I examine the impact of the presence of anarchists among key legal officials upon the legal positivist theories of H.L.A. Hart and Joseph Raz. For purposes of this paper, an anarchist is one who believes that the law cannot successfully obligate or create reasons for action beyond prudential reasons, such as avoiding sanction. I show that both versions of positivism require key legal officials to endorse the law in some way, and that if a legal system can continue to exist (...) and function when its key officials reject the reason-giving character of law, then we have a reason to re-examine and amend legal positivism. (shrink)
What is perhaps most remarkable in regard to both Socialism and Anarchism is the association of a widespread popular movement with ideals for a better world. The ideals have been elaborated, in the first instance, by solitary writers of books, and yet powerful sections of the wage-earning classes have accepted them as their guide in the practical affairs of the world. In regard to Socialism this is evident; but in regard to Anarchism it is only true with some (...) qualification. Anarchism as such has never been a widespread creed, it is only in the modified form of Syndicalism that it has achieved popularity. Unlike Socialism and Anarchism, Syndicalism is primarily the outcome, not of an idea, but of an organization: the fact of Trade Union organization came first, and the ideas of Syndicalism are those which seemed appropriate to this organization in the opinion of the more advanced French Trade Unions. But the ideas are, in the main, derived from Anarchism, and the men who gained acceptance for them were, for the most part, Anarchists. Thus we may regard Syndicalism as the Anarchism of the market-place as opposed to the Anarchism of isolated individuals which had preserved a precarious life throughout the previous decades. Taking this view, we find in Anarchist-Syndicalism the same combination of ideal and organization as we find in Socialist political parties. It is from this standpoint that our study of these movements will be undertaken. (shrink)
This book examines the central questions concerning the duty to obey the law: the meaning of this duty; whether and where it should be acknowledged; and whether and when it should be disregarded. Many contemporary philosophers deny the very existence of this duty, but take a cautious stance toward political disobedience. This 'toothless anarchism', Professor Gans argues, should be discarded in favour of a converse position confirming the existence of a duty to obey the law which can be outweighed (...) by values and principles of political morality. Informed by the Israeli experience of political disobedience motivated by radically differing moral outlooks, the author sets out the principles which should guide our attitude to law and political authority even amidst clashing ideologies and irreconcilable moralities. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of law, philosophy and politics, and anyone concerned with the individual's responsibilties toward his or her political community. (shrink)
In this article, I examine A. John Simmons’s philosophical anarchism, and specifically, the problems that result from the combination of its three foundational principles: the strong correlativity of legitimacy rights and political obligations; the strict distinction between justified existence and legitimate authority; and the doctrine of personal consent, more precisely, its supporting assumptions about the natural freedom of individuals and the non-natural states into which individuals are born. As I argue, these assumptions, when combined with the strong correlativity and (...) strict distinction theses, undermine Simmons’s claim, which is central to his philosophical anarchism, that a state may be justified in enforcing the law, even if illegitimate or unjustified in existing. (shrink)
There was a period in the latter nineteenth century when a distinctively American kind of radicalism flourished, a time when key thinkers could be called, and called themselves, individualists, libertarians, anarchists, and socialists all at once. McElroy gives us a window on the people and times involved. But her work is of more than antiquarian interest: their debates and the issues they faced often sound strikingly modern.
I confront Feyerabend's position and critical rationalism in order to have a foundation or starting point for my (historical) investigation. The main difference of his position towards falsificationism is the belief that different theories cannot be discussed rationally. Feyerabend is convinced that Galilei's observations with the telescope in the historical context of the Copernican revolution supports his criticism. In particular, he argues that the Copernican theory was supported by deficient hypotheses, and falsifications were disposed by ad hoc hypotheses and propaganda. (...) Furthermore, he claims that his philosophy of science reconstructs Galilei's defence of the Copernican theory. He introduces a central principle of his position (the principle of tenacity) in order to justify a research strategy of not eliminating falsified theories. He tries to show that the tenacious defence of a theory corresponds to Galilei's defence of the Copernican theory. Remarkably, Feyerabend's approach to explain the development of science earns an important support from his interpretation of Galilei's observations. On this basis I give a falsificationist interpretation of Galilei's observations with the telescope, and oppose this interpretation to Feyerabend's. From a falsificationist perspective, auxiliary hypotheses compete during the Copernican revolution which can (with some effort) be critically discussed. Then I analyse the historical case in order to test Feyerabend's interpretation of the Copernican revolution. Inter alias I investigate thoroughly whether Galilei, as Feyerabend claims, immunised falsifications of the Copernican theory by the introduction of ad hoc hypotheses. The investigation considers Galilei's explanation of Venus' phases, his establishment of the irradiation hypothesis, the explanation of the telescope's functionality, and the role of the reproducibility of the observations with the telescope. Finally I provide a rational reconstruction of Galilei's falsification of the Ptolemaic theory. The formalisation shows that Galilei was not a cautious critical rationalist, but a very confident scientist using the method of falsification. (shrink)
The justification of the existence of the state should precede the justification of any particular organization of the state. The paper tries to give a clear argument facing anyone who sets out to do the first thing, which is to justify the existence of the state. The problem facing such a person is to identify which premise of the argument is false and explain why it is false.
