. For too long, modern philosophy has
necessities. Although the irresponsibility of America after the First World War was quite deferred to the authority of knowledge" in the name of science, without questioning this
understandable and predictable, it was not strictly inevitable. It was a moral and intellectual authority and demystifying science, i.e., bringing it down to earth, as it were. Therefore,
failure, for which Americans were responsible. They have learned something from it, and the diversity, complexity, and plurality of experience have been "assimilated to a
must continue to learn; for in all history no nation has faced such staggering nonempirical concept of knowledge." This impoverished empiricism "has said Lord, Lord,
responsibilities as face America today. Experience, Experience, but in practice it has served ideas forced into experience, not
gathered from it."
AKH0157 GOOD REASONS DERIVED FROM SUB-DISCIPLINES OFFER VALID
KNOWLEDGE AKH0163 FOCUS ON EPISTEMOLOGY PRODUCES AN ARID SCHOLASTICISM
Frederick Crews, U Cal-Berkeley, English prof., SKEPTICAL ENGAGEMENTS, 1986, Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Harvard, THE AMERICAN EVASION OF
p.174. PHILOSOPHY, 1989, p.78.
We now know that individual sub-disciplines, not the sciences en masse, become coherent Dewey's aim is to evade the epistemological problematic of modern philosophy and
and progressive when their practitioners have developed solutions to major problems and thereby emancipate philosophy from its arid scholasticism and cultural conservatism. Just
acquired a feeling for what Thomas Kuhn calls the "good reasons" that tacitly inhabit those as Peirce evaded Cartesianism, so Dewey calls into question the most fundamental project
solutions: "accuracy, scope, simplicity, fruitfulness, and the like" (Kuhn 1974b, 261). Each of modern philosophy: the bridging of the gulf between subject and object by means of
of the human studies contains comparable specialties-research traditions that generate epistemological mechanisms. Unlike Peirce--and similar to James--Dewey embarks on his
well-focused debate, high standards of reasoning, and even a degree of consensus. I critique by interrogating the notion of experience deployed by modern philosophers and
suggest, not that we stop theorizing and expressing our sociopolitical views, but that we suggests a deeper and richer conception of experience. His basic claim is that the marginal
notice where our most substantial theories always originate: in concrete disciplinary significance of modern philosophy in North Atlantic cultures results from paltry notions
engagement. of experience derived from a ''spectator theory of knowledge" and the ''idea of invidiously
real reality." Dewey's goal is to show just how poverty-ridden (and wrong!) these notions
AKH0158 THE RELIABILITY OF SCIENCE IS BEYOND IS BEYOND SERIOUS of experience are; to reveal the concomitant spectator theory of knowledge as a blinding
QUESTION philosophic fiction; and to blame the idea that philosophy somehow knows Reality more
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and ultimately than other science for the cultural isolation and irrelevance of philosophy In this
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.256. way, Dewey's metaphilosophy is a kind of counterepistemology that is, a creative revision
At this point in history, for anyone who has read it honestly, the status of science as a of Emerson's evasion of epistemology-centered modern philosophy.
reliable, profound, and productive source of knowledge ought to be beyond serious
question. AKH0164 REJECTING EPISTEMOLOGY FREES PHILOSOPHY TO DEAL WITH
REAL PROBLEMS
AKH0159 MODERN LIFE DEPENDS ON SCIENCE Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Harvard, THE AMERICAN EVASION OF
Roger Trigg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, RATIONALITY AND PHILOSOPHY, 1989, p.93.
SCIENCE, 1993, p.35. Dewey echoes these metaphilosophical sentiments in his 1919 lectures at the Imperial
Any discussion about the possible justification of science is likely to be met by the University in Tokyo, Japan, published as Reconstruction in Philosophy (1920). Modern
conviction that whatever its rational foundations, it certainly works. Scientists seem philosophic thought has been so preoccupied with these puzzles of epistemology . . . that
progressively more able to control the physical world. It has made more difference to the. many students are at a loss to know what would be left for philosophy if there were
lives of ordinary people than any other human activity. Modern life is dominated, even removed both the metaphysical task of distinguishing between the noumenal and
cocooned, by the products of this century's physical science. Every time we turn a switch phenomenal worlds and the epistemological task of telling how a separate subject can
to obtain light or heat, every time we watch television or get a cool drink out of the know an independent object. But would not the elimination of these traditional problems
refrigerator, we affirm the obvious success of science. Our transport by road, rail, air or sea permit philosophy to devote itself to a more fruitful and more needed task? Would it not
depends on modern inventions. Life, in short, would be unimaginable without the benefits encourage philosophy to face the great social and moral defects and troubles from which
of modern science. humanity suffers, to concentrate its attention upon clearing up the causes and exact nature
of these evils and upon developing a clear idea of better social possibilities . . . ?
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 15
AKH0165 EPISTEMOLOGICAL DOUBT ISN'T A REASON NOT TO ACT AKH0170 REJECTING THE WORLD OF SENSE EXPERIENCE IS NONSENSICAL
Stanley Fish, Duke English and Law prof, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS FREE A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
SPEECH, 1994, p.113. AND LOGIC, 1946, p.39.
That reasoning, as I understand it, goes as follows: although we ourselves are certain that A good example of the kind of utterance that is condemned by our criterion as being not
the Holocaust was a fact, facts are notoriously interpretable and disputable; therefore even false but nonsensical would be the assertion that the world of sense-experience was
nothing is ever really settled, and we have no right to reject something just because we altogether unreal. If must, of course, be admitted that our senses do sometimes deceive us.
regard it as pernicious and false. But the fact-if I can use that word-that settled truths can We may, as the result of having certain sensations, expect certain other sensations to be
always be upset, at least theoretically, does not mean that we cannot affirm and rely on obtainable which are, in fact, not obtainable. But, in all such cases, it is further
truths that according to our present lights seem indisputable; rather, it means exactly the sense-experience that informs us of the mistakes that arise out of sense-experience. We say
opposite: in the absence of absolute certainty of the kind that can only be provided by that the senses sometimes deceive us, just because the expectations to which our
revelation (something I do not rule out but have not yet experienced), we must act on the sense-experiences give rise do not always accord with what we subsequently experience.
basis of the certainty we have so far achieved. Truth may, as Milton said, always be in the That is, we rely on our senses to substantiate or confute the judgements which are based
course of emerging, and we must always be on guard against being so beguiled by its on our sensations. And therefore the fact that our perceptual judgements are sometimes
present shape that we ignore contrary evidence; but, by the same token, when it happens found to be erroneous has not the slightest tendency to show that the world of
that the present shape of truth is compelling beyond a reasonable doubt, it is our moral sense-experience is unreal.
obligation to act on it and not defer action in the name of an interpretative future that may
never arrive. By running the First Amendment up the nearest flagpole and rushing to salute AKH0171 NO OBSERVATION CAN PROVE THE WORLD OF SENSE EXPERIENCE
it, the student editors defaulted on that obligation and gave over their responsibility to a UNREAL
so-called principle that was not even to the point. A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.39.
AKH0166 REJECTING THE POSSIBILITY OF SYSTEMATIC KNOWLEDGE IS And, indeed, it is plain that no conceivable observation, or series of observations, could
ABSURD have any tendency to show that the world revealed to us by sense-experience was unreal.
Anthony Giddens, Professor of Sociology, Cambridge, THE CONSEQUENCES OF Consequently, anyone who condemns the sensible world as a world of mere appearance,
MODERNITY, 1990, p.46-7. as opposed to reality, is saying something which, according to our criterion of significance,
Let us first of all dismiss as unworthy of serious intellectual consideration the idea that no is literally nonsensical. . . .
systematic knowledge of human action or trends of social development is possible. Were
anyone to hold such a view (and if indeed it is not inchoate in the first place), they could AKH0172 ALL KNOWLEDGE COMES THROUGH EXPERIENCE
scarcely write a book about it. The only possibility would be to repudiate intellectual Bertrand Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge, THE PROBLEMS OF
activity altogether-even "playful deconstruction" -in favour, say, of healthy physical PHILOSOPHY, 1912, p.148-9.
exercise. Whatever the absence of foundationalism in epistemology implies, it is not this. Thus knowledge as to what exists becomes limited to what we can learn from experience -
not to what we can actually experience, for, as we have seen, there is much knowledge by
AKH0167 THE EXTERNAL WORLD IS KNOWABLE THROUGH DIRECT description concerning things of which we have no direct experience. But in all cases of
OBSERVATION knowledge by description, we need some connexion of universals, enabling us, from such
Hazel Barnes, Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado, AN EXISTENTIALIST and such a datum. Thus in regard to physical objects, for example, the principle that sense-
ETHICS, 1967, p.132. data are signs of physical objects is itself a connexion of universals; and it is only in virtue
If one is speaking about physical objects, I see no objection here. If one identifies a table of this principle that experience enables us to acquire knowledge concerning physical
as a table, knows its typical function and the molecular structure of its material, one does objects. The same applies to the law of causality, or, to descend to what is less general, to
indeed know what a table is. Even if Sartre is right in insisting on a certain such principles as the law of gravitation.
transphenomenality of Being, claiming that after one has performed a host of examinations
of an object, there is still something left over-even so one knows what a table is. It is those AKH0173 ALL FACTUAL PROPOSITIONS ARE EMPIRICAL, SO THEY SHOULD
things I have discovered about it even if it is something more too. Stating that one never BE VERIFIABLE
knows absolutely is not to deny all knowledge as such. Rand is right in insisting that we A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
have certainty about many specific things even if absolute certainty is lacking. AND LOGIC, 1946, p.41.
As to the validity of the verification principle, in the form in which we have stated it, a
AKH0168 THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE TO LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE demonstration will be given in the course of this book. For it will be shown that all
Roger Trigg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, RATIONALITY AND propositions which have factual content are empirical hypotheses; and that the function of
SCIENCE, 1993, p.235. an empirical hypothesis is to provide a rule for the anticipation of experience. And this
With his doctrines about scientific revolutions and the incommensurability of scientific means that every empirical hypothesis must be relevant to some actual, or possible,
theories, no one has done more to challenge the place of rationality in science than T. S. experience, so that a statement which is not relevant to any experience is not an empirical
Kuhn. Yet it is intriguing that even he feels an urge for a rational grounding for induction. hypothesis, and accordingly has no factual content. But this is precisely what the principle
He notes that the whole problem arises from the recognition that we have no rational of verifiability asserts.
alternative to simply learning from experience.
AKH0174 LOGIC IS AN EFFECTIVE TOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY ARGUMENT
AKH0169 WE SHOULD ASSUME THE VALIDITY OF SENSE DATA Irving Copi, Professor of Philosophy, University of Hawaii, INTRODUCTION TO
Bertrand Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge, THE PROBLEMS OF LOGIC, 1972, p.vii.
PHILOSOPHY, 1912, p.151. There are obvious benefits to be gained from the study of logic: heightened ability to
Some knowledge, such as knowledge of the existence of our sense-data, appears quite express ideas clearly and concisely; increased skill in defining one's terms; enlarged
indubitable, however calmly and thoroughly we reflect upon it. In regard to such capacity to formulate arguments rigorously and to scrutinize them critically. But the
knowledge, philosophical criticism does not require that we should abstain from belief. But greatest benefit, in my judgment, is the recognition that reason can be applied in every
there are beliefs--such, for example, as the belief that physical objects exactly resemble our aspect of human affairs. Democratic institutions are under attack today from all directions.
sense-data- which are entertained until we begin to reflect, but are found to melt away They can best be defended by being made to work. And this can be accomplished only by
when subjected to a close inquiry. Such beliefs philosophy will bid us reject, unless some each citizen thinking for himself, discussing issues freely with his fellows, deliberating,
new line of argument is found to support them. But to reject the beliefs which do not weighing evidence, and acknowledging that with effort we can tell the difference between
appear open to any objections, however closely we examine them, is not reasonable, and good and bad arguments. If we are to govern ourselves well and responsibly, we must he
not what philosophy advocates. reasonable. The study of logic can give us not only practice in reasoning but respect for
reason.

AKH0175 LOGIC ILLUMINATES THE WORLD


Morris Cohen, Professor of Philosophy, City College of New York, A PREFACE TO
LOGIC, 1944, p.10.
Reflection shows that logic cannot be isolated from any realm of being, cannot, for
example, be confined to the analysis or description of thought or of symbolism, even
assuming it were possible to have thought without objects, or symbols without things
symbolized. Indeed, logic could not possibly illumine thoughts and symbols if it did not
illumine that which is the object of thought and symbolism. If logic were indeed only a
manipulation of symbols it would be as devoid of philosophical significance and scientific
utility as chess or tic-tac-toe.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 16
AKH0176 ALL LOGICAL PROPOSITIONS ARE VALID AKH0183 HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE HAS MADE MAJOR ADVANCES
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.31-2.
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.81. It is always easy to be cynical about history, as 'a pack of tricks we play on the dead.' Yet
A point which is not sufficiently brought out by Russell, if indeed it is recognised by him it is impossible to deny the impressive advance that has been made in the last hundred
at all, is that every logical proposition is valid in its own right. Its validity does not depend years. Historians have built up an immense body of factual knowledge, knowledge that is
on its being incorporated in a system, and deduced from certain propositions which are no less genuine because it is subject to different theoretical interpretations. They have
taken as self-evident. The construction of systems of logic is useful as a means of systematically widened, deepened, and clarified the sources of knowledge by philological,
discovering and certifying analytic propositions, but it is not in principle essential even for paleographical, archaeological, and ethnological research. They have come to realize the
this purpose. For it is possible to conceive of a symbolism in which every analytic importance of commonplace, everyday events, in particular the economic activities that
proposition could be seen to be analytic in virtue of its form alone. had been neglected in favor of the political and military. They have learned a great deal
about the influence of both the physical and the cultural environment, what lies below
AKH0177 LOGIC AND MATH ARE TRUE BY DEFINITION factual history and above it. They have become aware of evolutions of origins and growths,
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH of the history of history itself. Their very ignorance is suffused with knowledge, which at
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.77. least keeps them from being ignorant of their ignorance.
The principles of logic and mathematics are true universally simply because we never
allow them to be anything else. And the reason for this is that we cannot abandon them AKH0184 OUR SOCIAL COMPLEXITY ENHANCES OUR HISTORICAL
without contradicting ourselves, without sinning against the rules which govern the use of UNDERSTANDING
language, and so making our utterance self-stultifying. In other words, the truths of logic Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.33-4.
and mathematics are analytic propositions or tautologies. Our distinctive interests and beliefs make it possible for history to be relatively
disinterested and impartial. Through Marx, Freud, Sumner, Pareto, Boas, Spengler, and
AKH0178 PURE LOGIC CAN RESOLVE ALL AUTHENTICALLY PHILOSOPHICAL many others, we have become more aware of the inveterate habit of rationalization and the
QUESTIONS sources of bias--the class interests, the mores, the conditioned reflexes of culture, the
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH unconscious assumptions, the 'climate of opinion.' Although we can never entirely escape
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.133. or control our climate, never attain a God's-eye view, we can more freely discount and
That is to say, the questions with which philosophy is concerned are purely logical supplement-at least when we read the other fellow's history. The very crisis of our
questions; and although people do in fact dispute about logical questions, such disputes are civilization is in this aspect an aid to understanding. In a stabler society we might expect
always unwarranted. For they involve either the denial of a proposition which is to have a simpler, stabler past, whose primary meaning was the wisdom of the ancestors.
necessarily true, or the assertion of a proposition which is necessarily false. In all such We are not naturally wiser than our ancestors; but the revolutionary conditions of our
cases, therefore, we may be sure that one party to the dispute has been guilty of a thought and life have forced a realization of relativity and complexity, the uncertainties of
miscalculation which a sufficiently close scrutiny of the reasoning will enable us to detect. all history, and the ambiguities of the good old days that somehow led to these very bad
So that if the dispute is not immediately resolved, it is because the logical error of which days.
one party is guilty is too subtle to be easily detected, and not because the question at issue
is irresoluble on the available evidence. AKH0185 SCHOLARLY CONSENSUS PROVIDES SUFFICIENTLY RELIABLE
KNOWLEDGE
AKH0179 ARISTOTELIAN LOGIC HAS BEEN SUPPLEMENTED BUT HASN'T Frederick Crews, U Cal-Berkeley English Prof., SKEPTICAL ENGAGEMENTS, 1986,
BEEN DISPROVEN p.viii.
