Sophistry

9/6/16

Institutions and practices are social phenomena whose structure and function are historically constructed and in flux.  They are evolving, but not as the Hegelians/Marxists would have it, toward something like equality or democracy.  One might say that they are growing and dying in accordance with the will to power.  The identity of practices such as privilege-shaming is constituted from above and below, so to speak, in accordance with its changing function within a plurality of nested systems ranging in scope from the biological individual to the global community.

So to those who say we should not study the structure/function of institutions, but should seek to change it, I suspect sophistry: using the appearance of reason to make political arguments.  I am not suggesting this is necessarily wrong.  I just want to point it out.  We are in agonistic battle.  My goals and weapons differ from the critical theorists who seek to moralize and guilt others into accepting beliefs that are in the interest of the moralizing critical theorist, but not in the interest of the students.

 

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