Theory

“My friend told me Chomsky said something very sad. He said that today we don’t need theory. All we need to do is tell people, empirically, what is going on. Here, I violently disagree: facts are facts, and they are precious, but they can work in this way or that. Facts alone are not enough. […] I’m sorry, I’m an old-fashioned continental European. Theory is sacred and we need it more than ever.”

—Slavoj Žižek, interview in New Statesman, 29 October 2009

Nice quotation, but Chomsky isn’t completely against theory (spotted this thanks to a comment at NS):

QUESTION: Do you think intellectuals should free themselves from theory, from visions, such as Zapatistas, and Marcos?

CHOMSKY: Marcos’s own thoughts were interesting, but there is no such thing as an “absence of theory”, I mean, you always have a commitment to some set of beliefs, goals and visions and so on, or to some kind of analyses of society. That is true whether you are expressing your views on torture, or freedom of speech, or in fact any issue beyond the most utterly superficial.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Five quotations to help thinking about quantitative thinking | Figural Effect

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