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Alternative – Epistemology

The Alternative is a discursive approach which investigates the social dynamics which feed domination and resistance. Having these methodologies within politics is critical to human agency- allowing us to challenge the entrenched system.

Bleiker, 00 (Roland, Ph.D. visiting research and teaching affiliations at Harvard, Cambridge, Humboldt, Tampere, Yonsei and Pusan National University as well as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Popular Dissent , Human Agency and Global Politics, Cambridge University Press)
Discourse is the most central concept in a non-essentialist assessment of human agency. A shift from grand theoretical representations of dissent towards a discursive understanding of power relations is necessary to reach a more adequate understanding of the role that human agency plays in contemporary global politics. A discursive approach is not only able to deal better with entrenched systems of exclusion, but also minimises the danger of imposing one's own subjective vision upon a series of far more complex social events. Instead of focusing on ahistorical theories of power, a discursive approach investigates how social dynamics have been imbued with meaning and how this process of rendering them rational circumscribes the boundaries within which the transversal interaction between domination and resistance takes place. While providing compelling evidence of subtle forms of domination , a discursive approach may run the risk of leaving us with an image of the world in which the capacity for human agency is all but erased, annihilated by impenetrable discursive forces. This risk is particularly acute in a world that is characterised by increasingly heterogeneous and perhaps even elusive cross-territorial dynamics. But recognising these transversal complexities does not necessarily lead into a pessimistic cul de sac . Discourses, even if they take on global dimensions, are not as overarching as some analysts suggest. They contain fissures and cracks, weak points which open up chances to turn discursive dynamics against themselves . The previous chapter has outlined this position in detail. A brief rehearsal — even at the risk of appearing slightly repetitive — is necessary to provide the prerequisite for an adequate discursive conceptualisation of human agency in global politics. For this purpose we must , as the prologue has already stressed , seek to see beyond the levels of analysis problematique that has come to frame international relations theory. Rather than limiting the study of global politics to specific spheres of inquiry — those related to the role of states and the restraints imposed on them by the structures of the international system — an analysis of transversal struggles pays attention to various political terrains and the crossterritorial dynamics through which they are intertwined with each other. One of these terrains is the sphere of dailiness, which is all too often eclipsed by investigations that limit the domain of global politics to more visible sites of transversal struggle, such as wars, diplomatic negotiations, financial flows or trade-patterns. The domain of dailiness, though, is at least as crucial to the conduct of global politics, and an investigation into discursive dynamics illustrates why this the case. Cracks and weaknesses in globalised discursive practices can be seen best by shifting foci from epistemological to ontological issues. This is to say that in addition to analysing how discourses mould and control our thinking process, we must scrutinise how individuals, at the level of Being, may or may not be able to escape aspects of the prevalent discursive order. Being is always a product of discourse. But Being also is becoming. It contains future potential, it is always already that which it is not. Being also has multiple dimensions. Hyphenated identities permit a person to shift viewpoints constantly, to move back and forth between various ways of constituting oneself . Resulting methods of mental deplacement, of situating knowledge, open up possibilities for thinking beyond the narrow confines of the transversally established discursive order. This thinking space provides the opportunity to redraw the boundaries of identity which control the parameters of actions available to an individual. Exploring this thinking space already is action, Heidegger claims, for 'thinking acts insofar as it thinks'. Such action , he continues, is 'the simplest and at the same time the highest, because it concerns the relation of Being to man'. 3 But how is one to understand processes through which critical thinking breaks through the fog of discourse and gives rise to specific and identifiable expressions of human agency? The concept of tactic offers the opportunity to take a decisive step towards exploring the practical dimensions of Dasein, the existential awareness of Being, without losing the abstract insight provided by Heidegger. The sphere of dailiness is where such practical theorising is most effective. Entering this ubiquitous sphere compels us to one more shift, away from contemplating the becoming of Being towards investigating specific ways in which individuals employ their mobile subjectivities to escape discursive forms of domination . The focus now rests on everyday forms of resistance, seemingly mundane daily practices by which people constantly shape and reshape their environment. One can find such forms of resistance in acts like writing, laughing, gossiping, singing, dwelling, shopping or cooking. It is in these spheres that societal values are gradually transformed, preparing the ground for more open manifestations of dissent. Before drawing attention to the inherently transversal character of everyday activities, it is necessary to point out that the effects they produce cannot be understood by drawing direct links between action and outcome. In this sense, the present analysis departs fundamentally from the manner in which agency in global politics has come to be theorised . Most approaches to international theory, including the influential constructivist contributions to the structure—agency debate, display a clear 'commitment to causal analysis'. 4
The discourse of acknowledging people as individuals instead of identifying them as a collective comes first