Morris Cohen, Professor of Philosophy, City College of New York, A PREFACE TO My reply to the School of Suspicion is that its Romantic, individualistic model of the
LOGIC, 1944, p.9. search for knowledge has been erroneous from the start. The turn toward nihilism is
In the history of ideas the past century is one marked by an extraordinary development of unavoidable if we begin by picturing the single mind alone with the enigmatic universe on
logic. A discipline which had remained for more than 20 centuries in approximately the one side and a meager stock of metaphors on the other. My own starting point is an
state to which the mind of Aristotle reduced it, suddenly entered upon a period of rapid acknowledgment that we do, by now, know a great many things with enough assurance to
growth and systematic development. While the essential elements of the Aristotelian logic profit from their consequences. We know them, not because the isolated mind is a reliable
have not been overthrown or shaken, the labors of Boole, Peirce, Schroder, Frege, Russell, instrument or because some magus has bequeathed us his vision, but because our
Whitehead, and a host of fellow workers have produced a calculus of classes and a calculus disciplinary communities have evolved ways of choosing shrewdly between an array of
of propositions in which the Aristotelian theory of the syllogism is seen to occupy only a (mostly poor, often foolish) cognitive opportunities.
tiny corner.
AKH0186 SCIENCE IS CONTINUALLY CHECKED BY REALITY
AKH0180 MODERN LOGIC CAN DEAL WITH PROBABILITIES Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
Morris Cohen, Professor of Philosophy, City College of New York, A PREFACE TO Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.234.
LOGIC, 1944, p.11. Science is, above all else, a reality-driven enterprise. Every active investigator is
Again, the traditional logic has seemed to assume a world of hard and fast concepts, a inescapably aware of this. It creates the pain as well as much of the delight of research.
world in which everything is black or white and where there are no gradations or twilight Reality is the overseer at one's shoulder, ready to rap one's knuckles or to spring the trap
zones. But modern logic is a more flexible instrument than the Aristotelian syllogism, and into which one has been led by overconfidence, or by a too-complacent reliance on mere
it is fully capable of dealing with the world of probabilities and uncertainties which is the surmise. Science succeeds precisely because it has accepted a bargain in which even the
true object of science and the material of daily life. boldest imagination stands hostage to reality. Reality is the unrelenting angel with whom
scientists have agreed to wrestle.
AKH0181 UNCERTAINTY DOESN'T NEGATE THE VALUE OF HISTORICAL
KNOWLEDGE AKH0187 SCIENCE GIVES POWER BECAUSE IT'S ACCURATE
Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.41-2. Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
History itself is the deadliest enemy of the Eternal and Absolute. The whole history of Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.220.
thought is a refutation of the finality to which thinkers have endlessly aspired. I conclude, The natural view-that science gives power to those who understand and underwrite it
accordingly, that in first and last matters we cannot conclude with absolute certainty. But precisely because it sees accurately into the workings of nature-is, of course correct; but
I should at once add that the admission of ultimate uncertainty does not mean complete it sorts ill with the temperament of the would-be exorcist.
uncertainty. The absolutist tradition of Christendom leads men to assume that if we don't
have absolute standards we can't have any standards, and that if we are not standing on the AKH0188 ENDURING SCIENTIFIC RESULTS CAPTURE OBJECTIVE REALITY
Rock of Ages we are standing on nothing. Actually, we can and do know plenty of Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
objective truths without knowing the whole or final Truth. Beneath the manifold diversity Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.139.
of human history, more specifically, we can discern the basic uniformities and continuities No serious thinker about science, least of all scientists themselves, doubts that personal and
that make it an intelligible history, not a chaos. social factors influence problem choice and the acceptance of results by the scientific
community. Few serious thinkers about science, however, outside the camps of feminists
AKH0182 HISTORICAL UNDERSTANDING IS KEY TO COPING WITH THE and social constructivists, argue that the stable results of science, those that have been
FUTURE subject to empirical test over time and have survived, are not written in nature! Most know
Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Harvard, THE AMERICAN EVASION OF that whatever the underlying calligraphy, self correcting science is the best translation of
PHILOSOPHY, 1989, p.91. it we have.
Dewey's prospective instrumentalist viewpoint here is deeply indebted to Emerson, yet his
pervasive historical consciousness leads him to take with more seriousness than Emerson
the role of the past in the present and its use for the future. Imaginative recovery of the
bygone is indispensable to successful invasion of the future, but its status is that of an
instrument the movement of the agent-patient to meet the future is partial and passionate,
yet detached and impartial study of the past is the only alternative to luck in assuring
success to passion.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 17
AKH0189 TWENTIETH CENTURY SCIENCE PROVES RATIONAL KNOWLEDGE AKH0195 THE ETHNICITY OF SCIENTISTS DOESN'T INFLUENCE THEIR
IS POSSIBLE RESULTS
Frederick Crews, U Cal-Berkeley English Prof., SKEPTICAL ENGAGEMENTS, 1986, Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
p.xvii. Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.131.
The undoubted achievements of twentieth-century science are sufficient testimony against We share with enthusiasm the hope that the ethnic and sexual demography of the sciences
the envious proposal that scientists possess no evidential basis for choosing between rival will come to resemble that of the human species as a whole. But the idea that physics is in
ideas. The truism that all facts are theory-laden is irrelevant; what counts is whether a for a major conceptual upgrade because multiethnic perspectives will be brought to bear
given piece of evidence, when judged by an expert community possessing common values upon it is sheer fantasy. Recall that since the end of the eighteenth century various groups
and rules, is sufficiently independent of the particular theories in conflict. at one or another time regarded by European Christians as lesser breeds have come
increasingly to be represented in science. These groups include, inter alia, Jews, Indians,
AKH0190 SCIENCE ALLOWS THE PROGRESSIVE DISCOVERY OF TRUTH Arabs, Pakistanis, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. As individuals, many of them have
Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.143. made contributions of the first rank and of enormous influence, and many have been
In the simplest terms, the only effective world community that now exists is the honored appropriately. To claim that their ethnicity left a particular stamp on the content
community of science. In this respect, if in no other, the vision of eighteenth-century of their achievement is to revert to the odious ethnic essentialism of Professor Lenard.
liberal philosophers has been achieved. For the progress of science, as they saw, is not the
progress of some one creed at the expense of others. It is the progress of a set of rules and AKH0196 SCIENTIFIC METHOD OFFERS OBJECTIVE KNOWLEDGE OF SOCIETY
procedures which allow men to co-ordinate their thinking and to co-operate in the search Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.32.
for truth. In spite of all their disagreement, moreover, historians are now generally agreed in
discounting the most obvious explanation, that Rome succumbed to barbarian invasions;
AKH0191 SCIENCE'S IMPERSONAL STANDARDS MAKE IT OBJECTIVE they have a deeper insight than the great Gibbon had, and perceive the dry rot that had set
Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.139. in during the Golden Age he celebrated. For they now have the advantage of a vast,
Individual scientists, accordingly, are likely to be just as jealous of their reputations, international, cooperative enterprise, conducted in a scientific spirit. Although every
attached to their own ideas, and incapable of taking the ideas of others seriously, as the rest historian remains fallible and subject to bias, his work remains subject to correction and
of the human race. But the ideas that come to be accepted by the scientific community are criticism by his fellows, in professional journals and congresses. The relative objectivity
objective; and they are objective in the precise sense that they meet impersonal standards of contemporary social science, as Karl Popper points out, is due not to the impartiality of
which are independent of the peculiar perspective of any individual. all the social scientists, but to the publicity and community of the scientific method.

AKH0192 SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE CAN BE OBJECTIVE AKH0197 SCIENCE IS THE MOST RELIABLE ROUTE TO KNOWLEDGE
Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, Roger Trigg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, RATIONALITY AND
p.138-9. SCIENCE, 1993, p.40.
There are two principal reasons why scientific ideas are objective, and neither has anything Rescher's pragmatism, however, means that he goes further than Wittgenstein. He does
to do with the personal merits or social status of individual scientists. The first is that these believe that science, by any test, provides the most reliable route to knowledge: The
ideas are the products of a co-operative process in which the individual has to submit his mechanisms of scientific reasoning clearly represent the most developed and sophisticated
results to the test of public observations which others can perform. The second is that these of our probative methods. No elaborate argumentation is necessary to establish the all-too
ideas are the results of a process in which no ideas or assumptions are regarded as evident fact that science has come out on top. (1992, p.178).
sacrosanct, and all inherited ideas are subject to the continuing correction of experience.
AKH0198 SCIENCE IS OUR BEST TOOL FOR DEALING WITH THE WORLD
AKH0193 SCIENCE OFFERS A UNIQUE SOURCE OF OBJECTIVE INSIGHT Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Harvard, THE AMERICAN EVASION OF
Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.143. PHILOSOPHY, 1989, p.97-8.
The achievement of such an institutional technique for achieving objective beliefs is, The cultural implication here is that Dewey's acceptance of the authority of science is itself
indeed, the signal intellectual achievement of modern liberal society. It is the one point at instrumental-science is simply the best tool we conscious organisms have to cope with our
which that society differs most fundamentally from other societies. There are techniques environment. The metaphysical implication is that although science has no monopoly on
in all societies for fixing men's beliefs, and for bringing them into some sort of agreement what is true and real, its predictive and explanatory powers help us deal more effectively
on the facts. All of these methods involve accepting something without question--custom, with the world than anything else available to us.
a revelation, the superior judgment of selected individuals; most of them also contain an
element of coercion; none of them are self-corrective in a steady and deliberate way. The AKH0199 THOUGH UNCERTAIN, SCIENCE OFFERS THE MOST RELIABLE
institutions of modern science, in contrast, represent a radically new technique for KNOWLEDGE POSSIBLE
coordinating men's ideas without coercion, and for bringing unquestioned assumptions or Anthony Giddens, Professor of Sociology, Cambridge, THE CONSEQUENCES OF
"ideologies" under criticism. The emergence of such a revolutionary institution in the MODERNITY, 1990, p.39.
modern world represents a turning point in the way in which human society achieves its Even philosophers who most staunchly defend the claims of science to certitude, such as
beliefs. Karl Popper, acknowledge that, as he expresses it, "all science rests upon shifting sand."
In science, nothing is certain, and nothing can be proved, even if scientific endeavour
AKH0194 SCIENCE IS NOT DETERMINED BY SOCIAL CONDITIONS provides us with the most dependable information about the world to which we can aspire.
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.55. AKH0200 SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE IS USEFUL EVEN IF ULTIMATELY
The notion that such work as that of Newton and Einstein was "needed" by the UNCERTAIN
technological infrastructures of their respective societies is plain nonsense. Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.362.
Seventeenth-century merchants and navigators needed innovation in the form of an Scientific knowledge is no less useful because of ultimate uncertainty; it serves the quite
accurate chronometer, not an explanation of Keplerian ellipses in terms of the inverse sufficient purpose of enabling us to go about our business in a world whose metaphysical
square law. Turn-of-the-century industrialists were not sending out desperate requests for 'reality' we do not absolutely need to know. Reliable knowledge is not enough by itself but
a more subtle understanding of the invariance of physical law under change of inertial nothing can take its place no arbitrary assertion of higher truths and goods.
frame. To offer this sort of "explanation" as an account of profound intellectual
developments is to show unlimited contempt for the very notion of explanation, as well as AKH0201 SCIENCE IS VALIDATED BY ITS HIGH DEGREE OF PREDICTIVE
a boundless ignorance of the phenomena one is trying to explain. Aronowitz's thesis is no SUCCESS
more than an unsupported dictum that declares, in effect, that by some mystifying process, Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
the Zeitgeist Fairy of 1665 contrived to tickle Newton's brain cells with her magic wand, Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.128
while her counterpart of 1905 did the same for Einstein! This is not intellectual history, Does physics, then, have an explanation for the history of physics? In one very strong
sociology, philosophy, or anything else worth a scholar's serious attention. sense it does: the history of physics as a collection of ideas is largely explained by the
objective nature of the phenomena it describes and schematizes. Thus Kepler's laws of
motion are explained by the fact that, to a high degree of precision, the planets move as
predicted by those laws This seeming tautology will leave relativists and cultural
constructivists feeling quite out of sorts; but, as explanations go, it is supremely solid and
convincing.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 18
AKH0202 SCIENTIFIC THEORIES ARE VALIDATED BY SUCCESSFUL AKH0208 SCIENCE IS NOT AN IDEOLOGY
PREDICTIONS Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956,
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH p.142-3.
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.50. But all of these soft impeachments of science rest on the view that science, like any other
The task of defining rationality is precisely the sort of task that it is the business of body of belief, depends on certain "ultimate" or unquestioned assumptions that it is, in a
philosophy to undertake. But in achieving this it does not justify scientific procedure. What word, another ideology. And this involves a fundamental misconception. For science is not
justifies scientific procedure, to the extent to which it is capable of being justified, is the a single, unified creed, and it does not rest on any wholesale presuppositions. It makes no
success of the predictions to which it gives rise: and this can be determined only in actual advance commitments which it is unprepared to discard under any circumstances. The
experience. By itself, the analysis of a synthetic principle tells us nothing whatsoever about so-called "metaphysical foundations of science," about which we hear so much, are at best
its truth. a misnomer for the historical origins of scientific ideas, and have nothing to do with the
content or truth of these ideas. For science, quite simply, is not a creed in competition with
AKH0203 SUCCESSFUL PREDICTIONS ARE NECESSARY FOR SURVIVAL other creeds; it is not the view of a sect. It is a way of bringing all creeds to the test of
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH certain common techniques and methods. And when we reject it for being provincial, we
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.97. reject the one language which has been able effectively to cross boundaries and to draw
The function of a system of hypotheses is to warn us beforehand what will be our men together.
experience in a certain field-to enable us to make accurate predictions. The hypotheses may
therefore be described as rules which govern our expectation of future experience. There AKH0209 EVEN KUHN IS NOT A STRONG SCIENTIFIC RELATIVIST
is no need to say why we require such rules. It is plain that on our ability to make Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
successful predictions depends the satisfaction of even our simplest desires, including the Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.139.
desire to survive. Those "recent developments" turn out to be not so recent. Chief among them is--of
course-the work of Thomas Kuhn, whose studies of theory choice led him to conclude that
AKH0204 NATURAL SCIENCE SUCCESSFULLY PREDICTS major upheavals of scientific theory-- "paradigm shifts"-are conditioned not only by the
Isaiah Berlin, Professor of Social and Political Theory, Oxford, FOUR ESSAYS ON officially recognized cognitive processes of textbook science, but by various social factors
LIBERTY, 1969, p.43. as well as personal whim and aesthetic considerations. Only the most superficial reading
The notion that one can discover large patterns or regularities in the procession of of this work and of subsequent commentary by Kuhn on his critics can lend support to
historical events is naturally attractive to those who are impressed by the success of the strong forms of relativism, a position that Kuhn is at pains most energetically to deny. He
natural sciences in classifying, correlating, and above all predicting. is a firm believer in scientific progress and in the power of science to "solve puzzles,"
while harboring doubts only about the permanent representational value of any regnant
AKH0205 SUCCESS IN PRACTICE IS THE ONLY TEST OF A SCIENTIFIC THEORY paradigm. Moreover, he clearly believes that the dominant factors in theory choice are,
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH indeed, the ones traditionally celebrated by scientists: logical economy, explanatory
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.50. parsimony, and the capacity to synthesize once-disparate theories into a conceptual unity.
