Angus 4 (Ian, Professor of humanities at Simon Fraser University, “Empire, Borders, Place: A Critique of Hardt and Negri’s Concept of Empire.” http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/theory_and_event/v007/7.3angus.html)
The two critical points that I have made converge on a central issue: how can one find a limit to the expansive tendency of empire? The inscription of a border and a politics of place both pertain to the construction of a limit to expansion and thus to “hybrid identities, flexible hierarchies, and plural exchanges” (xii). While deterritorialization cannot be exactly reversed, it is not true that this implies that emancipation must lie in further deterritorialization and that all reterritorializations are perverse, or fundamentalist. They are artificial—a matter of human artifice—to be sure. However, it can be argued that the most profound and effective anti-neoliberal globalization politics in recent years has been inspired precisely by inventive reterritorializations, localizations that retrieve that which has been pushed aside by empire and preserved by borders. It is a politics of limit to empire so that a plurality of differences can occur—differences from empire, not the putative consumer differences that are equalized by exchanges. Leonard Cohen has pointed to the problem of empire in this fashion. Things are going to slide in all directions. Won’t be nothing. Nothing you can measure anymore.24 How exactly to define limits, draw borders, to open a space where measure can be taken, will take a great deal of political debate and action in deciding. There is a lot more to be said and done about this, but I doubt whether the perspective put forward in Empire will be of much use in this important matter. Their concept of abstraction is too dualistic, their concept of border too one-sided, their concept of history too uni-linear, their concept of place too shallow, to have much long-term resonance in the anti-neoliberal globalization alliance. I would put my bets on the construction of borders that allow Others to flourish, a politics of place and a defence of communities against exchange value. This is a very different politics whose difference is perhaps now obscured by the common opposition to empire. But it is different enough that one may expect it to become generally visible before too long.
Always a value to life
Keith, “Death and the Meaning of Life” http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/features/2000/augustine1.html
These considerations show that we must create our own meaning for our lives regardless of whether or not our lives serve some higher purpose. Whether our lives are meaningful to us depends on how we judge them. The absence or presence of greater purpose is as irrelevant as the finality of death. The claim that our lives are 'ultimately' meaningless does not make sense because there is no sense in which they could be meaningful or meaningless outside of how we regard them. Questions about the meaning of life are questions about values. We attribute values to things in life rather than discovering them. There can be no meaning of life outside of the meaning we create for ourselves because the universe is not a sentient being that can attribute values to things. Even if a sentient God existed, the value that he would attribute to our lives would not be the same as the value that we find in living and thus would be irrelevant.
Recognizing conflict as one possible outcome for U.S. –China relations doesn’t essentialize Chinese behavior
Andrew LEONARD Senior Technology Writier @ Salon 8-21-‘9 “Hu Jintao is no Kaiser Wilhelm” http://www.salon.com/tech/htww/2009/08/21/hu_jintao_is_the_new_kaiser_wilhelm/
I don't think Hu Jintao makes a good Kaiser Wilhelm and I think it is foolhardy to predict what will happen with the kind of thunderous certainty that is Ferguson's stock-in-trade. A superpower clash, whether economic or military, between the U.S. and China is in no one's interest. World War I, of course, wasn't ultimately in anyone's interest either, but Europe seems to have learned from its 20th century mistakes, at least so far, so maybe we can too. I'm with James Fallows; just to assert that a disastrous divorce is inevitable is positively dangerous because it ignores a world of other possibilities, anhd constricts our freedom to move.
Even historians -- or especially historians -- recognize that world events are shaped in part by deep economic, demographic, and technical trends, but only in part. Real human beings make real decisions that have real effects. (Cf: LBJ in 1964, Bush-Cheney in 2001, JFK-Khrushchev in 1962, etc.) If we recognize that a collision with China is possible, but only one of several possibilities, then we act so as to reduce that possibility and increase the probability of better outcomes. If we think breakup is inevitable, as Ferguson is arguing, then the odds of a collision in fact occurring become higher than they would otherwise be. (Because each side interprets the other's moves in the darkest way and responds in kind.)