Uri 2k

(Margolin, Uri, BA cum laude (Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel) Philosophy and English Literature. PhD (Cornell University) Comparative Literature, Telling in the Plural: From Grammar to Ideology Margolin, Uri. Poetics Today, Volume 21, Number 3, Fall 2000, pp. 596-597 (Article) Published by Duke University Press, DA: 6/24/11, CP)
Since literary genres, like all other types of discourse, exist in a discursive space and are defined in a relative, contrastive manner, it might be useful to point out some of the differences between a literary CN and several neighboring types of narrative such as the big city novel, for example John Dos Passos’sManhattanTransfer () or Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (), the roman-fleuve, and the family or generational novel, for example, Mann’s Buddenbrooks (). In all of these types of narrative, a collective level of some kind indeed forms the ultimate thematic focus of the narrative, yet none of them meets the criteria of CN as defined above, since they do not have a unified CNA as their protagonist.The big city novel provides a panoramic vision of a swarming metropolis, and of human existence in it, through the parallel stories of several people from different levels of society (Dos Passos) or through one individual and his endless, restless wandering through the city (Döblin). It is the shifting, endlessly variegated life of the city—portrayed in the case of Döblin as a veritable pandemonium— that forms the thematic focus of these novels. The ceaseless movement is anchored in one central location (train station, city square) through which everybody passes, and the traditional tracking of one central character is replaced by a stream of alternating momentary glimpses of a large number of individuals. But this collection of individuals, who, in large part, do not even know each other, is by no means a single unified group or CNA. The replacement of the traditional protagonist by a large number of individuals, none of whom is more central than the others, does not turn the novel into a CN, nor does the aggregate, random, ever shifting population of the metropolis act as a CNA. The roman-fleuve and the generational novel also aim to provide a wide panorama of the life of one or more generations and/or of one or more social classes, in all their synchronic diversity and diachronic variability. But once again, and in spite of collective titles such as Buddenbrooks or Les Thibaults, a group as a whole is not the central agent of the actions and events portrayed. Even though Mann’s novel is subtitled Verfall einer Familie and portrays the Buddenbrooks decline over four generations, what one actually encounters are just one or two central individual figures from each generation.The text itself does not include any holistic or group level of description, distinct from the individual one, and generalizations about the family as a whole or any of its generations can be formulated only at a second stage, in retrospect, and on the basis of textual claims about individuals. Such group-level claims are hence of a second order and are by and large readerly constructs based on the twin activities of inference drawing and generalization building. On the other hand, the choice of the most basic human group, the family, the plural title, and the wide range of characters spread over several generations encourage this kind of retrospective collective perspective, with its quest for global patterns, be they synchronic or diachronic, and its construal of an individual figure as embodying a facet or phase of such a pattern.
Epistemology questions the totalizing truths in the world. These methods are critical to productive politics. In a world without the alternative, even the small advantages claimed by plan won't fundamentally disrupt the power system in the SQ.

Jensen 2004 (Casper Bruun, Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Communication and ACTION for Health Research Project, Simon Fraser University, “A Nonhumanist Disposition: On Performativity, Practical Ontology, and Intervention”, Configurations, Volume 12, Issue 2, Project Muse)
Epistemology is generally seen to concern itself with investigating the foundations of certain knowledge. This inquiry has been almost universally premised on the idea of a split between the ideal and the concrete, and has prioritized the abstract capabilities of the mind over the inadequacies of the body. Scientific ideas are generated in the interaction with obdurate materials with unknown qualities, and a prominent concern of epistemology has been with purifying science from the many biases that could potentially invalidate its knowledge in this interaction. Epistemology thereby tries to establish an ideal relationship between the level of scientific ideas and the level of their practical validation and application, and in this project it has consistently prioritized theory over practice.13 In contemporary epistemology this purification has been typically managed by invocation of the scientific method, which, if properly applied, has been seen as the guarantee of knowledge-claims. In recent years claims pertaining to the absoluteness or universality of such knowledge have been toned down somewhat, and often the emphasis is now on securing the least-fallible knowledge—but, then, the claim to be able to (unequivocally) determine what is least fallible in itself continues to rely on the idea of an external standard.14 [End Page 235] The classical epistemological ambition is regularly presented as a defense against the contamination of knowledge-claims, for instance by the partisanship or local provincialism of their producers. The analytic philosopher Paul Boghossian, in a recent polemic against constructivism in general and Barbara Herrnstein Smith in particular (one, that, incidentally, vividly illustrates Smith's analysis of the microdynamics of incommensurability), offers the following description: What matters to epistemology are three things: first, the claim that only some considerations can genuinely justify a belief, namely, those that bear on its truth; second, a substantive conception of the sorts of considerations that quality for this normative status—observational evidence and logic, for example, but not a person's political commitments; and finally, the claim that we do sometimes believe something because there are considerations that justify it and not as a result of some other cause, such as because it would serve our interests to do so.15 Another recent example is afforded by John Searle's Construction of Social Reality, which has less interest in defending epistemology per se,16 yet leaves no doubt about the undiminished importance of such classical notions as evidence, objectivity, reality, and truth: Having knowledge consists in having true representations for which we can give certain sorts of justification or evidence. Knowledge is thus by definition objective in the epistemic sense, because the criteria for knowledge are not arbitrary, and they are impersonal.17 Undoubtedly the understanding of what exactly counts as proper evidence, objectivity, and truth varies between analytic philosophers, including Boghossian and Searle, as do, therefore, interpretations of what the scientific method would consist in, and what it would mean for it to be properly applied.18 Certainly, analytic philosophers would also contend that these divergences are substantial. However, what remains in the background of these debates is the assumption that (unreconstructed) notions of evidence, objectivity, [End Page 236] reality, and truth cannot be done without—not, at least, without inviting epistemological and quite possibly moral catastrophe. The challenge posed to classical epistemologists by STS-research has therefore been much more severe than internal epistemological quarrels.19 For in insisting on the participation of practical and material effects in the production of knowledge, these studies have problematized virtually all the key distinctions and relations in epistemology—notably, between knowledge and power and between (scientific) ideas and their (technical) concretizations. By doing so they have ineluctably challenged the central epistemological ambition to guarantee the possibility of formulating true (in the sense of reliably decontextualized) statements about the world. This challenge of constructivism is of wide-ranging ramifications for the conceptualization of science, technology, society, and their interrelationships.
The ontological assumptions of the 1AC are false, identifying humanity as a collectivized whole is false.