Actually, we shall see that the only test to which a form of scientific procedure which
satisfies the necessary condition of self-consistency is subject, is the test of its success in AKH0210 KUHN'S PERSPECTIVE IS NOT GENERALLY ACCEPTED
practice. We are entitled to have faith in our procedure just so long as it does the work Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
which it is designed to do- that is, enables us to predict future experience, and so to control Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.139.
our environment. Even that clarification of Kuhn's position, an epistemological progenitor of the more
iconoclastic social-constructivist critiques, is hardly a recent development, and it hardly
AKH0206 MODERN KNOWLEDGE PROVIDES BONA FIDE CUMULATIVE justifies Keller's hopes for epistemic reform, especially when one considers that Kuhn's
KNOWLEDGE work, well known as it is, is regarded with considerable skepticism by a majority of
Francis Fukuyama, Rand, THE END OF HISTORY AND THE LAST MAN, 1992, p.72. contemporary philosophers of science.
For if we look around at the entire range of human social endeavor, the only one that is by
common consensus unequivocally cumulative and directional is modern natural science. AKH0211 SCIENCE IS PROGRESSIVE, NOT JUST A SUCCESSION OF
The same cannot be said for activities like painting, poetry, music, or architecture: it is not PARADIGMS
clear that Rauschenberg is a better painter than Michelangelo or Schoenberg superior to Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
Bach, simply because they lived in the twentieth century; Shakespeare and the Parthenon Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.180.
represent a certain kind of perfection and it makes no sense to speak of ''advancing" The story of AIDS, more so perhaps than any other in contemporary science, refutes,
beyond them. Natural science, on the other hand, builds upon itself: there are certain simply as it is recounted, the notion that science is not so much a matter of expanding
"facts" about nature that were hidden from the great Sir Isaac Newton, that are accessible knowledge as it is of competing, culturally constructed paradigms. To be sure, paradigms
to any undergraduate physics student today simply because he or she was born later. The compete; and they contribute at any moment to the formulation of questions and the choice
scientific understanding of nature is neither cyclical nor random; mankind does not return of "puzzles" (Thomas Kuhn's word); but the succession of paradigms does not involve
periodically to the same state of ignorance, nor are the results of modern natural science starting each time from scratch. Theory choice is not just a matter of politics and style, as
subject to human caprice. Human beings are free to pursue certain branches of science Kuhn himself insisted in defending his work against its critics.
rather than others, and they can obviously apply the results as they please, but neither
dictators nor parliaments can repeal the laws of nature, much as they are tempted to do so. AKH0212 PERSPECTIVISM DOESN'T EFFECTIVELY INDICT SCIENCE
Scientific knowledge has been accumulating for a very long period, and has had a Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
consistent if frequently unperceived effect in shaping the fundamental character of human Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.40.
societies. Those that possess ferrous metallurgy and agriculture were quite different from So far as we are concerned, perspectivism, in its soberest and most prudent form, has
ones that only knew stone tools or hunting and gathering. But a qualitative change interesting things to say about the history of science, the shape of modern science as a
occurred in the relationship of scientific knowledge to the historical process with the rise social institution, the rhetoric of scientific debates. When it comes to the core of scientific
of modern natural science, that is, from the discovery of the scientific method by men like substance, however, and the deep methodological and epistemological questions-above all,
Descartes, Bacon, and Spinoza in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. the incredibly difficult ontological questions-that arise in scientific contexts, perspectivism
can make at best a trivial contribution. The attempts to read scientific knowledge as the
AKH0207 KUHN DOESN'T UNDERMINE SCIENTIFIC RATIONALITY mere transcription of Western male capitalist social perspectives, or as the deformed
Frederick Crews, U Cal-Berkeley, English Prof., SKEPTICAL ENGAGEMENTS, 1986, handicraft of the prisonhouse of language, are hopelessly naive and reductionistic. They
p.168. take no account of the specific logic of the sciences and they are far too coarse to deal with
Kuhn happens to be a fervent believer in scientific rationality and progress, which, he the conceptual texture of any category of important scientific thought.
argues, can occur only after a given specialty has gotten past the stage of "theory
proliferation" and "incessant criticism and continual striving for a fresh start" (Kuhn AKH0213 SCIENCE IS COMPATIBLE WITH IMAGINATION
1974b, 246, 244). By incommensurability Kuhn never meant that competing theories are Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.157.
incomparable but only that the choice between them cannot be entirely consigned to the A scientific theory thus makes a positive contribution to human experience. When men
verdict of theory-neutral rules and data. (What looks like a "mistake" in one theory's terms approach their world within the framework of a theory, their experience has a dimension
may be a legitimate inference in the terms of its rival.) Transitions between which simple observation alone cannot give it. The primary function of theory is to lead
paradigms-which in any case are mere problem solutions, not broad theories or to new experiences, to be an instrument by which men can deliberately and intentionally
methodologies-must indeed be made globally, through "gestalt switches," but the expand their horizons. Scientific theory is not the opposite of imagination. It is a product
rationality of science is not thereby impaired. As Kuhn asked, and as he has continued to of imagination, and an instrument for emancipating it from enslavement to the familiar, the
insist with mounting astonishment at his irrationalist fan club, "What better criterion than routine, and the here-and-now.
the decision of the scientific group could there be?" (Kuhn 1970,169).
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 19
AKH0214 SCIENCE HELPS OVERCOME THE LIMITS OF IMAGINATION AKH0220 SCIENCE IS NEEDED TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEMS SCIENCE
Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, CREATED
p.157-8. Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.362.
And it is an instrument, as well, for stabilizing and disciplining the human imagination. Science has had very little to do, indeed, with the administration of our economic and
The mathematical side of modern science is probably responsible for the popular political life. It remains the author of our major problem, in its gift of tremendous power
impression that science is cold, mechanical, and remote, But the mathematical side of that has been terribly abused; but for the wise use of this power we need more, not less, of
modern science is in fact a remarkable example of how the human imagination can be at the objective, dispassionate scientific spirit.
once liberated and disciplined. Mathematical methods are ways of overcoming at least four
weaknesses to which our ordinary everyday experience is liable-its grossness, its AKH0221 REPUDIATING SCIENCE MAINTAINS OPPRESSION
instability, its idleness and disorder, and its idiosyncrasy. Far from being less refined than Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
the qualitative judgments we usually make, quantitative techniques permit us to make more Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.81-2.
minute and precise distinctions; they allow us to render the same verdict on things at Moreover, those whose politics inclined toward the left were all too happy to have a
different times and independently of how we feel; they enable us to put our perceptions in rationale for reconstituting their discipline as part of a social movement to champion the
a definite order so that we can reason from them with more assurance and to more oppressed races, castes, genders, and sexual outcasts of the earth, freed of any need to
far-reaching consequences; and, perhaps most important, they provide a way of analyze their situation "objectively." In Fox's view, however, many of the peoples whom
transcending the idiosyncrasy of different perspectives and of bringing the experience of this strategy is designed to help are, in the end, poorly served: "Science, with its objectivity
different men together: Mathematical methods thus represent not merely professional . . . remains the one international language capable of providing objective knowledge of
techniques, but social inventions, man's own instruments against his obtuseness, the world. And it is a language that all can use and share and learn . . . The wretched of the
waywardness, and egoism. Their emergence constitutes a sociological phenomenon of earth want science and the benefits of science. To deny them this is another kind of
first-rate importance-the emergence of a new technique for co-ordinating human racism."
experience and for bringing men into uncoerced agreement.
AKH0222 SCIENCE EFFECTIVELY COUNTERS SOCIAL AND INTELLECTUAL
AKH0215 SUBSTITUTION OF INTUITION FOR ANALYSIS UNDERMINES AUTHORITARIANISM
SCIENCE Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.24.
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.138. The dissecting blade of scientific skepticism, with its insistence that theories are worthy
Closeness to, identification with, the object, the substitution of ideals for logic and of respect only to the extent that their assertions pass the twin tests of internal logical
abstraction, of unfettered intuition for analysis, was a transcendent characteristic of consistency and empirical verification, has been an invaluable weapon against intellectual
romantic natural philosophy. Taken as principle, that characteristic was a root cause of its authoritarianisms of all sorts, not least those that sustain social systems based on
failure to produce useful science. exploitation, domination, and absolutism. The notion that human liberation ought to be the
chief project of the intellectual community is, it seems to us, coeval with the idea that
AKH0216 SCIENCE LIBERATES HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS superstition and credulity are among the most powerful foes of liberation, and that science,
Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.158. in particular, holds out the best hope for cutting through their fogs of error and confusion.
Theoretical science, in short, is an example par excellence of a liberal art-a deliberate, Towering figures of political and ethical thought over the last three or four centuries make
selective reordering of experience, which releases men from the narrowness and urgency this point; one thinks, in this regard, of Galileo, Spinoza, Locke, Voltaire, Diderot,
of their routine affairs, carries them beyond the limitations and accidents of their lives, and Lessing, Hume, Kant, Mill, Herzen, Turgenev, Russell, Einstein-the list could be extended
makes it possible for their commerce with the world to have scope, order, and systematic endlessly.
consequences. It has been used as an instrument of industry and of war, but its primary
function is more humane and, as it were, aesthetic-to cause human experience to be fruitful AKH0223 SCIENCE HAS AIDED OPPOSITIONAL MOVEMENTS
and to multiply. And its relation to practice is the relation of any fine and liberating art-it Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
carries men beyond the foreground of their experience, and enlarges the dimensions of Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.229.
human choice by acquainting men with the alternative possibilities of things. Quite apart On the other hand, science has been in some crucial respects a positive source of support
from its technological applications, it represents, to use an old philosophical expression, to oppositional movements. It has dispelled much of the nonsense that sustained sexual and
a "final good" something which has its own inner dynamism, goes its own way, and can racial discrimination, in spite of early attempts to ally it with the forces of repression. It has
give stability and direction to the rest of our lives. given powerful evidence of the ineluctable importance of environmental consciousness in
the application of technology.
AKH0217 SCIENCE IS KEY TO GLOBAL SURVIVAL
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and AKH0224 SCIENCE HAS BEEN POLITICALLY PROGRESSIVE HISTORICALLY
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.178. Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
And here's to Baconian science-if that misattribution is to persist in our Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.23.
universities-Baconian in the sense of a rigorous adherence to the empirical, and a faith that In the final analysis, a real if grossly imperfect alignment persisted between the scientific
what we learn that way can improve the prospects for human life. The more Baconian outlook and the great emancipatory sentiments-abolitionism, women's rights, social reform,
science we get, the easier it will be to believe that we have a fighting chance, if no more socialism itself-that drove the most idealistic souls of the era. To put it another way, the
than that, on this lovely planet that spins its way through an unimaginably violent-and "science" that sustained the most ferociously antiegalitarian ideas-racist eugenics, "social
indifferent-space. Darwinism," and the like-has long since been effaced, while the claims put forth to bolster
the egalitarian view have endured, on the whole, rather well. At any rate, if we are to judge
AKH0218 SCIENCE IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR DEALING WITH AIDS a body of ideas by its worst enemies, it is simply absurd to impugn science as the tool of
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and the most embittered reactionaries. Those forces, represented by Maistre and by Pius IX,
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.179. the pope who denounced socialism, modernism, and the scientific outlook in a single
Chiefly, we shall be concerned with the abiding problem of racial justice, and with the breath, were convinced that their quarrel with science was a struggle to the death. Martin
AIDS epidemic that has reawakened slumbering fears of plague and fatal contagion. Heidegger was their recent offspring. To the extent that the liberatory and democratic
Science, obviously, has a great deal to do with the latter problem. In fact it is our only ideals that roiled the nineteenth century and persist to our day with amplified force face the
defense, and our only source of hope. adamant resistance of dogmatic religions of one sort or another (hardly a dead issue in a
world beset by a swarm of angry fundamentalists), science, it would seem, has been and
AKH0219 REJECTING SCIENCE LEADS TO DISASTROUS POLICY ERRORS will be their strongest and least dispensable ally.
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.159.
To the extent that science-the only reliable source of numbers for environmental
cost/benefit analysis-is battered in the course of a primarily ideological crusade, so much
greater will be the chance of making disastrous errors of policy.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 20
AKH0225 THE KRITIK OF SCIENCE IS BASED ON IGNORANCE AKH0231 THE ATTACK ON REASON IS SELF-CONTRADICTORY
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and Roger Trigg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, RATIONALITY AND
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.6. SCIENCE, 1993, p.230.
A curious fact about the recent left critique of science is the degree to which its instigators The human ability to reason must be the starting-point for all our thinking. Once we try to
have overcome their former timidity or indifference toward the subject not by studying it deny it, or explain it away, we merely use the very ability we attack. Such an exercise in
in detail but rather by creating a repertoire of rationalizations for avoiding such study. self-contradiction is worse than being involved in an infinite regress.
Buoyed by a "stance" on science, they feel justified in bypassing the grubby necessities of
actual scientific knowledge. This is not because any great number of science apostates has AKH0232 THE LIMITS OF REASON DON'T JUSTIFY ITS ABANDONMENT
flocked to their banner, although a handful of figures with scientific credentials, as well Walter Kaufmann, Princeton philosopher, FROM SHAKESPEARE TO
as the occasional refugee from an unsatisfactory scientific career, can be found on the EXISTENTIALISM, 1980, p.368.
movement's fringes. The assumption that makes specific knowledge of science dispensable If there is one thing above all that we have learned since their time--and especially in our
is that certain new-forged intellectual tools-feminist theory, postmodern philosophy, time it is this: although reason has its limitations, those who would abandon it on that
deconstruction, deep ecology-and, above all, the moral authority with which the academic account might as well pluck out their eyes because they are not able to see everything, or
left emphatically credits itself are in themselves sufficient to guarantee the validity of the perhaps do not see things as they "really" are. They are like men protected from the ocean
critique. by a dike who tear it down because it does not reach the heavens.

AKH0226 THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF SCIENCE DON'T DISPROVE ITS TRUTH AKH0233 REASON IS CREATIVE
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and Walter Kaufmann, Princeton philosopher, CRITIQUE OF RELIGION AND
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.224-5. PHILOSOPHY, 1958, p.429.
The industrial world's catalysis of population growth and its consequent need for resources Reason is not the great adversary of inclination and passion: it is allied with man's
attacks the forest and pollutes the ocean; its drive for profits adds toxins to the air long profoundest passion, the aspiration to be as God. Reason is creative: it fashions general
after it has become clear that this is in the end a stupid thing to do. It is disheartening to concepts--so-called-- universals-which permit criticism of the given, of being, and
note, however, that such well-founded criticism often leads further to bizarre and shoddy especially of our own being.
theorizing about the epistemic status of science, as if allegiance to such doctrines could
somehow magically generate the power to halt the technological misuse of scientific AKH0234 REASON IS THE KEY TO SURVIVAL
knowledge. Even more discouraging is the fact that among the thinkers who most clearly Ayn Rand, philosopher and novelist, THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS, 1964, p.24-5.
and accurately emphasize the dangers into which technocratic society falls, there are quite Man cannot survive as anything but man. He can abandon his means of survival, his mind,
a few who lose perspective and begin to expound dubious positions concerning modern he can turn himself into a subhuman creature and he can turn his life into a brief span of
science, excoriating it for nonexistent philosophical flaws. agony)just as his body can exist for a while in the process of disintegration by disease. But
he cannot succeed, as a subhuman,in achieving anything but the subhuman)as the ugly
AKH0227 THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE IS AN OBJECTIVE TRUTH, NOT AN horror of the antirational periods of mankind's history can demonstrate. Man has to be man
INDICTMENT OF KNOWLEDGE by choice)and it is the task of ethics to teach him how to live like man. The Objectivist
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and ethics holds man's life as the standard of value)and his own life as the ethical purpose of
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.51-2. every individual man.