Anarchist political philosophers normally include in their theories (or implicitly rely upon) a vision of a social life very different than the life experienced by most persons today. Theirs is a vision of autonomous, noncoercive, productive interaction among equals, liberated from and without need for distinctively political institutions, such as formal legal systems or governments or the state. This "positive" part of anarchist theories, this vision of the good social life, will be discussed only indirectly in this essay. Rather, I (...) want to focus here on the "negative" side of anarchism, on its general critique of the state or its more limited critique of the specific kinds of political arrangements within which most residents of modern political societies live. Even more specifically, I will center my discussion on one particular version of this anarchist critique - the version that is part of the theory now commonly referred to as "philosophical anarchism". Philosophical anarchism has been much discussed by political philosophers in recent years. But it has not, I think, been very carefully defined or adequately understood. My object here will be to clear the ground for a fair evaluation of philosophical anarchism, by offering a more systematic account of the nature of the theory and of possible variants of the theory, and by responding to the most frequent objections to the theory. I hope by this effort to present philosophical anarchism as a more attractive, or at least a less obviously flawed, political philosophy. (shrink)
This essay identifies two different methodological strategies used by the proponents of anarchism. In what is termed the "ontological" approach, the rationale for anarchism depends on a particular representation of human nature. That characterization of "being" determines the relation between the individual and the structures of social life. In the alternative approach, the epistemological status of "representation" is challenged, leaving human subjects without stable identities. Without the possibility of stable human representations, the foundations underlying the exercise of institutional (...) power can be challenged. This epistemological discussion is traced from Max Stirner to the twentieth-century movement known as poststructuralism. (shrink)
This paper explores Paul Feyerabend's (1924-1994) skeptical arguments for "anarchism" in his early writings between 1960 to 1975. Feyerabend's position is encapsulated by his well-known suggestion that the only principle for scientific method that can be defended under all circumstances is: "anything goes." I present Feyerabend's anarchism as a recommendation for pluralism that assumes a realist view of scientific theories. The aims of this paper are threefold: (1) to present a defensible view of Feyerabend's anarchism and its (...) motivations, (2) to articulate the minimal form of realism that such a view presupposes, and (3) to consider the implications and limitations of such a perspective in contemporary philosophy of science. (shrink)
I want to talk about some of the main objections that have been given to libertarian anarchism and my attempts to answer them. But before I start giving objections and trying to answer them, there is no point in trying to answer objections to a view unless you have given some positive reason to hold the view in the first place. So, I just want to say briefly what I think the positive case is for it before going on (...) to defend it against objections. (shrink)
Central to Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia is a defense of the legitimacy of the minimal state’s use of coercion against anarchist objections. Individuals acting within their natural rights can establish the state without committing wrongdoing against those who disagree. Nozick attempts to show that even with a natural executive right, individuals need not actually consent to incur political obligations. Nozick’s argument relies on an account of compensation to remedy the infringement of the non-consenters’ procedural rights. Compensation, however, cannot remedy (...) the infringement, for either it is superfluous to Nozick’s account of procedural rights, or it is made to play a role inconsistent with Nozick’s liberal voluntarist commitments. Nevertheless, Nozick’s account of procedural rights contains clues for how to solve the problem. Since procedural rights are incompatible with a natural executive right, Nozickeans can argue that only the state can enforce individuals’ rights without wronging anyone, thus refuting the anarchist. (shrink)
Anarchism, literally, means "without authority," although it is most commonly defined as a system in which social order is maintained voluntaristically, without the presence of a state or any other coercive mechanisms. There are many varieties of anarchism, and it is difficult in just one brief paragraph to specify the central beliefs. Nonetheless, there are some widely shared assertions, among which are (l) the primacy of individual sovereignty; (2) the opposition to coercive authority of any kind impinging upon (...) the individual’s freedom; (3) the principle of voluntarism or mutual aid as the basic social cement for society; (4) a "human solidarity" model, which recognizes that a free individual within a free society is the only basis for realizing humans’ full potential—and that individual and society are inseparable, not mutually exclusive or antagonistic. Clearly, such contentions are incompatible with the existence of sovereign govemmcnt. By its very nature, according to anarchists, government is coercive and suppresses freedom. They believe that only by continually asserting its legitimacy and its right to coerce can the state continue. Thus, it follows that the state must be abolished if there is to... (shrink)