Uri 2k

(Margolin, Uri, BA cum laude (Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel) Philosophy and English Literature. PhD (Cornell University) Comparative Literature, Telling in the Plural: From Grammar to Ideology Margolin, Uri. Poetics Today, Volume 21, Number 3, Fall 2000, pp. 597-598 (Article) Published by Duke University Press, DA: 6/24/11, CP)
Narrative propositions inwhich aCNA, rather than an individual, occurs in the argument position reveal several specific features as regards both their internal logic and the kinds of inferences one can drawfromthem. First and foremost, such propositions operate on a distinct global or holistic level, so that claims about the group as a whole may not be true of all, and sometimes not even true of any of its members individually. Formally put, propositions including collective terms in their argument position do not imply that every member, or any particular member of the group individually, is under the scope of any predication involving this group as a whole. ‘‘They worked hard’’ is thus compatible with ‘‘X, a group member, lazed about.’’ Second, as Margaret Gilbert (: ) has demonstrated convincingly, two or more people can, as a body, accept a given decision, view, or goal as their joint stance, without it being the personal view or goal of any of them individually (our view as a group vs. my personal view).The views or goals of two or more individuals considered as a unit or plural subject thus do not break down into a set of personal goals and commitments. ‘‘Us’’ or ‘‘we’’ in this sense is different from I + you + him/her. The classical conflict between an individual group member and the group’s collective stance, or inside a group member’s mind between collective and personal views, could not occur were it not for this logical feature of collective predicates. There can obviously be no groups without individuals who embody them, but groups can and do have attributes that belong to the holistic level only. In other words, shifting from individual to group-level predicates involves a logical type shift. But the nondistributivity of group predicates can go even further. Collective, plural terms designating groups may have variable extensions or reference classes on different textual occurrences, even though the same group is being designated by all of them.This is evident in the case of summative sentences describing repeated actions, such as ‘‘The regiment fought long and hard,’’ which does not imply that the regiment was composed of the same soldiers in all its battles, and becomes most obvious when transtemporal, multigenerational groups are involved, like the people of the way (those who remain loyal to their African identity) in AyiK. Armah’s novel (), women in MoniqueWittig’s (), or the people of Israel in the Haggadah (Silverman ). (See section .)

Alternative – Memory and Epistemology


Woundenberg in 99

Woudenberg, Rene Van. "Thomas Reid on Memory." Journal of the History of Philosophy37.1 (1999): 117-33. Print

In Reid, by contrast, we find nothing of this; in Reid knowing and believing are not mutually exclusive states. "Memory," Reid says, "is always accompanied with the belief of that which we remember, as perception is accompanied with the belief o f that which we perceive" (EIP 34o; my italics). So, when there is memory, there is belief; and when there is no belief, there certainly is no memory. Memory, we could say, evokes belief. What belief?. Belief that what is remembered actually happened, or actually was the case. At the same time, however, Reid says that "this belief, which we have from distinct memory, we account real knowledge, no less certain than if it was grounded on demonstration" (ibid., my italics). For John Locke what is demonstrated falls in the area of knowledge, not in the area of belief; knowledge, he holds, excludes belief.'5 For Reid, by contrast, the belief that accompanies what we distinctly remember is epistemically on a par with demonstrative knowledge; they are equally certain. S's being in the state of knowing that p (where p may be the object of memory), for Reid, then, doesn't exclude S's being in the state of believing that p. And if p is the object of other faculties such as perception or reason, again Reid holds that knowing that p and believing that p are not mutually exclusive. If one were asked to answer the question who was the first to systematically "deconstruct" the traditional opposition between knowledge and belief, "Reid" would not be an altogether unwarranted answer.

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