Once obscurantism has been stripped away, we recognize that the uncertainty principle is
a tenet of physics, a predictive law about the behavior of concrete phenomena that can he AKH0235 REJECTING RATIONALISM LEADS TO ECOLOGICAL DISASTER
tested and confirmed like other physical principles. It is not some brooding metaphysical Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
dictum about the Knower versus the Known, but rather a straightforward statement, Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.176.
mathematically quite simple, concerning the way in which the statistical outcomes of "What is involved here is a reconceptualization of the human side of the human/nature
repeated observations of various phenomena must be interrelated. And, indeed, it has been dualism to free it from the legacy of rationalism," proclaims the feminist philosopher Val
triumphantly confirmed. It has been verified as fully and irrefutably as is possible for an Plumwood, in an ecofeminist version of the credo. With minor variations, the theme
empirical proposition. In other words, when viewed as a law of physics, the uncertainty recurs, insistently, throughout the entire range of ecoradical literature. It is a staple in
principle is a very certain item indeed. It is an objective truth about the world. (If that were Jeremy Rifkin's books. And: it is a recipe for disaster in ecological matters-and in human
not so, there would never have been so much fuss about it!) affairs generally! It is the substitution of moonbeams and fairy-dust for thought, a frequent
human practice, but one that has taught grim lessons in the course of history.
AKH0228 RATIONAL POLITICAL CHOICES ARE MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED
Walter Kaufman, Princeton philosopher, WITHOUT GUILT AND JUSTICE, 1973, p.192. AKH0236 RECENT HISTORY VALIDATES THE CLAIMS OF REASON
Given a large sample and a long period of time, responsibility succeeds much more often Richard Bernstein, Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, WORKING
than irresponsibility. That is why we want physicians to act responsibly. That is why THROUGH DERRIDA, Gary Madison, ed., 1993, p.223.
scientists and engineers are trained to check and double-check their hunches. It is no For Habermas, we cannot avoid the question, critique "in the name of what?" His quarrel
different in politics. Occasionally, reckless gambles will succeed, but those who continue with many so-called "postmodern" thinkers is that they either fail to confront this question,
to place their trust in them generally come to grief before long; and the great statesmen of obscure it, or get caught in performative contradictions. One reason why Habermas
the past have been thoughtful men who weighed alternatives with care. "speaks" to so many of "us" and is so relevant to the "modern/postmodern" condition is
because however feeble and fragile this aspect of the Enlightenment legacy has become,
AKH0229 NAZISM EPITOMIZED IRRATIONALISM and despite the attacks on this legacy, it nevertheless will not die-the demand for freedom
Leonard Peikoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, THE OMINOUS and claim to dialogical reasonableness does have a "stubbornly transcending power," as
PARALLELS, 1982, p.47. recent events from South Africa to Eastern Europe so vividly demonstrate.
The politics of Nazism-with its racist obsessions, its anti-Semitic demonology, its
gesticulating Fuhrer transmitting directives from Providence, and its all-obliterating appeal AKH0237 REASON RESPECTS MINORITY VIEWS
to the power of brute force is unprecedented in the West, not for its collectivism but for its Russell Windes and Arthur Hastings, Professors of Speech, Queens College and Stanford,
undisguised irrationality. The brazenness of this revelation is matched (and made possible) ARGUMENTATION AND ADVOCACY, 1965, p.23.
only by the brazenness of the Nazi epistemology. Its distinctive feature is self-proclaimed Rational decision-making respects the rights and dignity of all citizens, the minority no
barbarianism, i.e., undisguised, boastfully trumpeted defiance of reason. less than the majority; it insists that no problem of public policy should be resolved until
all that should be heard about it has been heard and weighed carefully. Such processes may
AKH0230 REJECTION OF REASON LEADS TO NIHILISM be painfully slow, but that very slowness insures against injurious and dangerous
Stanley Rosen, Penn State philosopher, NIHILISM, 1969, p.xiv. alternatives.
Since my book is a defense of reason, it must necessarily be an attack upon what I regard
as the enemies of reason. My claim is that, although the danger of nihilism is a permanent AKH0238 REJECTING RATIONALITY MEANS REJECTING SCIENCE
human possibility, the actual pervasive presence of nihilism today is due to a series of Roger Trigg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, RATIONALITY AND
specific philosophical decisions in the past. The net effect of these decisions has been to SCIENCE, 1993, p.12.
produce a radical deterioration in our conception of what it means to be reasonable. Attacks on rationality put in jeopardy the very activities that are often being taken for
granted. Without an ability to see what is true and to separate it from what is false, we
cannot continue to practice the physical sciences as they have been traditionally
understood. Our reasoning has to be rooted in the character of the world, whatever it may
be. Otherwise the idea that science can explain anything, let alone everything, is sheer
illusion.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 21
AKH0239 REASON PROTECTS US AGAINST CLEARLY FALLACIOUS CHOICES AKH0244 REJECTION OF CRITICAL REASON PROMOTES FASCISM
Walter Kaufmann, Princeton philosopher, WITHOUT GUILT AND JUSTICE, 1973, Walter Kaufman, Princeton philosopher, FROM SHAKESPEARE TO
p.190. EXISTENTIALISM, 1980, p.269.
Typically, it is assumed that because reason alone cannot prove that we should choose this In the light of recent history and of the use to which Plato was put by Nazi educators, we
project rather than that, reason is irrelevant when it comes to fateful decisions. Once that cannot shut our eyes to the great danger of philosophies that thus address themselves to
is granted, the way is clear for one or another of the strategies of decidophobia; one may man's irrationality while paralyzing his critical spirit, half mockingly, half playfully. If
choose a religion or a movement, for example. But what reason and the new integrity can mockery is needed now it is Socratic mockery: irony at the expense of unreason and
do is crucial: safeguard us against decisions and commitments that anyone who asked the uncritical thinking.
seven questions would not make.
AKH0245 TOTALITARIANISM REQUIRES THE REJECTION OF RATIONALITY
AKH0240 MORAL ARGUMENT REQUIRES AN OBJECTIVE AND PUBLIC BASIS Walter Kaufman, Princeton philosopher, WITHOUT GUILT AND JUSTICE, 1973, p.182.
Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.67. Of course, one could be sincere and a Nazi or a Stalinist. But nobody who applied the
The mistake in the notion that a relativistic philosophy is narrowly this-worldly or canon could have accepted Hitler's or Stalin's irrational views, and teaching the canon in
materialistic is a simple one. It assumes that a philosophy which says that an appeal to one's classes or openly asking the seven questions would have been a recipe for death. Few
human interests is the indispensable feature of moral or political thinking is espousing a people have ever lived by the canon. Only those who suppose that most people do could
particular set of moral values. But it is not. It is merely trying to put the discussion of possibly suppose that some of Hitler's or Stalin's followers did. Under Stalin, the party line
morals and politics on an objective and public basis. It points out that if men are going to kept changing, and his followers were required to change their views overnight, again and
negotiate their disagreements over values rationally, they have to appeal to evidence that again and again.
is equally available to all; it suggests that the impact of our values on human interests
provide just such a publicly observable kind of test; and it points out, on the other side, that AKH0246 REJECTING REASON LEADS TO AUTHORITARIAN CATASTROPHE
the appeal to absolutes is intellectually stultifying and socially disruptive because it Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.362.
introduces considerations for which there is no common evidence. Many men now take a strange pleasure in emphasizing the limits of scientific knowledge,
as if the validity of poetic, metaphysical, or religious claims to higher truth were thereby
AKH0241 IRRATIONAL DECISION PROCESSES LEAD TO DISASTER automatically proved, and ignorance were not merely bliss but wisdom. Many are attacking
Russell Windes and Arthur Hastings, Professors of Speech, Queens College and Stanford, the claims of reason itself in the name of faith, intuition, instinct, the heart, the voice of the
ARGUMENTATION AND ADVOCACY, 1965, p.21-2. blood. In the world of affairs such attitudes are translated into the kind of common sense
There are basically two approaches to the resolution of conflict, the irrational and the that scorns all 'theory,' ridicules 'brain-trusts,' and identifies learning with
rational approaches. People often reach decisions irrationally. Matters of personal concern absent-mindedness. The way is thus cleared for the positive irrationalism of the dictators
may be privately resolved through the uncontrolled influence of emotion, the influence of the brutal contempt of mind exhibited in their policy when not their creed. We may then
an authority, the influence of group pressures, and so forth. Matters of public concern are realize that a denial of the claims of reason naturally leads to a denial of the claims of the
too frequently resolved in similar ways. A mob may irrationally reach a decision which heart too, and that if its powers are as inadequate as many seem pleased to think, there can
results in lawless violence; a frightened public may react to a problem in such an emotional be no hope of avoiding catastrophe.
manner that hurried decisions may strike at the roots of free government; social pressures
of conformity may force the acceptance of an alternative to a problem by people who have AKH0247 IRRATIONALISM RISKS NEO-FASCISM
reason to doubt the wisdom of the alternative. Social groups may attempt to solve a Richard Bernstein, Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, WORKING
problem by avoiding the problem altogether, rationalizing various reasons for such an THROUGH DERRIDA, Gary Madison, ed., 1993, p.213.
avoidance. These irrational approaches to conflict resolution often lead to errors, mistakes, Iris Murdoch once shrewdly remarked "it is always a significant question to ask of any
even blunders and tragedies. History abounds with decisions made irrationally: the war philosopher: what is he afraid of?" The answer for Habermas is clear. It is "irrationalism"
with Mexico, 1848; the Spanish-American War, 1898; the rejection of the League of whatever guise it takes-whether ugly fascists forms, disguised neo-conservative variations,
Nations, 1919-20; the failure to react to the menace of dictators, 1935-38; general or the playful antics of those who seek to domesticate Nietzsche. In a time when it has
disarmament following World War II; the suppression of minority thought during the become so fashionable to attack, mock, ridicule the claim to Reason, Habermas is not
McCarthy era; 1950-54. In these cases, and in thousands of others, decisions were made afraid to appear "old-fashioned"-to insist on "the stubbornness with which philosophy
irrationally, through reliance on fear, desire, pride, influence of authority, intuition, clings to the role of the 'guardian of reason' "-a role that "can hardly be dismissed as an
ignorance, rationalizations, and so forth. idiosyncrasy of self-absorbed intellectuals, especially in a period in which basic
irrationalist undercurrents, are transmuted once again into a dubious form of politics."
AKH0242 REASON AVOIDS OVER HASTY DECISIONS
Russell Windes and Arthur Hastings, Professors of Speech, Queens College and Stanford, AKH0248 IRRATIONALISM LED TO NAZISM
ARGUMENTATION AND ADVOCACY, 1965, p.22-3. Hans Reiss, Professor of German, University of Bristol, KANT'S POLITICAL
Why does the use of rational processes guarantee better decision making? Precisely for the WRITINGS, 1970, p.13.
many reasons we have already examined in this chapter, and because through the use of For the Romantic mode of thought introduced into German political thought a note of
rational means the possible use of irrational approaches is excluded. Rational decision- irrationalism which permeated almost all areas of German thinking for a century and a half
making emphasizes the fact that wise decisions ordinarily require time and patience, time between the Napoleonic wars and the end of the Second World War. The Romantics'
to investigate problems thoroughly, the time to analyze alternatives carefully, and the time rejection of Kant's cosmopolitanism in politics meant that, with his death-followed a year
to prepare cogent arguments for and against each alternative; the patience to listen to later by that of Schiller-(most of von Humboldt's political writings were only published
opposing points of view, the patience to suspend judgement until all pertinent arguments many decades later)-the climate of opinion changed drastically. It no longer mattered much
have been heard, and the patience to let public opinion gradually inform itself and make whether the individual was politically free. The organic theory of the state, which
itself known to representatives. subordinated the individual to the community, prevailed.

AKH0243 RATIONALITY IS KEY TO HUMAN DIGNITY AKH0249 REJECTING OBJECTIVE REALITY LEADS TO TYRANNY
Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.363. Christina Sommers, Professor of Philosophy, Clark University, WHO STOLE
To live intelligently, in short, we must recognize that man is not simply a 'rational animal.' FEMINISM?, 1994, p.97.
To live decently we must also recognize that this definition of him is more adequate than If one believes that all knowledge is socially constructed to serve the powers that be, or,
such popular definitions as a beast of prey, an illusioned robot, or an imprisoned soul. He more specifically, if one holds that the science and culture we teach are basically a
shares his basic drives and reflexes with other animals, and he may or may not have an "patriarchal construction" designed to support a "male hegemony," then one denies, as a
immortal soul; what most plainly and positively distinguishes him from other animals is matter of principle, any important difference between knowledge and ideology, between
the power of conscious thought and responsible behavior. If we respect him at all we must truth and dogma, between reality and propaganda, between objective teaching and
treat him as if he were rational, and enlist his free consent in joint enterprises. The whole inculcating a set of beliefs. Many campus feminists do, in fact, reject these distinctions,
argument for liberty and democracy ultimately rests on Pascal's dictum that thought makes and that is pedagogically and politically irresponsible and dangerous. For when the Big
the whole dignity of man, and that the endeavor to think well is the basic morality. Brothers in an Orwellian world justify their cynical manipulation of the many by the
tyrannical few, they, too, argue that reality is "socially constructed" by those in power and
that indoctrination is all we can expect. In 1984, George Orwell's tragic hero, Winston
Smith, tries to defy the torturer, O'Brien, by holding fast to the belief in an objective
reality. O'Brien reminds Winston Smith that he will be paying the price for that
old-fashioned belief "You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in
its own right.... But I tell you, Winston, reality is not external . . It is impossible to see
reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party."
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 22
AKH0250 THE REJECTION OF REASON IS THE PRECONDITION OF AKH0256 REASON IS A NECESSARY DEFENSE AGAINST
TOTALITARIANISM NEO-CONSERVATIVISM
Leonard Piekoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, THE OMINOUS Jurgen Habermas, Professor of Philosophy, University of Frankfurt, HABERMAS AND
PARALLELS, 1982, p.302. MODERNITY, Richard Bernstein, ed., 1985, p.195.
Obedience is the precondition of totalitarianism. The preconditions of obedience are fear The stubbornness with which philosophy clings to the role of the "guardian of reason" can
and guilt; not merely the existential fear created by terroristic policies, but the deeper, hardly be dismissed as an idiosyncrasy of self-absorbed intellectuals, especially in a period
metaphysical fear created by inner helplessness, the fear of a living creature deprived of in which basic irrationalist undercurrents are transmuted once again into a dubious form
any means to deal with reality; not merely the guilt of committing some specific crime, but of politics. In my opinion, it is precisely the neoconservatives who articulate, intensify, and
the deeper, metaphysical guilt of feeling that one is innately unworthy and immoral. spread this mood of the times via the mass media - with such an effect that "it itches."
Reason destroys fear; egoism destroys guilt. More precisely: reason does not permit man
to feel metaphysically helpless; egoism does not permit him to feel metaphysically AKH0257 REASON IS THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE TO FORCE
helpless; egoism does not permit him to accept unearned guilt or to regard himself as a Ayn Rand, philosopher, CAPITALISM: THE UNKNOWN IDEAL, 1967, p.22-3.
sacrificial animal. But a man indoctrinated with the notion that reason is impotent and self- If a man believes that the good is a matter of arbitrary subjective choice, the issue of good
sacrifice is his moral duty, will obey anyone and anything. or evil becomes, for him an issue of my feelings or theirs? No bridge, understanding, or
communication is possible to him. Reason is the only means of communication among
AKH0251 REASON IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH TOTALITARIANISM men, and an objectively perceivable reality is their only common frame of reference; when
Leonard Piekoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, THE OMINOUS these are invalidated (i.e., held to be irrelevant) in the field of morality, force becomes
PARALLELS, 1982, p.302. men's only way of dealing with one another.
What fundamental truths did the Nazis and the American collectivists and all their sources
in the history of philosophy struggle to evade and annihilate? The answer is contained in AKH0258 REJECTING RATIONALISM LEADS TO NIHILISM
two concepts, with everything they include, lead to, and presuppose: reason and egoism. Stanley Rosen, Penn State philosopher, NIHILISM, 1969, p.193.
