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Language, the Deepest and Most Reliable Tradition

Language is the best example of how, in Michael Polanyi’s words, “we know more than we can say.” Most of our linguistic knowledge is tacit, and the semantic distinctions built into the myriad grammatical constructions we know we know not how represent ages of thought and practice so that, to the extent we could […]

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The Ministry of True Naming

Formalist reactionary theory addresses the problem of divided, insecure and therefore incalculable power by proposing that all players in the social field be given, explicitly, “title” to the power they in fact exercise. So, the New York Times would be granted, say, the portfolio for communications, in which position they would oversee the Washington […]

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“Liberal Democracy” is the Concealment of Power

First of all, I put “liberal democracy” in scare quotes because I would like to defy anyone to give it a clear definition, and one that applies across the range of countries currently included under the label. (I have been trying—not that hard, admittedly—to discover when the term “liberal democracy” started to be used. […]

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The Sovereign Remembering of Names

How do we recognize the truth? A statement refers to something in the world, and we look at (or for) the referent, and see whether it is there. Or, we look at the different parts of a statement, and see whether one part negates another part. If all the parts of a statement cohere, […]

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Speech and Sovereignty

Speech is effective, which is to say revelatory and transformative, when it points to some reparable failure of reciprocity—reciprocity that is acknowledged by he who is charged with the failure, pointed out by or on behalf of he to whom the reciprocity is owed. (When reciprocity is wholly realized, received verbal formulas are sufficient […]

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