Empiricism creates accurate representations – our epistemology is sound
(Xiuwu, Assistant Prof. Interdisciplinary Studies – Miami U. Ohio, “Western perspectives on Chinese higher education”, p. 22-24, Google Print)
The pervious section goes to some lengths to underscore the plain fact that the studied society exists independently of studies of it. Constructivists may contend that I missed their point. They may say, for example, that they never doubted the independent existence of society and that the thrust of their position lies in denying that we can arrive at the Truth about any aspect of society. Their point about the perspectival nature of knowledge is well taken, and realist constructivism contains that insight. "Anything goes" is a realist or rationalist caricature of relativism (Geertz 1984; Putnam 1990; Rorty 1982) just as talk about Truth is a constructivist caricature of the epistemology of "old-fashioned" scholarship. What I call social ontological realism is part of the general philosophical position of ontological realism, which asserts the mind-independent existence of reality. It asserts the study-independent existence of society and, in cross-cultural inquiry, the study independent existence of other societies. I give it special emphasis for two reasons. First, the concept of social reality has been neglected in recent constructivist works. Sometimes constructivists imply or even insist that there is no reality except that which is represented (Lincoln and Guba 198, chap. 3). For example, in her survey of feminist methods in social research, Shulamit Reinharz discusses a prevalent attitude of feminist ethnographers toward “positivism.”13 Some feminist researchers continue to reject positivism [referring in this context to “testing or large-scale surveys”] as an aspect of patriarchal thinking that separates the scientist from the phenomenon under study. They repudiate the idea of a social reality “out there” independent of the observer. Rather, they think that social research should be guided by a constructivist framework in which researchers acknowledge that they interpret and define reality. (1992, 46)14 This position commits the epistemic fallacy in that it reduces social reality to what is known about it (Bhaskar 1989; Outhwaite 1987, 76). While scholarly understanding of social reality is, to use a catchphrase of hermeneutics, always already interpreted, social reality in itself has its own existence. Because that reality has its own existence, insufficient attention to it will result in unrealistic representations of it. Put differently, realist constructivism attends to both ontological and epistemological aspects of cross-cultural inquiry, redressing the balance brought about by constructivist thinking. How this may be done in one area of empirical cross-cultural studies will be shown in my analyses of Western studies of Chinese education. In the fields of philosophy of science and philosophy of social science a prevalent position on ontological realism (usually called metaphysical realism) is that it is trivial or banal (Hesse 1992; McGinn 1995). This is because once the existence of specific entities (class, in social science, for example) is broached, the discussion becomes theory-laden.15 On the other hand, as Walker and Evers point out, “from the fact that all experience is theory-laden, that what we believe exists depends on what theory we adopt, it does not follow that all theories are evidentially equivalent or equally reasonable” (1988, 33). To reconcile these two insights for the present discussion, I suggest that in cross-cultural inquiry, ontological realism is not so trivial as has been deemed generally, where empirical checks are crucial to producing highly realistic representations of other societies.16 The objection that it is not so much the fact that another society has an independent existence but how that society exists that matters to empirical inquiry, though helpful, ignores the fact that the latter assumes the former. My second reason for emphasizing social ontological realism concerns the requirement that an adequate account of cross-cultural inquiry satisfactorily explains why some statements are realistic while others are not. As the remaining chapters of this book aim to show, in most cases the task is not deciding between an account that is realistic and another that is not. Rather, in actual inquiry, a scholar’s task amounts to choosing from a limited number of plausible accounts what she considers to be the most appropriate one. Nevertheless, in those limiting taken-for-granted cases, social ontological realism does make possible a distinction between realistic statements and unrealistic ones (unrealistic in the sense that they utterly fail to represent or belie an aspect of social reality within a given conteExt.). An adequate model for cross-cultural inquiry should account for these limiting cases.