These two, properly understood and accepted, are the immovable barrier to any attempt to The contemporary nihilist situation is essentially a mood of boredom with the tradition of
establish totalitarian rule. western European rationalism. It arises from a tendency implicit in the origins of the
modern revolution against the classical Greek conception of reason, as is obvious in the
AKH0252 REJECTING REASON LED TO NAZISM existential and ontological attacks against "Platonism" mounted by Nietzsche and
Leonard Piekoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, THE OMINOUS Heidegger, and which also motivates the ostensibly anti-metaphysical or even
PARALLELS, 1982, p.46. anti-philosophical teachings of Marxism and positivism in its various contemporary guises.
There is a nazi epistemology, in the sense of an unequivocal, consistent, and passionately
urged position on the subject's fundamental issue. "We are now at the end of the Age of AKH0259 REJECTING REASON LEADS TO INHUMANITY AND TERROR
Reason," Hitler declared to Hermann Rauschning[,] "[t]he intellect has grown autocratic, Walter Kaufmann, Princeton philosopher, FROM SHAKESPEARE TO
and has become a disease of life." "The life of a race and of people is . . . a mystical EXISTENTIALISM, 1980, p.368-9.
synthesis," writes Rosenburg, "a manifestation of the soul, which cannot be explained by It did not take Heidegger to discover that reason cannot build a metaphysical Tower of
the logic nor by causal analysis." "Even the most profound, the most learned of intellects Babel; but it did take Heidegger to infer that poetry, or some sort of intuitive, associative,
touches the surface of things only," writes Gottfried Neese, a young Nazi intellectual. but hardly really poetic, thinking should replace rational discourse and become immune
against critical reason. There are many men at all times who are willing to be done with
AKH0253 TYRANNY IS GROUNDED IN THE REJECTION OF REASON reason, and especially with critical reason. There will always be a ready audience for all
Leonard Piekoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, THE OMINOUS who denounce it as essentially a parasite. In truth, the critical function of reason is our best
PARALLELS, 1982, p.45. safe guard against fanaticism, inhumanity, and terror.
It is not an accident that Plato, Kant, Hegel, Marx, and the whole tradition of German
nationalism from Luther on, advocated a variety of anti-senses, anti-logic, anti-intellect AKH0260 REJECTING REASON LEADS TO NIHILISM
doctrines. The statism all these figures upheld or fostered is a result; the root lies in their Roger Trigg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, RATIONALITY AND
view of knowledge, i.e., of man's mind. The aspiring dictator may not be able to identify SCIENCE, 1993, p.255.
in philosophic terms the clash between reason and his particular schemes. But he, too, is The idea, however, that there is no target for our beliefs, no purpose for our scientific
aware of it. In some (usually unverbalized) form, he knows that he cannot demand investigation, no genuine object on which faith, whether scientific or whatever, can be
unthinking obedience from men, or gain their consent to the permanent rule of brutality, fixed, suggests that all our reasoning is going to be unconstrained. There will be no
until he has first persuaded his future subjects to ditch their brains and their independent, difference between good or bad reasoning, justified or unjustified belief, or pseudoscience
self-assertive judgement. He knows that he can succeed only with a populace conditioned and the genuine article. When every rational suggestion is as good as any other, we can no
to seek neither evidence nor argument, a populace which, having shrugged aside the longer talk of rationality. The threat of nihilism is as real as the threat of a narrow
demands of logic, will agree with, and then endure, anything. scientistic vision which insists on a monopoly of truth, and thereby removes the possibility
of talking about truth.
AKH0254 REJECTING REASON LEADS TO RELIANCE ON PHYSICAL FORCES
Leonard Piekoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, THE OMINOUS AKH0261 THE REJECTION OF THE RATIONAL IS SELF-CONTRADICTORY
PARALLELS, 1982, p.45. Stanley Rosen, Penn State philosopher, NIHILISM, 1969, p.227.
If men uphold reason, they will be led, ultimately, to conclude that men should deal with We cannot insist upon the irrationality of our presuppositions without at the same time
one another as free agents, settling their disputes by an appeal to the mind, i.e., by a making irrational the consequences of those presuppositions. By so doing, we make it
process of voluntary, rational persuasion. If men reject reason, they will be led, ultimately, possible for our opponent to reject our Weltanschauung without being required even to
to conclude to conclude the opposite: that men have no way to deal with one another at all consider it. Why should he, if it is irrational? If whatever we say is irrational, then certainly
- no way except physical force, wielded by an elite endowed with an allegedly superior, we can say anything we like, including that we alone are rational. From such a viewpoint,
mystic means of cognition. he who pretends to deny reason is surely absurd. If there is any reason for us to think as
we do, this reason must itself be reasonable: it must be intelligible. But if it is intelligible,
AKH0255 NEGLECTING REASON IN PERSUASION PRODUCES PROPAGANDA one may discuss it rationally, which is to say that the conditions of its intelligibility are
Glen Mills, Professor of Speech, Northwestern, READINGS IN ARGUMENTATION, independent of its own jurisdiction. If they were not, then every Weltanschauung would
Jerry Anderson and Paul Dovre, eds., 1968, p.73. define the intelligible and there would be as many conceptions of intelligibility as there are
Even if it is deemed necessary, in the interest of persuasion, to motivate the acceptance of Weltanschauungen. As a result, these conceptions would contradict each other (since for
a decision, it is better to begin with a logically adequate case and then to add the so-called every A, one may posit non-A), or reduce each other to silence, to chaos or nothingness.
emotional appeals. This is the meaning of the fourth assumption, which is that affective
appeals work best when they supplement the logical ones which were discussed under the
third assumption. To omit the rational element of persuasion is to violate the ethical
principle which holds that an appeal should not circumvent the critical thinking process.
That would, by definition, result in propaganda.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 23
AKH0262 INTELLECTUAL RELATIVISM IS SELF-CONTRADICTORY AKH0269 COMMON SENSE SHOWS WE SHOULD ACT ON THE MOST
Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.135. PLAUSIBLE HYPOTHESIS
In the end, indeed, there is an embracing paradox about the idea that all ideas about human Walter Kaufmann, Princeton philosopher, WITHOUT GUILT AND JUSTICE, 1973,
affairs are true only from the point of view of a particular culture or social class. This p.191.
statement is itself an idea about human affairs. If, like all other such ideas, it is a doctrine Suppose you consult a doctor, and his reasons and the evidence cannot establish
which is true for some people but false for others, there is no reason why people who hold conclusively what is the cause of your ailment. Imagine that he frankly admitted this and
a different point of view should pay any attention to it. If, on the other hand, it is not then offered to flip a coin or to pluck the petals of a daisy: to cut or not to cut, to cut or not
limited in its validity, then it is an exception to the very generalization it utters. It is one to cut . . . This would be a paradigm of irresponsibility. What you would expect him to do
example of an idea whose truth transcends the historical circumstances in which it is is to invoke the canon. Then the most plausible hypothesis--or one of the most
uttered. And if there is one such idea, it seems arbitrary to suggest that there can be no plausible-would be chosen tentatively, not with the dogged conviction that, once we have
others. In short, it is not easy to dispense with the traditional notion of objective truth. chosen it, we have to stick with it, as if that were the essence of integrity.
Even the Sociology of Knowledge implicitly invokes it.
AKH0270 MORAL IRRATIONALISM CONTRADICTS COMMON SENSE
AKH0263 IRRATIONALISM IS SELF-DEFEATING EXPERIENCES
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and Walter Kaufmann, Princeton philosopher, WITHOUT GUILT AND JUSTICE, 1973, p.23.
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.27. Moral irrationalism claims that because reason by itself cannot show people what to do,
The left's flirtation with irrationalism, its reactionary rejection of the scientific worldview, reason is irrelevant when one is confronted with fateful decisions. This view is exemplified
is deplorable and contradicts its own deepest traditions. It is a kind of self-defeating in different ways by Kierkegaard and Heidegger and widely associated with existentialism.
apostasy. It is compatible with any of the first six strategies and need not be considered here at
length as a separate strategy. The moral irrationalist says more or less explicitly that when
AKH0264 CRITIQUES OF REASON ARE SELF-DEFEATING it comes to ultimate commitments reason is irrelevant; and the choice of a religion or a
J.M. Bernstein, Prof. of Philosophy, Univ. Of Essex, RECOVERING ETHICAL LIFE, movement or a school of thought, of a life style like drifting or a way of thinking like
1995, p.159. exegetical thinking or possibly even Manichaeism, involves to his mind an ultimate
In engaging with the distortions of reason and rationality the philosophical discourses of commitment. This is a way of saying that while it may be reasonable to keep your eyes
modernity that are the target of Habermas's critical history - the writings of Heidegger, open when making relatively petty decisions, it makes no sense to keep them open and
Bataille, Derrida, Foucault, Adorno and Horkheimer-- commit a metonymic fallacy, taking examine your impulsive preferences as well as the most significant alternatives when a
subject-centred reason as the whole of reason. Such totalizing critiques of enlightened choice is likely to mold your future. In other words, be careful when you drive slowly, but
reason involve an inevitable recoil, leaving them without any possible rational foundation when you go over fifty miles per hour shut your eyes!
or ground, any place from which their critique can be lodged. As a consequence, these
writers are forced to generate an 'extraordinary discourse' that ' claims to operate outside AKH0271 PHILOSOPHY CAN NEVER ARRIVE AT ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY
the horizon of reason without being utterly irrational' (p.308). Bertrand Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge, THE PROBLEMS OF
PHILOSOPHY, 1912, p.151-2.
AKH0265 IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO CONSISTENTLY REPUDIATE REASON The criticism aimed at, in a word, is not that which, without reason, determines to reject,
Luc Ferry, Professor at the Sorbonne, RIGHTS--THE NEW QUARREL BETWEEN THE but that which considers each piece of apparent knowledge on its merit and retains
ANCIENTS AND THE MODERNS, 1990, p.22. whatever still appears to be knowledge when this consideration is completed. That some
First, it seems to me undeniable that the radical critique of the principle of reason involves risk of error remains must be admitted, since human beings are fallible. Philosophy may
its practitioners in insurmountable aporias: to dare to write, as did Arendt subsequent to claim justly that it diminishes the risk of error, and that in some cases it renders the risk so
Heidegger, that any use of the principle of causality in the historical sciences leads the small as to be practically negligible. To do more than this is not possible in a world where
historian to repudiate "in fact the very object of his own science" is not only to make an mistakes must occur; and more than this no prudent advocate of philosophy would claim
impossible wager (who can think more than a few minutes without using the principle of to have performed.
reason?) but also to commit a major philosophical error: the error of identifying any use
of the principle of reason with ontotheology. AKH0272 LOGIC AND MATH DON'T GIVE KNOWLEDGE OF THE EXTERNAL
WORLD
AKH0266 RATIONALITY CAN'T BE DISPROVEN BY RATIONAL ARGUMENT R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979,
John Searle, Berkeley philosopher, DEBATING P.C., ed. Paul Berman, 1992, p.113. p.40.
Are there convincing arguments for metaphysical realism? The demand for a proof of the But the certainty attainable through deductive logic is gained at the cost of a divorce from
existence of a reality that is independent of our representations of reality is a puzzling one, everyday life and from the actual world. A syllogism can tell us nothing about what really
because it looks like making the demand itself already presupposes what is demanded to exists. It speaks only of itself and of its own terms. An argument of the form "If, if not-p
be proved. The situation is a bit like those challenges one used to hear in the 1960s, when then not-q, and q, then p" is valid whatever propositions we put in place of "p" and "q", but
students would ask for a proof of rationality, "What is your argument for rationality?" But it cannot tell us whether these propositions are true or false: it can give us no information
any demand for an "argument" or "proof" already presupposes standards of rationality, the about the actual world. This is also the case in geometry and trigonometry, which are
applicability of which is constitutive of something's being an argument or proof. You concerned entirely with ideal figures-perfect circles, straight lines, equilateral triangles,
cannot in the same breath appeal to argument and proof and deny rationality. and so forth, which, as we know, have no counterpart in the real world and cannot even be
drawn. The conclusions in all these cases are of the "if . . . then" variety.
AKH0267 SOME JUDGMENTS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS, EVEN IF NONE ARE
CERTAIN AKH0273 WE CAN HAVE PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE DESPITE
Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.42. EPISTEMOLOGICAL DOUBTS
Hence a refusal on principle to say the last word about human history is not a refusal to say R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979,
any word, or to pass any firm judgment. Rather, it defines the conditions of judgment. Say p.41.
that our most cherished beliefs are matters of opinion and it is then our business to get From yet another perspective, theory of knowledge has to inquire, not only what we know,
sound opinions, based on honest thought and the best available knowledge; only a fool will but why: why "knowledge" at all? Clearly we have no "organ of knowledge" as we have
say that any opinion is as good as any other opinion-and even a fool is apt to seek expert an organ of digestion, we are not compelled to know as we are compelled to breathe: yet
opinion when he gets sick. the need to know seems to be as ineradicable and "natural" as the need to breathe and
digest. Or is this need in reality a need, not for knowledge, but for something else security,
AKH0268 THE LACK OF CERTAINTY DOESN'T DENY RELATIVE TRUTH for instance, or growth and expansion ? Is "knowledge" only an instrument, and our search
Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.43. for knowledge a search for the most efficient instrument and not, at all an attempt to
I am therefore led to my final assumption, that the admission of a principle of relativity and discover "the nature of reality" ? Certain typical characteristics of our "knowledge" suggest
uncertainty should not be simply depressing. It does not destroy all possibility of that these questions are not misdirected: we know that fire causes heat so as not to get
knowledge and judgment. Rather, it is the outcome of comprehensive knowledge, and the burned, and this knowledge survives our discovery that we do not know any such thing-it
means to further knowledge of man's history. It enables a higher objectivity, a fuller is the not getting burned which weighs with us, and not any "search for the nature of
understanding of present and past. It enables wiser choices among the possibilities open reality"; we know that the sum of the angles of an equilateral triangle is 180 degrees, and
to us-among goods that are no less real because they are relative, and that are more relevant we continue to know this even when we have understood that in reality equilateral triangles
than arbitrary absolutes. Above all, this principle encourages a positive faith in positive do not exist-here our need is for a simplification of reality, not an understanding of it, and
values: of liberality, breadth of spirit, hospitality to new ideas, willingness to adventure, this is also the case when we posit the existence of straight lines and circles. In these
humility in admitting one's own fallibility and the limitations of the human mind- of the instances, an unpredictable and impossibly complicated world is rendered predictable and
tolerance that is indispensable for the pursuit of truth, for social harmony, and for simple calculable: perhaps that is the purpose, the "why" of all knowledge.
humanity. If these are not the highest values, none are more essential to the hopes of world
order and peace.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 24
AKH0274 THE SEARCH FOR CERTAINTY WHERE IT CAN'T BE OBTAINED IS AKH0279 REASON CORRECTS ITS OWN ABUSES
IRRATIONAL Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.363.