This article surveys Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's social utopia from the inception of Futurism until its end during World War II, contextualizing it in relation to the various diffused anarchistic ideologies of European artists and intellectuals. From the second half of the nineteenth century onward radical politics and the artistic avant-garde were in close dialogue. Max Stirner's individual anarchy held a special appeal to modernist artists, including Gabriele D'Annunzio and Marinetti. Marinetti's aim of renovating Italy's cultural and political life initially led (...) him to glorify the destruction of old institutions. At the end of World War I he developed a more or less coherent utopian vision of a new society, based principally on the exaltation of individual freedom and the importance of art. During the Fascist regime, Marinetti abandoned politics and concentrated his efforts on making the Aerofuturism of the interwar years the official art of Fascism, which the Futurists saw as the fulfillment of their “anarchist” dream. (shrink)
Within the literature, Daoist political philosophy has often been linked with anarchism. While some extended arguments have been offered in favor of this conclusion, I take this position to be tenuous and predicated on an assumption that coercive authority cannot be applied through wuwei. Focusing on the Laozi as the fundamental political text of classical Daoism, I lay out a general account of why one ought to be skeptical of classifying it as anarchistic. Keeping this skepticism in mind and (...) recognizing the importance of wuwei in arguments for the anarchist conclusion, I provide a non-anarchistic interpretation of wuwei as a political technique that is consistent with the text of the Laozi. Having presented a plausible alternative to the anarchist understanding of wuwei, I close my discussion with a brief sketch of a positive account of the political theory of the Laozi. (shrink)
Century has requested me to answer for his readers. I comply; but, to be frank, I find it a difficult task. If the editor or one of his contributors had only suggested a reason why I should be anything other than an Anarchist, I am sure I should have no difficulty in disputing the argument. And does not this very fact, after all, furnish in itself the best of all reasons why I should be an Anarchist – namely, the impossibility (...) of discovering any good reason for being anything else? To show the invalidity of the claims of State Socialism, Nationalism, Communism, Single taxism, the prevailing capitalism, and all the numerous forms of Archism existing or proposed, is at the same blow to show the validity of the claims of Anarchism. Archism once denied, only Anarchism can be affirmed. That is a matter of logic. (shrink)
Central to Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia is a defense of the legitimacy of the minimal state’s use of coercion against anarchist objections. Individuals acting within their natural rights can establish the state without committing wrongdoing against those who disagree. Nozick attempts to show that even with a natural executive right, individuals need not actually consent to incur political obligations. Nozick’s argument relies on an account of compensation to remedy the infringement of the non-consenters’ procedural rights. Compensation, however, cannot remedy (...) the infringement, for either it is superfluous to Nozick’s account of procedural rights, or it is made to play a role inconsistent with Nozick’s liberal voluntarist commitments. Nevertheless, Nozick’s account of procedural rights contains clues for how to solve the problem. Since procedural rights are incompatible with a natural executive right, Nozickeans can argue that only the state can enforce individuals’ rights without wronging anyone, thus refuting the anarchist. Thanks to Annette Dufner, Arnt Myrstad, Arthur Ripstein, Gopal Sreenivasan, James Sterba, Chloe Taylor, Sergio Tenenbaum, and Shelley Weinberg. Thanks also to Matt Zwolinski and Jonelle DePetro, who commented on earlier versions of the paper at the Central APA 2007 and at the 2006 Illinois Philosophical Association Conference (respectively). Finally, thanks to my graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for their active engagement with the ideas during a seminar on liberal theories of justice (fall 2007). (shrink)
In the early 1970s, James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock held a series of seminars examining anarchism as a feasible method of social organization (Tullock 1972b; Tullock 1974b). The general consensus was that that good which may be termed ‘security" is a public or collective good. Since "security" is both (a) essential for the very existence of any social order and (b) incapable of being supplied voluntarily, government, that agency with a (legitimate) monopoly on the use of compulsion and control, (...) is indispensable. Interestingly, numerous articles have appeared since then in Public Choice (Goldin; Moss; Kim and Walker; Isaak, Walker and Thomas; McCaleb and Wagner) and elsewhere (Brubaker; Marwell and Ames; Schneider and Pomrnerehne; Brown-. (shrink)
