Debating IR

Probing the philosophical underpinnings of the international system and anything else of interest.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Discussion on Critical theory

The discussion on the Lynch reading didn't go where I thought it would. Unfortunately, we seem to be skipping the postmodernism section and just going for the critical theory.

The interesting thing about critical theory is that there is an assumption that if everyone sort of gives up their interests while making decisions, it is sort of implied that then everyone will reach the same conclusion (this reminds me of Rawls theory of justice) . This is because critical theory sees itself as the heir to the enlightenment. If everyone puts aside self-interest and looks at the situation rationally, then they will reach the same sort of enlightenment conclusions. (like criticism of Rawls, one could criticize this theory for essentially asking people to give up their identity)

I think this aspect of critical theory is more interesting than the participation requirements (which seem fairly obvious for reaching some kind of fair course of action), so I am disappointed we are not looking at the postmodern challenge to this aspect of critical theory.


Blogger autumnb1 said...

This same conclusion is what our group came to as well. A) It is impossible to "give-up" one's identity and B) Even if magically they could give up their identities for the space of a long debate who is to say they would all reach the same conclusion? I think that it comes down to Critical Theorist believing that people are rational as a group and as a debating group will come to the "right" conclusion.

5:39 PM  

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