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH Traditional rationalism has taken too supercilious an attitude toward the instinctive,
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.72. spontaneous life, the sentiment and passion that alone can give force to its ideals. In this
And this means that no general proposition referring to a matter of fact can ever be shown century many social scientists have displayed an incredibly naive confidence in the power
to be necessarily and universally true. It can at best be a probable hypothesis. And this, we of intelligence to control the 'behavior patterns' with which they play, talking as if social
shall find, applies not only to general propositions, but to all propositions which have a conflict could be handled in the same way as infectious disease. Liberals generally have
factual content. They can none of them ever become logically certain. This conclusion, set their sights too high, overestimating the rationality and virtue of free men. Yet it is still
which we shall elaborate later on, is one which must be accepted by every consistent reason that warns us against such unreasonable expectations. In its most mournful
empiricist. It is often thought to involve him in complete skepticism; but this is not the judgments of its frail powers it still proves its necessity, its responsibility, and its power.
case. For the fact that the validity of a proposition cannot be logically guaranteed in no
way entails that it is irrational for us to believe it. On the contrary, what is irrational is to AKH0280 PARTIALITY OF PERSPECTIVES DOESN'T UNDERMINE TRUTH
look for a guarantee where none can be forthcoming; to demand certainty where Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.133.
probability is all that is obtainable. These questions are the second line of argument on which the Sociology of Knowledge
depends. But they rest, quite simply, on an unwitting play on the word "partiality." Every
AKH0275 WE SHOULD ACT ON TRUTHS WHICH SEEM COMPELLING-NOT human perspective, it need hardly be said, is limited and selective, and human knowledge
SUSPEND JUDGEMENT must always be incomplete. This is partiality -partial truth. But this is a far cry from saying
Stanley Fish, Professor of Law and English at Duke University, THERE'S NO SUCH that all knowledge must inevitably be distorted or biased. For to see only part of what is
THING AS FREE SPEECH, 1994, p.113. to be seen does not mean that whatever we do see is partial in the sense of being
That reasoning, as I understand it, goes as follows: although we ourselves are certain that prejudiced. Partial knowledge does not necessarily mean false knowledge.
the Holocaust was a fact, facts are notoriously interpretable and disputable; therefore
nothing is ever really settled, and we have no right to reject something just because we AKH0281 SELECTIVE KNOWLEDGE DOESN'T IMPLY BIAS
regard it as pernicious and false. But the fact--if I can use that word--that settled truths can Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.134.
always be upset, at least theoretically, does not mean that we cannot affirm and rely on In fact, all knowledge is selective. If we insist, on the basis of this truism, that all
truths that according to our present lights seem indisputable; rather, it means exactly the knowledge is therefore biased, we imply that we can never learn the objective facts about
opposite: in the absence of absolute certainty of the kind that can only be provided by anything until we are omniscient. More, we contradict the very idea of knowledge. For all
revelation (something I do not rule out but have not yet experienced)} we must act on the knowledge involves generalizations, and therefore abstractions. By its very nature, then,
basis of the certainty we have so far achieved. Truth may, as Milton said, always be in the it is selective, and if it were not selective it would not be knowledge. When we apply the
course of emerging, and we must always be on guard against being so beguiled by its term "biased" to our beliefs merely because they are selective, we are using the term
present shape that we ignore contrary evidence; but, by the same token, when it happens "biased" in such a way that the distinction between being biased and being unbiased loses
that the present shape of truth is compelling beyond a reasonable doubt, it is our moral all meaning.
obligation to act on it and not defer action in the name of an interpretative future that may
never arrive. By running the First Amendment up the nearest flagpole and rushing to salute AKH0282 BIASES DON'T PRECLUDE RELATIVITY OBJECTIVE SOCIAL
it, the student editors defaulted on that obligation and gave over their responsibility to a KNOWLEDGE
so-called principle that was not even to the point. Charles Frankel, Columbia philosopher, THE CASE FOR MODERN MAN, 1956, p.133.
Physical science is not the immaculate product of the disembodied mind any more than
AKH0276 THE QUEST FOR CERTAINTY IS DESTRUCTIVE AND MISGUIDED social science is; but this has not prevented men from attaining what everyone accepts as
Christopher Lasch, Professor of History, University of Rochester, THE REVOLT OF THE objective knowledge in the study of the physical world. It is difficult to see, therefore, why
ELITES, 1995, p.13. this should be absolutely impossible in our social thinking. The simple point is that all
The quest for certainty, which became an obsessive theme in modern thought when thinking has its physical, psychic, and social determinants; but this in no way implies that
Descartes tried to ground philosophy in indubitable propositions, was misguided to begin human beings cannot be objective.
with. As John Dewey pointed out, it distracted attention from the real business of
philosophy the attempt to arrive at "concrete judgments...about ends and means in the AKH0283 REASON NEED NOT DESTROY CREATIVITY
regulation of practical behavior." In their pursuit of the absolute and immutable, Walter Kaufmann, Princeton philosopher, WITHOUT GUILT AND JUSTICE, 1973,
philosophers took a disparaging view of the time-bound and contingent. "Practical p.219.
activity," as Dewey put it, became in their eyes "intrinsically an inferior sort of thing." In It is a romantic prejudice that a highly developed reason and a critical intelligence are not
the world view of Western philosophy, knowing came to be split off from doing, theory compatible with the creation of great art. Among the ancients Aeschylus, Sophocles, and
from practice, the mind from the body. Euripides give the lie to this legend; among the moderns it may suffice to recall Leonardo
and Goethe.
AKH0277 RATIONALITY AND UNIVERSALITY ARE CONSISTENT WITH
ANTI-FOUNDATIONALISM AKH0284 REASON ISN'T COMPATIBLE WITH INTUITION
David Couzens Hoy, Professor of philosophy, University of California-Santa Cruz, H. Stuart Hughes, Stanford historian, CONSCIOUSNESS AND SOCIETY, 1977, p.30.
WORKING THROUGH DERRIDA, Gary Madison, ed., 1993, p.232. For it must be apparent that simply to oppose "intuition" to "reason" as two contradictory
Habermas's stance is later than the modern one, for it recognizes the failure of the modern (or complementary) paths to knowledge offers no real solution to the difficulty. It may be
philosophers to ground the possibility of knowledge in the self-certainty of subjectivity. that the two are no more than different aspects of the same sort of psychological
The modern philosophers privilege subjectivity as the paradigm of philosophical efforts functioning-that what we call intuition is simply a combination of rational and affective
to discover the foundations of knowledge. Habermas claims to have moved beyond the processes too minute to be identified. While reasoning is almost wholly conscious,
philosophy of subjectivity into the philosophy of language. Doing so also means that he intuition is only partially so. Yet intuition is not an "unconscious" process in the Freudian
is not a foundationalist as the modern philosophers were. Instead, he thinks that philosophy sense: it goes on in the area that Freud called the "preconscious" and William James
must recognize that its claims are fallible instead of absolute. Having substituted language termed the "fringe of consciousness." It is characterized by a "fusion of intermediate steps"
for the moderns' philosophy of the subject, and rejected their absolutism and that resists precise identification. Of its importance "for all normal symbolic creative
foundationalism for empirical fallibilism means that in central ways he comes later than thinking, whether artistic or scientific," there can be little doubt. It alone "makes possible
modernity. So it is tempting to think of Habermas himself as a postmodern. Yet, those . . . leaps in art and science by means of which the creative process sometimes dons
supposedly unlike the neo-Nietzschean French postmoderns, he has not abandoned modern seven league boots." Even the most science-minded could scarcely object to such a
philosophy's goal of formulating and defending rationality and universality. characterization.

AKH0278 REASON DOESN'T REQUIRE A METAPHYSICAL GROUND AKH0285 REASON IS NEEDED TO JUDGE OTHER METHODS OF INSIGHT
Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Professors of Philosophy and anthropology, University Herbert Muller, Indiana U Govt. Prof., THE USES OF THE PAST, 1952, p.362.
of California Berkeley, FOUCAULT: A CRITICAL READER, David Couzens Hoy, ed., Whatever higher faculties man may have-of feeling, intuition, or imagination, in vision,
1986, p.111. trance, or ecstasy-can be trusted only after they have been interpreted and judged by
For Habermas, then, the problem of modernity, a unique historical problem, consists in reason. Otherwise anything goes: the visions of Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, Marx,
preserving the primacy of reason articulated most recently and fully in Kant's Whitman, Nietzsche, and Hitler are on the same footing; and what goes best is apt to be
enlightenment critique while facing up to the loss of metaphysical ground of our blind unreason or brute force. No product of social intercourse is more precious than
substantive beliefs. Maturity is the discovery of the quasi-transcendental basis of reasonableness, or more essential to attaining and sharing the goods of life; for love itself
community as all we have and all we need, for philosophy, and human dignity. is a partial sentiment that often goes wrong, leading to division, jealousy, and hatred.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 25
AKH0286 UNCHECKED INTUITION INVITES SUPERSTITION AND STUPIDITY AKH0292 REASON IS KEY TO BENEVOLENCE
Walter Kaufmann, Princeton philosopher, FROM SHAKESPEARE TO Charles Taylor, McGill University philosopher, THE ETHICS OF AUTHENTICITY,
EXISTENTIALISM, 1980, p.268. 1991, p.104-5.
For philosophy, as for the sciences, vision and intuition are indispensable, but we cannot Already in the early seventeenth century, Francis Bacon criticized the traditional
welcome their gifts indiscriminately without inviting superstition and random stupidity. Aristotelian sciences for having contributed nothing "to relieve the condition of mankind."
The genius of a poet is not sufficient warrant against such dangers. He proposed in their stead a model of science whose criterion of truth would be
instrumental efficacy. You have discovered something when you can intervene to change
AKH0287 TO BE RELIABLE, INTUITION MUST BE SUBJECT TO CRITICAL things. Modern science is in essential continuity in this respect with Bacon. But what is
REASON important about Bacon is that he reminds us that the thrust behind this new science was not
Talcot Parsons, sociologist, aqi H. Stuart Hughes, CONSCIOUSNESS AND SOCIETY, only epistemological but also moral. We are heirs of Bacon, in that today, for instance, we
1977, p.312. mount great international campaigns for famine relief or to help the victims of floods. We
Our immediate intuitions of meaning may be real and, as such, correct. But their have come to accept a universal solidarity today, at least in theory, however imperfect our
interpretation cannot dispense with a rationally consistent system of theoretical concepts. practice, and we accept this under the premiss of an active interventionism in nature. We
Only in so far as they measure up to such criticism can intuitions constitute knowledge. don't accept that people should continue to be potential victims of hurricanes or famines.
And without such criticism the door is opened to any number of uncontrolled and We think of these as in principle curable or preventable evils. This practical and universal
unverifiable allegations. Weber had a very deep and strong ethical feeling on this point, benevolence also gives a crucial place to instrumental reason. Those who react against the
to him the intuitionist position made possible the evasion of responsibility for scientific place it has come to take in our lives on aesthetic or lifestyle grounds (and this has been
judgments. a large part of the protest over the decades since the eighteenth century) are often taxed by
defenders with being morally callous and unimaginative, putting their own aesthetic
AKH0288 PRINCIPLES CAN BE DISCOVERED BY INTUITION BUT MUST BE sensibility above the vital needs of masses of suffering people.
VALIDATED BY SCIENCE
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH AKH0293 REASON IS THE KEY TO HUMAN SURVIVAL
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.137. Ayn Rand, philosopher, CAPITALISM: THE UNKNOWN IDEAL, 1967, p.17.
But while it must be recognized that scientific laws are often discovered through a process If some men do not choose to think, they can survive only by imitating and repeating a
of intuition, this does not mean that they can be intuitively validated. As we have said routine of work discovered by others-but those others had to discover it, or none would
many times already, it is essential to distinguish the psychological question, How does our have survived. If some men do not choose to think or to work, they can survive
knowledge originate? from the logical question, How is it certified as knowledge? (temporarily) only by looting the goods produced by others-but those others had to
produce them, or none would have survived. Regardless of what choice is made, in this
AKH0289 INTUITIONS MUST BE EXPRESSIBLE AS EMPIRICAL PROPOSITIONS issue, by any man or by any number of men, regardless of what blind, irrational, or evil
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH course they may choose to pursue-the fact remains that reason is man's means of survival
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.118. and that men prosper or fail, survive or perish in proportion to the degree of their
For his part, the mystic may protest that his intuition does reveal truths to him, even though rationality.
he cannot explain to others what these truths are; and that we who do not possess this
faculty of intuition can have no ground for denying that it is a cognitive faculty. For we AKH0294 LIFE REQUIRES RATIONAL INQUIRY
can hardly maintain a priori that there are no ways of discovering true propositions except Roger Trigg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, RATIONALITY AND
those which we ourselves employ. The answer is that we set no limit to the number of ways SCIENCE, 1993, p.43.
in which one may come to formulate a true proposition. We do not in any way deny that Rescher, himself, makes it clear that the comparison with religious practices is not a threat
a synthetic truth may be discovered by purely intuitive methods as well as by the rational to science or to cognitive inquiry: The religious project is optional: one may simply decline
method of induction. But we do say that every synthetic proposition, however it may have to enter in. But the cognitive project is not so easily evaded. We must act to live, must eat
been arrived at, must be subject to the test of actual experience. We do not deny a priori this or that, move here or there, do something or other. (1992, p.265) It seems that our need
that the mystic is able to discover truths by his own special methods. We wait to hear what to survive and to flourish in this world will immediately generate the need for rational
are the propositions which embody his discoveries, in order to see whether they are inquiry. 'We cannot,' he says, 'act effectively without rationally warranted confidence in
verified or confuted by our empirical observations. But the mystic, so far from producing our (putative) knowledge' (p.266). Our science is built on our communal search for such
propositions which are empirically verified, is unable to produce any intelligible rational warrant, and that cannot take place without a commitment to the real world.
propositions at all. And therefore we say that his intuition has not revealed to him any
facts. AKH0295 RATIONALITY IS THE NECESSARY CONDITION OF HUMAN
SURVIVAL
AKH0290 INEXPRESSIBLE INTUITIONS AREN'T GENUINE COGNITIVE STATES Ayn Rand, philosopher and novelist, THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS, 1964, p.94-5.
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH "The source of man's rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity.
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.118-9 A is A-and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man's nature for
It is no use his saying that he has apprehended facts but is unable to express them. For we his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right
know that if he really had acquired any information, he would be able to express it. He to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product
would be able to indicate in some way or other how the genuineness of his discovery might of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature
be empirically determined. The fact that he cannot reveal what he "knows," or even himself forbids him the rational."
devise an empirical test to validate his "knowledge," shows that his state of mystical
intuition is not a genuinely cognitive state. So that in describing his vision the mystic does AKH0296 REJECTING RATIONALITY MEANS REJECTING LIFE
not give us any information about the external world; he merely gives us indirect Ayn Rand, philosopher and novelist, THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS, 1964, p.25.
information about the condition of his own mind. Rationality is man's basic virtue, the source of all his other virtues. Man's basic vice, the
source of all his evils, is the act of unfocusing his mind, the suspension of his
AKH0291 REASON IS NEEDED TO JUSTIFY OUR EMOTIONAL RESPONSES consciousness, which is not blindness, but the refusal to see, not ignorance, but the refusal
Ronald Dworkin, NYU law prof, TAKING RIGHTS SERIOUSLY, 1978, p.250. to know. Irrationality is the rejection of man's means of survival and, therefore, a
If I base my view about homosexuals on a personal emotional reaction ('they make me commitment to a course of blind destruction; that which is anti-mind, is anti-life.
sick') you would reject that reason as well. We distinguish moral positions from emotional
reactions, not because moral positions are supposed to be unemotional or dispassionate - AKH0297 RATIONALITY IS THE ESSENCE OF HUMAN NATURE
quite the reverse is true - but because the moral position is supposed to justify the Hans Reiss, Professor of German, University of Bristol, KANT'S POLITICAL
emotional reaction, and not vice versa. If a man is unable to produce such reasons, we do WRITINGS, 1970, p.36.
not deny the fact of his emotional involvement, which may have important social or Kant adopts a point of view, admittedly a subjective one, from which it is not only
political consequences, but we do not take this involvement as demonstrating his moral 'possible, but profitable, and not only profitable, but necessary' to look at the facts of
conviction. Indeed, it is just this sort of position - a severe emotional reaction to a practice history. Since his main concern is with human freedom, the development of human
or a situation for which one cannot account - that we tend to describe, in lay terms, as a freedom provides him with the necessary clue. He therefore assumes that a plan of nature
phobia or an obsession. must intend the education of mankind to a state of freedom. Or (to put it differently) since
nature has endowed man with reason, and since the purpose of nature is to realize man's
essence, nature has made man in order that he should become rational.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 26
AKH0298 ETHICAL ARGUMENT REQUIRES REASON AKH0304 UNIVERSAL VALIDITY CLAIMS ARE LEGITIMATE WHEN SUBJECT
William Frankena, U of Michigan philosopher, ETHICS, 1973, p.25. TO ONGOING CRITICISM
This point is connected with the fact, noted earlier, that particular ethical and value Richard Bernstein, Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, WORKING
judgments can be supported by reasons. If Jones makes such a judgment, it is appropriate THROUGH DERRIDA, Gary Madison, ed., 1993, p.211.
to ask him for his reason for believing that the act is right or the object good, and to expect Habermas's fallibilism is not incompatible with making universal claims and seeking to
an answer like, "Because you promised to do it" or ''Because it gives pleasure." If he redeem them with the strongest arguments we can give. This is the way in which he
answers, "Oh, for no reason whatsoever," we are puzzled and feel that he has misled us by conceives of his own theory of communicative action. In this respect, Habermas sees no
using ethical or value terms at all. Moral and value judgments imply reasons; and reasons epistemological difference between a theory of communicative action and any other
cannot apply in a particular case only. If they apply in one case, they apply in all similar scientific theory. For in advancing any theory we are always making universal validity
cases. Moreover, in order to give a reason in a particular case, one must presuppose a claims which are necessarily open to ongoing criticism and revision.
general proposition.