A legal system is any institution or set of institutions in a given society that provides dispute resolution in a systematic and reasonably predictable way. it does so through the exercise of three functions: the judicial, the legislative, and the executive. The judicial function, the adjudication of disputes, is the core of any legal system; the other two are ancillary to this. The legislative function is to determine the rules that will govern the process of adjudication (this function may be (...) merged with the judicial function, as when case law arises through precedents, or it may be exercised separately), while the executive function is to secure submission (through a variety of means, which may or may not include violence) to the adjudicative process and compliance with its verdicts. A government or state (for present purposes i shall use these terms interchangeably) is any organisation that claims, and in large part achieves, a forcibly maintained monopoly, within a given geographical territory, of these legal functions, and in particular of the use of force in the executive function. now the market anarchist objection to government is simply a logical extension of the standard libertarian objection to coercive monopolies in general.1 First, from a moral point of view, among people regarded as equals2 it cannot be legitimate for some to claim a certain line of work as their own privileged preserve from which others are to be forcibly excluded; we no longer believe in the divine right of kings, and on no other basis could such inequality of rights be justified. Second, from an economic point of view, because monopolies are insulated from market competition and hold their customers by force, they lack both the information and the incentive to provide consumers with fair, efficient, and inexpensive service. The anarchist accepts these arguments, and merely asks why they should apply with any less force to the provision of legal services. (shrink)
THERE HAS BEEN FOR MANY years a tension between the anarcho-capitalist or free-market anarchist, and the limited government or minarchist wings of the libertarian movement. This dispute has both enriched debate within such institutions as the Libertarian Party, the International Society of Individual Liberty, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and the Cato Institute, and magazines such as Liberty and Reason, and has engendered greater insights as to the core of the overall philosophy shared by both.1 While this intralibertarian debate has (...) had its staunch supporters on either side, for many participants it has not been a pressing issue. After all, modern society resembles neither vision, and present governments will have to be radically reduced in scope and orientation before the divisions between these two alternatives will become a matter of practical interest. Thus many have agreed that this debate, except as a matter of intellectual curiosity, will have no practical relevance until that happy day when present governments are reduced to, say, 5 percent of their present size and influence.2 But intellectual curiosity and political philosophy are integral parts of libertarianism. Accordingly, analysis of government can.. (shrink)
addressing you, that probably the most easy and natural way for me to explain Anarchism would be for me to give the reasons why I myself am an Anarchist. I am not sure that they were altogether right in the matter, because in giving the reasons why I am an Anarchist, I may perhaps infuse too much of my own personality into the subject, giving reasons sufficient unto myself, but which cool reflection might convince me were not particularly striking (...) as reasons why other people should be Anarchists, which is, after all, the object of public speaking on this question. (shrink)
Emma Goldman's stance toward anarchism was oddly mystified, even loving. Precisely this enchantment led her to see clearly the deep vices of Soviet Russia, when so many on the sane and sober Left were blind to them. So pedestrian liberals ought to relish having the extreme likes of Goldman in their midst. They-we-can faithfully recite their lessons from Mill about free speech, eccentrics, and the proliferation of viewpoints. But more recent liberals and deliberative democrats, insisting on the political centrality (...) of reasonableness, would have problems embracing her. That should give us pause at the politics of reasonableness. And Goldman's infatuation with her own politics offers a tweak on Aristotle: a bad person can make a good citizen. (shrink)
Objectivity revisited and revised -- The social theory of objectivity and its problems -- Sociology : a Copernican revolution changes how we think about science and mathematics -- Science studies : sociological theory and social criticism -- Math studies and the anarchist agenda -- Anarchism and modern science -- What's mind got to do with it? -- Science, religion, and anarchism : the end of God and the beginning of inquiry -- A manifesto in anarcho-sociology -- Appendix. A (...) dialogue on the syllogism with philosopher Jean Paul van Bendegem (JP), Free University of Brussels. (shrink)
I build on Christoyannopoulous’s (2011) compendium of Christian anarchist thought to shed light on the divergence between Christian anarcho-communitarians and Christian anarcho-capitalists. The anarcho-communitarians believe the institution of private property is contrary to the Word of Christ, while the anarcho-capitalists hold it is justifiable. I show that the anarcho-communitarians misunderstand [...].
