Monday, August 27, 2007

Arguments within an immanent framework can’t claim to “disprove” transcendence

N Pepperell Says: August 26, 2007 at 5:28 am Immanance is a strange sort of claim - and the forms of argument adequate to this claim are unusual, and to some degree even uncommon. The analysis somehow has to loop back on itself, such that even the possibility of immanence is immanently unfolded. When immanence is posited as some sort of underived first principle, this is a form of argument that breaches an immanent frame. By the same token, arguments within an immanent framework can’t claim to “disprove” transcendence (the argumentative move that seems to draw down Milbank’s ire) - instead, immanent arguments do something more like rendering the hypothesis of transcendence unnecessary, in relation to what they are trying to explain.
Many sociological arguments are prima facie not adequate to their own stances about immanence, social conditioning, etc. In some cases, this will just be because sociologists or anthropologists take the “hard yards” work on these sorts of questions to have been settled elsewhere, such that they can presuppose these treatments, and move forward from there. In some cases, sociologists and anthropologists may actually not “get” the question you’re asking - in which case Milbank’s critique begins to close in.

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