AKH0305 THE CHOICE OF REASON IS HISTORICALLY VINDICATED
AKH0299 ADVANCING RATIONALITY IS A MORAL OBLIGATION Leonard Peikoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, THE OMINOUS
Hans Reiss, Professor of German, University of Bristol, KANT'S POLITICAL PARALLELS, 1982, p.311.
WRITINGS, 1970, p.37. Since men's grasp of reason and their versions of non-reason differ from era to era,
To advance the spread of rationality is a moral obligation, for this advance is the only way according to the extent of their knowledge and their virtue, so does the specific form of the
in which our moral nature can be fully realised. choice, and its specific result. In the ancient world, after centuries of a gradual decline, the
choice was the ideas of classical civilization or the ideas of Christianity. Men chose
AKH0300 NEGLECTING RATIONAL TRUTH UNDERMINE ALL MEANINGFUL Christianity. The result was the Dark Ages. In the medieval world, a thousand years later,
CRITIQUE the choice was Augustine or Aquinas. Men chose Aquinas. The result was the Renaissance.
Richard Bernstein, Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, WORKING In the Enlightenment world, four centuries later, the founders of America struggled to
THROUGH DERRIDA, Gary Madison, ed., 1993, p.211. reaffirm the choice of their Renaissance ancestors, but they could not make it stick
Throughout his intellectual career Habermas has relentlessly sought to track down, expose, historically. The result was a magnificent new country, with a built-in self-destructor.
and defeat the varieties of nihilism, relativism decisionism, historicism, and
neo-Aristotelian contexualism that have been so fashionable in the twentieth century. Here AKH0306 RATIONALITY IS GROUNDED IN EVERYDAY CONVERSATIONAL
too his motivations are not exclusively theoretical-they are motivated by his practical PRACTICES
concerns. For he argues that the logic of all these "positions " when we think them through Jurgen Habermas, Professor of Philosophy, University of Frankfurt, HABERMAS AND
undermines the possibility of critique that is rationally grounded and warranted. He MODERNITY, Richard Bernstein, ed., 1985, p.196.
criticizes all forms of totalizing critique claiming that they lead to performative The most important achievement of such an approach is the possibility of clarifying a
contradictions. What he says about Nietzsche applies equally to all those who work in his concept of communicative rationality that escapes the snares of Western logocentrism.
shadow (including Derrida): "Nietzsche's critique consumes the critical impulse itself." "If Instead of following Nietzsche's path of a totalizing and self-referential critique of reason,
thought can no longer operate in the realms of truth and validity claims then analysis and whether it be via Heidegger to Derrida, or via Bataille to Foucault, and throwing the baby
critique lose their meaning." One is left only with the seductions of a "bad" aestheticism out with the bathwater, it is more promising to seek this end through the analysis of the
that "enthrones taste, the 'Yes' and 'No' of the palate (BGE p. 341) as the sole organ of already operative potential for rationality contained in the everyday practices of
knowledge beyond Truth and Falsity beyond Good and Evil." communication. Here the validity dimensions of propositional truth, normative rightness,
and subjective truthfulness or authenticity are intermeshed with each other.
AKH0301 RADICAL CRITIQUE REQUIRES REASON
William Hohengarter, introduction to POSTMETAPHYSICAL THINKING by Jurgen AKH0307 REASON IS INCLUDED IN ALL SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATION
Habermas, 1992, p.vii. Jurgen Habermas, Professor of Philosophy, University of Frankfurt, HABERMAS AND
Like most contemporary thinkers, Habermas is critical of the Western metaphysical MODERNITY, Richard Bernstein, ed., 1985, p.197.
tradition and its exaggerated conception of reason. At the same time, however, he cautions Rorty takes Western logocentrism as an indication of the exhaustion of our philosophical
against relinquishing that conception altogether. Against the radical critics of Western discourse and a reason to bid adieu to philosophy as such. This way of reading the tradition
philosophy he argues that the wholesale rejection of the metaphysical tradition inevitably can not be maintained if philosophy can be transformed so as to enable it to cope with the
undercuts the possibility of rational critique itself. He thus defends the view that genuinely entire spectrum of aspects of rationality - and with the historical fate of a reason that has
postmetaphysical thinking can remain critical only if it preserves the idea of reason derived been arrested again and again, ideologically misused and distorted, but that also stubbornly
from the tradition while stripping it of its metaphysical trappings. raises its voice in every inconspicuous act of successful communication.

AKH0302 EVEN DERRIDA REJECTS IRRATIONALISM AKH0308 HABERMAS IS GERMANY'S LEADING PHILOSOPHER
David Couzens Hoy, Professor of philosophy, University of California-Santa Cruz, Francis Fiorenza, Professor of Theology, Harvard, HABERMAS, MODERNITY, AND
WORKING THROUGH DERRIDA, Gary Madison, ed., 1993, p.242-3. PUBLIC THEOLOGY, 1992, p.1.
Similarly, Derrida denies being an enemy of reason. He may want to challenge the Jurgen Habermas is by far the most pre-eminent and influential philosopher in Germany.
rationality of many established conceptual distinctions or institutional practices. The task The breath and depth of his writings are remarkable. Their influence extends over a broad
of criticism involves a double gesture of formulating rationally questions about the limits range of disciplines that include philosophy, social theory, hermeneutics, anthropology,
of rational endeavors. Derrida explicitly acknowledges that his own efforts conform to the linguistics, ethics, educational theory, and public policy.
principle of reason, and he does not recommend that others who would share in these
efforts try to contest reason: "Those who venture along this path, it seems to me, need not AKH0309 HABERMAS AVOIDS DOGMATISM AND POSTMODERN NIHILISM
set themselves up in opposition to the principle of reason, nor need they give way to Francis Fiorenza, Professor of Theology, Harvard, HABERMAS, MODERNITY, AND
'irrationalism'" Since philosophy has always been the "place" where reason must be PUBLIC THEOLOGY, 1992, p.8.
respected, Derrida recognizes that his own discourse is subject to the constraints and rigors In contrast to the global postmodern criticisms of modernity, Habermas criticizes the
of philosophical (as opposed to those of "literary") expression. Early in his career he modern Enlightenment yet does not abandon the project of the Enlightenment. His
opposed the interpretation of deconstruction as advocating the death of philosophy. More dialectical interpretation of modernity steers the middle path between a modern dogmatism
recently, he has acknowledged that his own discourse is institutionally framed by the and a postmodern nihilism. Following Peukert's interpretation that the critique of reason
philosophical profession. belongs to the tradition of the Enlightenment, Lamb underscores the point that rationality
entails a learning and self-correcting process. Communicative action is, therefore, not
AKH0303 TRUTH CLAIMS REQUIRE THE EVALUATION OF REASONS simply a new model that replaces an old one. Rather, it involves an ongoing and critical
William Hohengarter, introduction to POSTMETAPHYSICAL THINKING by Jurgen process so that we can and must interpret modernity in a way that makes us aware of its
Habermas, 1992, p.x. ambiguity, that is, of its potential for domination as well as emancipation.
Habermas argues that, in general, we evaluate truth claims not by directly comparing a
statement with a state of affairs in the objective world but by examining the reasons that AKH0310 RATIONALITY IS DEFINED AS THE BEST AVAILABLE METHODS IN
a speaker can give in support of what she says. Claiming that one's statement is true, or PRACTICE
valid, is tantamount to claiming that good reasons can be given in support of it. In A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
Habermas's words: "The speaker refers with his validity claim to a potential of reasons that AND LOGIC, 1946, p.100.
could be brought to bear for it." These reasons are in turn evaluated in terms of their For we define a rational belief as one which is arrived at by the methods which we now
intersubjective acceptability as good reasons for holding something to be the case. consider reliable. There is no absolute standard of rationality, just as there is no method
of constructing hypotheses which is guaranteed to be reliable. We trust the methods of
contemporary science because they have been successful in practice. If in the future we
were to adopt different methods, then beliefs which are now rational might become
irrational from the standpoint of these new methods. But the fact that this is possible has
no bearing on the fact that these beliefs are rational now.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 27
AKH0311 ALL EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE SUPPORTS CAUSAL LAWS AKH0318 OUR WHOLE WAY OF SPEAKING ABOUT REALITY ASSUMES CAUSE
Bertrand Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge, OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE Bertrand Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge, OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE
EXTERNAL WORLD, 1929, p.171. EXTERNAL WORLD, 1929, p.174.
What we have said so far is that there have been hitherto certain observed casual laws, and Not only do memory and hope make a difference in our feelings as regards past and future,
that all the empirical evidence we possess is compatible with the view that everything, both but almost our whole vocabulary is filled with the idea of activity, of things done now for
mental and physical, so far as our observation has extended, has happened in accordance the sake of their future effects. All transitive verbs involve the notion of cause as activity,
with causal laws. and would have to be replaced by some cumbrous periphrasis before this notion could be
eliminated.
AKH0312 THE REJECTION OF CAUSE UNDERMINES EFFECTIVE AGENCY
John William Miller, Professor of Philosophy, Williams College, THE PARADOX OF AKH0319 OUR MENTAL STRUCTURES NECESSITATE CAUSAL EXPLANATIONS
CAUSE, 1978, p.12-3. Hans Reiss, Professor of German, University of Bristol, KANT'S POLITICAL
But the failure of causal order offers no hope for freedom. Anarchy in nature excludes WRITINGS, 1970, p.17.
power, control, or purpose quite as effectively as does necessity. Indeed, it destroys every Hume had convincingly refuted the possibility of philosophically justifying induction, the
shred of security, every opportunity for will. Purpose can neither formulate nor execute method of establishing necessary universal laws proceeding from individual instances; for
itself apart from dependable sequences in nature. Where objects and events possess no him causality was only the result of a habitual association of the mind. Hume's writings
regular constitution, no definite sequence, the human will gets no intellectual content in roused Kant from his 'dogmatic slumber'. In order to refute Hume and to vindicate science
terms of which to assert its direction and its program. How shall one proceed to cure philosophically, he found it necessary to start his enquiry not from objects of experience,
headaches if pain occurs for no reason at all? What drug could the physician recommend? but from the mind. For him, the laws of nature were not inherent in nature, but
Both head and drug would lose their lawful outlines, would, indeed, cease to be constructions of the mind used for the purpose of understanding nature. We can never
recognizable. explain the world as it appears to us merely by reference to experience; to do so we need
necessary principles logically prior to and independent of experience. Only then can we
AKH0313 HUME DIDN'T DENY THE EXISTENCE OF CAUSE see any order in nature. In fact, uniformity, coherence and order are imposed on nature by
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH our minds. In other words, we cannot know the world other than as it appears to us, for we
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.54. must see it within the framework of our mind. The world of appearance is thus conditioned
It is true that Hume does not, so far as I know, actually put forward any view concerning by being located in the particulars of space and time and ordered by a priori concepts of
the nature of philosophical propositions themselves, but those of his works which are our understanding or categories such as causality.
commonly accounted philosophical are, apart from certain passages which deal with
questions of psychology, works of analysis. If this is not universally conceded, it is AKH0320 ALL INFERENCES RELY ON CAUSAL LAWS
because his treatment of causation, which is the main feature of his philosophical work, Bertrand Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge, OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE
is often misinterpreted. He has been accused of denying causation, whereas in fact he was EXTERNAL WORLD, 1929, p.164-5.
concerned only with defining it. So far is he from asserting that no causal propositions are By a "causal law" I mean any general proposition in virtue of which it is possible to infer
true that he is himself at pains to give rules for judging of the existence of causes and the existence of one thing or event from the existence of another or of a number of others.
effects. If you hear thunder without having seen lightning, you infer that there nevertheless was
a flash, because of the general proposition, "All thunder is preceded by lightning." When
AKH0314 THE PROBLEM OF INDUCTION IS A BOGUS ONE Robinson Crusoe sees a footprint, he infers a human being, and he might justify his
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH inference by the general proposition, "All marks in the ground shaped like a human foot
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.50. are subsequent to a human being's standing where the marks are." When we see the sun set,
Thus it appears that there is no possible way of solving the problem of induction, as it is we expect that it will rise again the next day. When we hear a man speaking, we infer that
ordinarily conceived. And this means that it is a fictitious problem, since all genuine he has certain thoughts. All these inferences require causal laws for their justification.
problems are at least theoretically capable of being solved: and the credit of natural science
is not impaired by the fact that some philosophers continue to be puzzled by it. AKH0321 HUME'S SKEPTICISM IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH PRACTICAL
EXISTENCE
AKH0315 IT IS RATIONAL TO EXPECT THE FUTURE TO REPEAT THE PAST George Santayana, Harvard philosopher, SKEPTICISM AND ANIMAL FAITH, 1923,
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH p.296-7.
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.50. All this is sheer sophistry, and limping skepticism. Certainly the vulgar notions of nature,
Of course, the fact that a certain form of procedure has always been successful in practice and even the scientific ones, are most questionable; and they may have grown up in the
affords no logical guarantee that it will continue to be so. But then it is a mistake to way these critics suggest; in any case they have grown up humanly. But they are not mere
demand a guarantee where it is logically impossible to obtain one. This does not mean that images; they are beliefs; and the truth of beliefs hangs on what they assert, not on their
it is irrational to expect future experience to conform to the past. For when we come to origin. The question is whether such an object as they describe lies in fact in the quarter
define rationality we shall find that for us "being rational" entails being guided in a where they assert it to lie; the genealogy of these assertions in the mind of the believer,
particular fashion by past experience. though interesting, is irrelevant. It is for science and further investigation of the object to
pronounce on the truth of any belief. It will remain a mere belief to the end, no matter how
AKH0316 CAUSALITY FOLLOWS FROM THE PRINCIPLE OF INDUCTION much corroborated and corrected; but the fact that it is a belief, far from proving that it
Bertrand Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge, THE PROBLEMS OF must be false, renders it possibly true, as it could not be if it asserted nothing and had no
PHILOSOPHY, 1912, p.69. object beyond itself which it pointed to and professed to describe. This whole school
The general principles of science, such as the belief in the reign of law, and the belief that criticises knowledge, not by extending knowledge and testing it further, but by reviewing
every event must have a cause, are as completely dependent upon the inductive principle it maliciously, on the tacit assumption that knowledge is impossible. But in that case this
as are the beliefs of daily life. All such general principles are believed because mankind review of knowledge and all this shrewd psychology are themselves worthless; and we are
have found innumerable instances of their truth and no instances of their falsehood. But reduced, as Hume was in his deeper moments of insight, to a speechless wonder. So that
this affords no evidence for their truth in the future, unless the inductive principle is whilst all the animals trust their senses and live, philosophy would persuade man alone not
assumed. to trust them and, if he was consistent, to stop living.

AKH0317 INDUCTION CAN'T BE LOGICALLY PROVEN BUT IT'S A PRACTICAL AKH0322 HUME BELIEVED THAT SUCCESS IN PRACTICE JUSTIFIES
NECESSITY INDUCTION
Bertrand Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge, THE PROBLEMS OF A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH
PHILOSOPHY, 1912, p.68-9. AND LOGIC, 1946, p.55.