This article considers two different, yet related, theoretical approaches that could be employed to ground the anarchist critique of Marxist-Leninist revolutionary practice, and thus of the state in general: the State-Primacy Theory and the Quadruplex Theory. The State-Primacy Theory appears to be consistent with several of Bakunin's claims about the state. However, the Quadruplex Theory might, in fact, turn out to be no less consistent with Bakunin's claims than the State-Primacy Theory. In addition, the Quadruplex Theory seems no less capable (...) of supporting the anarchist critique of Marxism-Leninism than the State-Primacy Theory. The article concludes by considering two possible refinements that might be made to the Quadruplex Theory. (shrink)
B. F. Skinner has argued that those who are serious about ending war, pollution, etc., must face the fact that the received methods of changing behavior have proved ineffective. According to Skinner, we must replace 'weak' methods of control such as control via praise and blame and control via Rousseau's 'natural contingencies of things' with Skinner's 'strong' methods of control. It is argued that Skinner's case for the continued ineffectiveness of such methods of control rests on the unargued assumption that (...) we are stuck with the highly centralized forms of social organization that characterize present-day advanced societies, forms that place barriers between man and man and between man and nature. Drawing on the anarchist tradition in political thought, it is argued that a radical decentralization — which cannot be dismissed as Utopian — would bring a new effectiveness to what Skinner dismisses as 'weak' forms of control. (shrink)
Anarchism has not been well served by the academy, but if the books under review are any indication, perhaps things are changing. Alan Ritter's Anarchism: A Theoretical Analysis and Michael Taylor's Community, Anarchy and Liberty both make original contributions to anarchist theory, while David Miller's Anarchism constitutes a thorough and competent introduction to the subject. Ostensibly providing an analysis of classical anarchist theory as developed by Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin, Ritter has in fact achieved a modest (...) conceptual breakthrough. Anarchism has been traditionally conceived as the most uncompromising libertarian ideology, completely opposed to all limitations and constraints on human freedom. (shrink)
Contrary to a common opinion, some theses of scientific anarchism are historically connected not only to Popper's and "second" Wittgenstein's thoughts, but also to some ideas affirmed by the advocates of "physicalism" (like Neurath) during the neopositivistie debate on protocol sentences. The common basis of "physicalism" and "anarchism" is a repulse of the "atomistic" theory of meaning. That is making more adequate the epistemological description of knowledge. But both Neurath and Feyerabend err in thinking that this repulse entails (...) a conception of "truth" as "coherence" instead of "correspondence". Against such a conviction the "realistic" requirement expressed by SchHck through the concept of "Konstatiemng" is still very valid. (shrink)
Using a critical postmodern framework, this article analyzes the relationship of the decision-making processes of anarchism and neoliberalism to that of deep democracy. Anarchist processes are found to share common core principals with deep democracy; but neoliberal processes are found to be antithetical to deep democracy. To increase the joy in learning and teaching, based upon this analysis, practical anarchist guidelines for school decision-making are suggested.
Mark Murphy contends that, whatever the merits of any philosophical argument for anarchism, most people are obligated to obey the law. Murphy defends a moral argument designed to show that most people in reasonably just political communities are obligated to obey the law. And he advances epistemological arguments calculated to support two key claims. First, people who believe they are obligated to obey the law are entitled to retain their belief in the face of anarchist criticism. Second, a credible (...) account of political obligation can accommodate the concerns that drive anarchist arguments in such a way that no anarchist argument against political obligation could, in principle, be successful. I argue that Murphy's moral argument yields relatively limited results, and that his epistemological arguments do not succeed in showing that anarchists could not convict folk-believers in political obligation of unreasonableness. (shrink)
(2012). “Anarchism…is a living force within our life…” Anarchism, Education and Alternative Possibilities. Educational Studies: Vol. 48, “Anarchism … is a living force within our life …” Anarchism, Education and Alternative Possibilities, pp. 5-11.
Anarchist theory has a long-standing history in political theory, sociology, and philosophy. As a radical discourse, anarchist theory pushes educators and researchers towards new conceptualizations of community, theory, and praxis. Early writers, like Joseph Proudhoun and Emma Goldman, to more contemporary anarchists, such as Noam Chomsky, have established anarchist theory as an important school of thought that sits outside the Marxist discourses that have dominated the radical academic scene. Today, anarchists have been responsible for staging effective protests (specifically, Seattle, 1999) (...) and have influenced autonomous groups like the Animal Liberation Front in their organizational and guiding philosophies. Interestingly, anarchism is glaringly absent from the literature in educational theory and research. In this article, I highlight aspects of anarchist theory that are particularly applicable to education, and also establishes specific ways that anarchist theory can inform one's own educational praxis. Specifically, I employ the anarchist framework of direct action and micro-level strategies, such as sabotage, that challenge people to resist the oppressive practices found in institutions today. (shrink)
(2012). A Review of “Contemporary Anarchist Studies: An Introductory Anthology of Anarchy in the Academy”. Educational Studies: Vol. 48, “Anarchism … is a living force within our life …” Anarchism, Education and Alternative Possibilities, pp. 103-107.
At times, radical theory can propose a singular story of the nature of power, suggesting that it must either be taken or abolished. This then becomes intertwined with a pedagogical strategy of recruitment, whereby others are encouraged to share in this ideological framework and the political practices based upon it. In this article, we propose an alternative based on practices of freedom and the role of love in subverting interdependent patterns of normativity and hierarchy. Bringing together anarchist, feminist, and queer (...) theories alongside authoethnographic accounts from classrooms and other spaces of pedagogy, we highlight the value of a multiplicity of stories, of telling stories and doing roles differently, and of releasing stories for the immediacy of connection. (shrink)
James C. Scott’s The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia argues that the Zomia people of Southeast Asia consciously chose to live without government and that their choice was sensible. Yet basic economic reasoning, reflected in Hobbes’s classic account of anarchy and the state’s emergence, suggests that life without government would be far worse than life with government, leading people to universally choose the latter. To reconcile Scott’s account of the Zomia peoples’ choice with (...) this reasoning, it is necessary to elaborate the mechanisms of private governance that could make life under anarchy tolerable and thus plausibly render statelessness a sensible option. To deliver a powerful, rather than glancing, blow to Hobbesian thinking, this essay argues that anarchist histories must focus on governance mechanisms. (shrink)
(2012). A Review of “Anarchism and Education: A Philosophical Perspective”. Educational Studies: Vol. 48, “Anarchism … is a living force within our life …” Anarchism, Education and Alternative Possibilities, pp. 108-111.
The World abounds with infinite crimes, technogenic accidents, acts of nature, etc. And very often, speaking about infringement of laws, use a word "anarchy". In consciousness of one people this concept associates with fear, personifies something mad, uncontrollable, and not giving in to the control. In consciousness ofothers - it means permissiveness, impunity for any acts and even crimes. The philosopher, in my opinion, is the avocate of a historical value and validity. And consequently it is necessary to observe these (...) principles in relation to any concept or the theory. The philosophical, political doctrine of anarchism sets as the purpose clearing of the person of pressure of any authorities and any forms of economic, political and spiritual authority. Aspiration to anarchy as thementality, meets already at cinics and in early christianity, and also in chiliastic sects of the Middle Ages. Occurrence of the philosophical theory of anarchism connect with names of German thinker Max Shtirner (Caspar Shmidt's pseudonym, 1806–1856), French philosopher Pierre-Joseph Prudon (1809 – 1865) and the largest theorists of this doctrine of Michail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin. Humanistic value as a red string passes through all political doctrine of anarchism and, in my opinion, should be presented fairly in order to prevent substitution of concepts and with the purpose of observance of historical honesty. (shrink)
continent. 2.2 (2012): 152–154 Levi R. Bryant. The Democracy of Objects . Ann Arbor, MI: Open Humanities Press. 2011. 316 pp. | ISBN 9781607852049. | $23.99 For two decades post-anarchism has adopted an epistemological point of departure for its critique of the representative ontologies of classical anarchism. This critique focused on the classical anarchist conceptualization of power as a unitary phenomenon that operated unidirectionally to repress an otherwise creative and benign human essence. Andrew Koch may have inaugurated this (...) trend in 1993 when he wrote his influential paper entitled “Post-structuralism and the Epistemological Basis of Anarchism.” Koch’s paper certainly laid some of the important groundwork for post-anarchism’s continual subsumption of ontology beneath the a priori of an epistemological orientation, and his work continues to be cited as an early and important venture into post-anarchist philosophy. The problem is that Koch could not conceive of an anti-essentialist and autonomous ontological system, one not subject to regulation or representation by the human mind. Consequently, he was forced to assert a subjectivist claims-making ego as the foundation of a post-structuralist anarchist politics. Saul Newman was indebted to this heritage insofar as he also posited the ego (extrapolated from the writings of Max Stirner) and the subject (extrapolated from Jacques Lacan’s oeuvre ) as the paradoxical ‘outside’ to power and representation. Todd May fell into a similar trap in his book The Political Philosophy of Post-structuralist Anarchism when he wrote that “[m]etaphysics [...] partakes of the normativity inhabiting the epistemology that provides its foundations.” 1 Whereas Newman’s approach did not necessarily foreclose the possibility of metaphysics—at least to the extent that he began with the subject of the Lacanian tradition (wherein the subject is believed to be radically split between thinking and being)—May completely foreclosed the possibility of any escape from the reign of the epistemological. There laid the impasse of yesterday’s post-anarchism. This impasse at the heart of the project of post-anarchism has forced Koch, Newman, May, and many others, to come to similar conclusions about the place of ontology in post-anarchist scholarship. The post-anarchists have all formulated a response strikingly similar to Koch’s argument that any representative ontology ought to be dismantled and dethroned in favour of “a conceptualization of knowledge that is contingent on a plurality of internally consistent episteme .” 