All arguments which, on the basis of experience, argue as to the future or the But although we are obliged, for these reasons, to reject Hume's actual definitions of a
unexperienced parts of the past or present, assume the inductive principle; hence we can cause, our view of the nature of causation remains substantially the same as his. And we
never use experience to prove the inductive principle without begging the question. Thus agree with him that there can be no other justification for inductive reasoning than its
we must either accept the inductive principle on the ground of its intrinsic evidence, or success in practice, while insisting more strongly than he did that no better justification is
forgo all justification of our expectations about the future. If the principle is unsound we required. For it is his failure to make this second point clear that has given his views the
have no reason to expect the sun to rise to-morrow, to expect bread to be more nourishing air of paradox which has caused them to be so much undervalued and misunderstood.
than a stone, or to expect that if we throw ourselves off the roof we shall fall. When we see
what looks like our best friend approaching us, we shall have no reason to suppose that his
body is not inhabited by the mind of our worst enemy or of some total stranger. All our
conduct is based upon associations which have worked in the past, and which we therefore
regard as likely to work in the future; and this likelihood is dependent for its validity upon
the inductive principle.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 28
AKH0323 HUME RECOMMENDS FORGETTING THE PROBLEM OF CAUSALITY AKH0330 POSTMODERNISM RESTS ON WHAT IT REJECTS--A GRAND THEORY
IN PRACTICAL LIFE OF HISTORY
R.J. Hollingdale, philosopher, WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: AN INTRODUCTION, 1979, Anthony Giddens, Professor of Sociology, Cambridge, THE CONSEQUENCES OF
p.135. MODERNITY, 1990, p.47-8.
All probable reasoning follows taste and sentiment. There is no abstract justification for To speak of post-modernity as superseding modernity appears to invoke that very thing
preferring one principle to another. If we do prefer one, it is because we like it more. This which is declared (now) to be impossible: giving some coherence to history and
skeptical doubt concerning the validity of all non-deductive reasoning Hume calls a pinpointing our place in it. Moreover, if Nietzsche was the principal author disconnecting
"malady" from which one can free oneself only by "carelessness and inattention": one can postmodernity from modernity, a phenomenon supposedly happening today, how is it
live happily only by forgetting what one knows. So far as he can see, the sole reason for possible that he saw all this almost a century ago? Why was Nietzsche able to make such
studying philosophy is that one likes to do it: that, at any rate, is the reason he does it. a breakthrough without as he freely said, doing anything more than uncovering the hidden
presuppositions of the Enlightenment itself?
AKH0324 EVEN HUME HAD TO ASSUME CAUSATION WHEN HE FORMULATED
ETHICAL AND POLITICAL PRINCIPLES. AKH0331 WE AREN'T ENTERING A POSTMODERN PERIOD CURRENTLY
A. J. Ayer, Oxford philosopher, HUME, 1980, p.75. Anthony Giddens, Professor of Sociology, Cambridge, THE CONSEQUENCES OF
Considering the relish with which Hume denies the necessity of the proposition that every MODERNITY, 1990, p.3.
event has a cause, we may be surprised to discover how firmly he accepts its truth. There Rather than entering a period of post-modernity, we are moving into one in which the
is, indeed, a passage in the Treatise where, in the course of discussing the passions of fear consequences of modernity are becoming more radicalized and universalized than before.
and hope, he speaks of the probabilities which cause them as belonging to one or other of Beyond modernity, I shall claim, we can perceive the contours of a new and different
two kinds, according as the object is already certain but 'uncertain to our judgement' or order, which is "post-modern"; but this is quite distinct from what is at the moment called
'when the object is really in itself uncertain, and to be determined by chance' (T 444), but by many "post-modernity."
this is a rare departure from his usual view that 'what the vulgar call chance is nothing but
a secret and concealed cause' (T I30). Throughout his analysis of the passions, and his AKH0332 MODERNITY ISN'T A FAILED PROJECT
exploration of the foundations of morals and politics, his official position is that of a Matei Calinescu, Indiana University, FIVE FACES OF MODERNITY, 1987, p.273.
determinist. In this speech the neo-Marxist Habermas identifies the notion of postmodernity with the
(neo)conservative position of those who believe that modernity has failed and that the
AKH0325 THE PROBLEM OF INDUCTION DOESN'T REFUTE SCIENCE utopian impulses it gave rise to should therefore be suppressed. But modernity or the
A.J. Ayer, Professor of Philosophy, University College, London, LANGUAGE, TRUTH "project of the Enlightenment," Habermas argues from the standpoint of his own
AND LOGIC, 1946, p.49. emancipatory philosophy, is not a failed project, only an unfinished one. What should be
It is time, therefore, to abandon the superstition that natural science cannot be regarded as rejected is not modernity, whose critical heritage as reappraised by the Frankfurt School
logically respectable until philosophers have solved the problem of induction. The problem of Adorno, Horkheimer, or Benjamin is still a source of "emulation for the intellectual";
of induction is, roughly speaking, the problem of finding a way to prove that certain what should be rejected is the (neo)conservative ideology of postmodernity.
empirical generalizations which are derived from past experience will hold good also in
the future. AKH0333 ENLIGHTENMENT IDEALS DON'T NEED TO BE ABANDONED
Anthony Giddens, Professor of Sociology, Cambridge, PROFILES AND CRITIQUES IN
AKH0326 POSTMODERNISM LEADS TO FASCIST NIHILISM SOCIAL THEORY, 1982, p.225.
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and I think it valid to say that social and political theory is currently going through a period of
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.73. transition, rather than terminal collapse. There is no need to release hold of 'modernism'
There is a paradox in all this. In scorning the Enlightenment, the postmodern left is clearly yet, to renounce the ideals of the Enlightenment as false gods to be replaced by a brutish
cutting away the roots, emotional as well as intellectual, that formed and sustained its most acquiescence in the reality of power.
deeply held egalitarian ideals. In embracing the brittle skepticism of postmodern thought,
would-be leftists are never more than an inch away from passivity, ineffectuality, and AKH0334 DERRIDA IS THE CHARACTERISTIC POSTMODERN THINKER
cynical despair. A criticism frequently advanced by opponents of Richard Bernstein, Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, WORKING
postmodernism-justifiably, in our view-is that the doctrine, at its most virulent, is hardly THROUGH DERRIDA, Gary Madison, ed., 1993, p.206.
distinguishable from the moral blankness, the Viva la muerte!, upon which fascism was Derrida, who rarely even mentions "modernity" or "postmodernity," is nevertheless taken
erected in the first half of this century. to be the "postmodern" thinker par excellence.

AKH0327 POSTMODERN THOUGHT LEADS TO SUPPORT FOR AKH0335 POSTMODERNISM DEVALUES EVERYTHING
TOTALITARIANISM Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
Paul Berman, fellow, New York University Institute for the Humanities, DEBATING P.C. Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.85.
1992, p.9-10. Secondly, postmodernism, whether chiefly derived from one philosophical source or
The many dazzlements of '68 Philosophy were never any use in addressing mundane drawing eclectically on a flock of them-Lyotard, Baudrillard in addition to Derrida and
questions like these. The great god of the Paris thinkers was Heidegger, who was second Foucault-is, in its skepticism about everything save itself, an incarnation of the
to none in holding Western rationalism and humanism responsible for all the unhappiness anti-Philosopher's Stone. Everything it touches is drained of value, authority, validity, and
of modern life and for hinting at millenarian alternatives. But the alternative he ended up even the right to stand for what it has always stood for and to be understood as it has
embracing was the Nazism of Adolf Hitler. Of course, the Paris ultra-radicals who imbibed always been understood.
the theories of '68 Philosophy were anything but right wing. Yet there was nothing in their
leftism to prevent a substantial number of them from tilting to an opposite extreme and AKH0336 THE POSTMODERN PERSPECTIVE PRECLUDES A POSITIVE
celebrating dictators like Mao Zedong, so long as the horrors of liberal civilization were ALTERNATIVE
being opposed. For the whole point of postmodern theorizing was, after all, to adopt Francis Mootz, Professor of Law, Western New England College School of Law,
positions that were so far out, so wild, as to blow your mind. HOUSTON LAW REVIEW, Fall 1994, p.881.
Fisher goes on to argue that with the radicalized extension represented by postmodernism,
AKH0328 POSTMODERNISM UNDERMINES REASON AND TRUTH where the point is precisely to dismantle with no ground left, but only a multiplicity of
Roger Trigg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, RATIONALITY AND standpoints which amounts to no standpoint--an everywhere which is nowhere--the
SCIENCE, 1993, p.66. enabling suspicion of the older tradition is extended and intensified into paranoia--and thus
On this understanding post-modernism is an attack on notions of reason and truth. It becomes disabling. The difference is between a critical project which might choose to
dethrones science by attacking the very human rationality which has produced science. exempt itself from presenting a positive alternative, and one which precludes the
Some may welcome the conclusion that science cannot monopolize human reason, but is possibility of a positive alternative.
only one language game amongst many. They might, however, be more reluctant to accept
that science has only lost its authority because all human reason has been rendered AKH0337 POST-MODERNISM IS POLITICALLY REACTIONARY
impotent. We can no longer legitimate any of our activities. Matei Calinescu, Indiana University, FIVE FACES OF MODERNITY, 1987, p.273.
What actually triggered the polemic was Habermas's attack on French "poststructuralism,"
AKH0329 POSTMODERN RELATIVISM CAN'T DISTINGUISH SCIENCE FROM defined as a conservative rejection of modernity and its central values of rationality and
FABLES universality. By suggesting that Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida are profoundly akin
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and to the group of thinkers known during the Weimar Republic as the Jungkonservativen
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.210. (Young Conservatives), Habermas wanted to stress their common descent not only from
Postmodern relativism undercuts any possible protest grounded on the notion of Heidegger but ultimately from the most antimodern of modern philosophers, Friedrich
objectivity. It entails a perspectivism that finds no basis for epistemological distinctions Nietzsche. Although not named in the Adorno Prize speech, a third French man, Jean
between science and fables. Francois Lyotard, was probably the main target of Habermas's criticism.
The Anti-Kritik Handbook 29
AKH0338 POSTMODERNISM REFLECTS A DANGEROUS NOSTALGIA AKH0344 THE CRITIQUE OF MODERNITY ENTAILS IRRATIONALISM AND
Andrew Cutrofello, St. Mary's College, SOCIAL THEORY AND PRACTICE, Spring AMORALISM
1993, p.94. Luc Ferry, Professor at the Sorbonne, RIGHTS--THE NEW QUARREL BETWEEN THE
However, retrieval is one thing, and nostalgia another, and there is a disturbing nostalgia ANCIENTS AND THE MODERNS, 1990, p.22.
lurking in most theories of the postmodern today. At its most benign, this nostalgia If, as we have seen, the two basic 'faces' of modern metaphysics are reason (the principle
functions (as I think it does in Habermas) as a wish that modern history could have turned of reason) and free will (the ability to act in accordance to the representation of ends), the
out differently, coupled with the sober acknowledgment that it did not. At its worst, phenomenological deconstructions of modernity run two risks, which they do indeed incur
postmodern nostalgia functions as an undialectical wish to return to some idealized in their less coherent versions-the risks of irrationalism and amoralism. I shall confine
conception of premodern reality. This is a dangerous nostalgia which finds its unlikely (or myself to a brief description of them since their analysis is pursued in the succeeding
maybe not so unlikely) paradigmatic expression in Heidegger's "Only a God can save us volume.
now."
AKH0345 POSTMODERNISM REJECTS THE IDEA OF UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE
AKH0339 POSTMODERNISM SIMPLY REINFORCES CONSUMER CAPITALISM Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
Matei Calinescu, Indiana University, FIVE FACES OF MODERNITY, 1987, p.293-4. Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.72.
One can now understand why postmodernism precisely by being "anti-aesthetic," by Contrasted to the Enlightenment ideal of a unified epistemology that discovers the
blunting the powerful cutting edge of the aesthetic, ends up being less subversive than foundational truths of physical and biological phenomena and unites them with an accurate
modernism had been. As a domesticated kind of (anti)modernism, confined to an understanding of humanity in its psychological, social, political, and aesthetic aspects,
unavoidably circular "textualism" and refusing to distinguish between the aesthetic and the postmodern skepticism rejects the possibility of enduring universal knowledge in any area.
non-aesthetic, postmodernism cannot help but play, however unwittingly, the part of a It holds that all knowledge is local, or "situated," the product of interaction of a social
"reinforcer of the logic of consumer capitalism. The post-industrial (and culturally class, rigidly circumscribed by its interests and prejudices, with the historical conditions
postmodern) society in which we live, Jameson writes, has brought about "new types of of its existence. There is no knowledge, then; there are merely stories, "narratives," devised
consumption; planned obsolescence; the penetration of advertising, television, and the to satisfy the human need to make some sense of the world. In so doing, they attack in
media to a hitherto unparalleled degree throughout society; . . . the growth of the great net unacknowledged ways the interests, prejudices, and conceits of their devisers. On this
of superhighways and the arrival of automobile culture." Postmodernism, in this broad view, all knowledge projects are, like war, politics by other means.
scenario of a social mutation, is the cultural product of "the emergence of this new moment
of late, consumer or multinational capitalism. [Postmodernism's] formal features in many AKH0346 POSTMODERNISM IGNORES LOGIC AND EVIDENCE
ways express the deeper logic of this particular system." Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.175-6.
AKH0340 POSTMODERNISM LEADS TO POLITICAL IMPOTENCY The postmodern left, however, has introduced a new rhetorical wrinkle that shields it from
Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and such rebukes. They are ready, at need, to scorn the canons of logic, evidence, objectivity,
Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.88. and coherence on which most of them used to depend for a living. For them, the life of the
For the first time in modern American history, right-wing theorists seem on the point of mind is a dance on thin air.
establishing themselves upon the ethical and philosophical high ground, thanks to the
postmodern contortions of the left. This fact, however has little penetrated left-academic AKH0347 POSTMODERN THOUGHT IGNORES REALITY IN FAVOR OF WORDS
discourse; the entanglement of would-be progressive intellectuals with the conceptual Paul Gross and Norman Levitt, University of Virginia Professor of Life Sciences and
freak show of postmodernism continues to isolate and neutralize them, at least outside the Rutgers University Professor of Mathematics, HIGHER SUPERSTITION, 1994, p.74.
hothouses (i e, academic departments and conferences) in which they flourish. One will If one holds, as most postmodernists do, that "reality" is chimerical or at best inaccessible
cheer or deplore this fact as one's political tendencies dictate. to human cognition, and that all human awareness is a creature and a prisoner of the
language games that encode it, then it is a short step to the belief that mastery over words,
AKH0341 DERRIDA'S AND FOUCAULT'S KRITIK OF MODERNITY EMBODIES over terminology and lexicon, is mastery over the world. As Diggins says, "to the extent
TOTAL PESSIMISM that the Academic Left partook of various structuralist theories, reality eluded its
J.G. Merquior, King's College, London, FROM PRAGUE TO PARIS, 1986, p.237. vocabulary. Such terms as 'power and hegemony' and 'domination and discourse' marked
In France, by contrast, chiefly in the schools of Foucault and Derrida, the antinomian a shift from labor to language in which text, speech, and other forms of communication
stance vis a vis the culture of modernity broke with every vestige of anthropological came to be seen as more refined systems of control, with power ubiquitous and
optimism, with every positive appreciation of humanity or polity. Antinomianism without anonymous."2 In the cold light of day, such a creed seems pathetic as well as futile, a
Utopian ingredients became the rule. desperate amalgam of solipsism and magical thinking. But the world of postmodern
thought is well provided with devices for keeping out the cold light of day.
AKH0342 POSTMODERNISM NEGLECTS PRACTICAL PROBLEMS
Craig Calhoun,. Director of UNC Program in Social Theory and Cross-Cultural Studies, AKH0348 POSTMODERNISM IS MAGICAL THINKING