2 By dismissing all ontologies as suspiciously representative and as incessantly harbouring a dangerous form of essentialism, post-anarchists have overlooked the privilege that they have placed on the human subject, language, and discourse, at the expense of the democracy that the human subject shares with other animals, objects, and beings in the world. This epistemological characterization of post-anarchism has held sway for far too long. It is not by chance that post-anarchism, as a concept, was first formulated by Hakim Bey as an “ontological anarchism,” 3 and subsequently repressed by the canon of post-anarchist authors. Perhaps Bey’s ontological anarchism also lacked the ‘rigour’ required of today’s scholarly audience and for these two reasons (at least) he has received very little credit for his inaugurating efforts into post-anarchism. In any case, I want to challenge this reluctance and revive the roots of post-anarchism. Levi Bryant gives us a reason to believe that we can achieve the promise of Bey’s ontological anarchism without sacrificing the scholarly standard of rigour. Levi Bryant’s newest open-access book, The Democracy of Objects , is a tour de force . His book challenges post-anarchists to take their radical critique of representation a step further by questioning the “hegemony that epistemology currently enjoys in philosophy.” Bryant maintains that post-structuralism, and radical anti-humanisms, only appear to reject the subject as the locus of political agency. Their rejection is actually more of a disavowal, a replacement of the human subject with the equally human order of language or discourse. What post-structuralism attempts to elucidate is the manner in which the subject is colonized by the Other of language, discourse and social relations. What here appears as a movement away from the determining subject of humanism and existentialism is only replaced with the determining apparatuses of structures as they are conceived by astute analysts of political culture. Post-structuralism thus re-enters the anthropocentric discourse to the extent that the cultural analyst believes himself capable of conceiving the determinative structures of society. In contradistinction to the claims of post-structuralism and post-anarchism, the role of the ontologist is not to suture the gap between epistemology and the real but to de-suture it, as Bryant puts it: “[o]ntology does not tell us what objects exist, but that objects exist, that they are generative mechanisms.” Above all else, the role of ontology, for post-anarchists, ought to be a real de-centering of the subject in relation to other objects in the non-human world such that the subject becomes conceived as one object among others within a living democracy of equality. This inevitably leads to the conclusion that objects exist whether or not the subject or analyst is there to represent them: they represent themselves and are autonomous from our dictation, just as each object finds its autonomy in relation to other objects. Ontology must now be distinguished from representation. We must shift the terms of the debate and interrogate the hegemony that epistemology has been afforded within post-anarchist philosophy. At least two possibilities are now permitted. On the one hand, one could intervene into the reigning mode of philosophy, namely epistemology, by latching onto concepts from meta-ethical philosophy. Meta-ethics allows one to easily separate the ontological from the epistemological and to answer very particular questions about each in order to formulate an overarching meta-ethical position. 4 Post-anarchism is particularly adept at this task because of its resounding ability to frame itself as an ethical political philosophy in relation to the strategic political philosophy of classical Marxism. On the other hand, Bryant argues that “[p]erhaps the best way to defeat [the privilege currently held by epistemology] is to shift the terms of debate.” Shifting the terms of debate is also something that post-anarchists have been very good at doing. Thus, instead of asking the question ‘how do representative ontological systems harbour concealed epistemological orientations toward the political?’ one might ask ‘ do epistemological orientations toward the political always harbour representative and subject-centred ontological systems?” The genius of Bryant’s book rests in its ability to convincingly argue for the radical autonomy of being and of objects. This claim speaks to some of the most compelling theories of the political in anarchist and marxist political philosophy (for instance, hegemony, representation, democracy, and so on) and it re-stages the political drama of our times across a much wider terrain. The fallacy of strategic political philosophy in the Marxist tradition, as Todd May quite correctly points out, is that it remains committed to a concept of power that is unitary in its analysis, unidirectional in its influence, and utterly repressive in its effect. Similarly, Bryant’s ontology allows one to argue that there is a fallacy that occurs “whenever one type of entity is treated as the ground or explains all other entities.” Whereas May’s post-structuralist anarchism moved away from the fallacy of the unitary analysis of power, whereby subjects are constituted by the influence of a single site of power, it nonetheless remained committed to a tactical political philosophy which is monarchical in the final analysis . It remains monarchical to the extent that the human world, the world of epistemology, is treated as the yardstick of democracy. Bryant’s argument is quite instructive: “[w]hat we thus get is not a democracy of objects or actants where all objects are on equal ontological footing [...] but instead a monarchy of the human in relation to all other beings.” The real fallacy is thus not against strategic political philosophy but philosophy itself and the way it has played out over so many centuries. “The epistemic fallacy,” writes Bryant, “consists in the thesis that proper ontological questions can be fully transposed into epistemological questions.” The point that Bryant is making relates to the way ontology is today always reduced to an epistemology and thereby loses its significance as a philosophical question. This book should be applauded for its novelty and its thesis ought to be taken seriously by post-anarchists today. Because of this book, and the attendant post-continental movement that is being called ‘speculative realism,’ we can now distinguish three stages in the life of post-anarchism. First, we can deduce what Süreyya Evren has described as its ‘introductory period.’ The introductory period of post-anarchism is defined by its inability to side-step the ontological problem in the literature of classical anarchism. During this period, post-anarchism needed to distinguish itself from classical anarchism while nonetheless remaining committed to its ethical project. The second period overcomes the problem of the separation of post-anarchism from classical anarchism by re-reading the classical tradition as essentially post-anarchistic. Some of the critiques of post-anarchism—especially that from Cohn & Wilbur 5 —are included into this period insofar as post-anarchism, for them, was always already anarchism. Whereas the first and second phases have included only explicitly anarchist literature under their rubric of worthwhile investigation, in the third period this no longer holds true. To be certain, the second period permitted the incorporation of post-structuralist literature into post-anarchist discussions (but always with a certain amount of reservation). This third period, the one that is to come—the one that is already here if only we would heed its call—will not take such care with attempts at identification or canonization. Indeed, post-anarchism is already here, like a seed beneath the snow, waiting to be discovered. Levi Bryant teaches us that the third period is already here: and yet where is it? NOTES 1) Todd May. The Political Philosophy of Post-Structuralist Anarchism . University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. 1997. 2. 2) Andrew Koch. “Post-structuralism and the Epistemological Basis of Anarchism”  in Post-Anarchism: A Reader . Eds. Duane Rousselle & Sureyyya Evren. London: Pluto Press. 2011. pp. 23-40. 3) Bey, Hakim. “ Post-Anarchism Anarchy .” 1987. 4) I have attempted to do this in my paper on Bataille’s post-anarchism; see Duane Rousselle. “Georges Bataille’s Post-anarchism.” Journal of Political Ideologies . 17(3): in press. 5) Jesse Cohn & Shawn Wilbur. “ What’s Wrong with Post-anarchism? ” 2010. (shrink)
According to James C. Scott, in The Art of Not Being Governed, the resistance of Southeast Asian “hill peoples” to state subordination manifested itself in their deliberate abandonment of both sedentary agriculture and literacy. He argues that “tribality” (group-generated state evasion) is the polar opposite of “peasantry” (state-controlled agriculture). The hill peoples’ foraging and swiddening were thus political choices. Scott’s anthropological and geographical approach to these historical studies is admirable, but, despite his book’s subtitle (An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast (...) Asia), it lacks any reflection on the history of anarchism beyond the observation that tens of millions of persons wanted to avoid being bossed and taxed by the state. There is in the book, moreover, an absence of reflection on the oppressive nature of society: the state, Scott claims, is always repressive, whereas societies without a state are freer. This essay review asks whether the author shares with states, despite his criticism of them, a paucity of concern for the fates of individuals. (shrink)
This article reclaims mathematics from the measures of profit and control by first presenting an anarchist analysis of mathematics? status quo societal uses and pedagogic activities. From this analysis, a vision for an anarchist math education is developed, as well as suggestions for how government school practitioners sympathetic to anarchism can insert this vision into their current work. Aspects to this vision include teacher autonomy, freedom from hierarchical curriculum structure and math class as a non-coercive, happy place. Finally, mathematics (...) is argued to be essential knowledge for anarchistic society for three potentialities: in solving social and technological problems through application, as an analytic technology and for increasing individual happiness via the aesthetic dimension. (shrink)
In Anarchy, State and Utopia, Robert Nozick argues, first, that free-market anarchism is unstable -that it will inevitably lead back to the state; and, second, that without a certain "redistributive" proviso, the model is unjust. If either of these things is the case, the model defeats itself, for its justification purports to be that it provides a morally acceptable alternative to government (and therefore to the state). I argue, against Nozick's contention, that his "dominant protection agency" neither meets his (...) monopoly condition for statehood nor need run afowl of his redistributive requirement. This being the case, his argument against free market anarchism fails. (shrink)
My objective in this paper is to address a handful of issues that typically get raised in discussions of philosophical anarchism. Some of these issues arise in discussions among partisans of anarchism, and some are more likely to be raised in efforts to defend the state against its opponents. My hope is to focus the argument in such a way as to make clearer the main issues that are at stake from the point of view of at least (...) one version of philosophical anarchism. (shrink)