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In Defense of THEORY

October 10, 2008

It’s been a long week but since my very short Fall break starts now, I can write something here. And what I want to do today is to justify what I am doing.

I work with theory

Theory of all sorts

Especially theory that deals with science


1. Because I believe theory helps us flesh out a solution to the problem and more importantly, help us problematize the framework from which we perceive our problem to lie in.

For example: the concept of biology determinism, biological essentialism, race and gender. Yes, we have science theories that are suppose to help us explain some natural effects. But do we have theories that help us explain how we construct our epistemology that therefore provide the explanation for the natural effects? Not really.

2. Makes our analysis less impoverished. Many may feel that a closed reading is sufficient. But when one can only postulate within the boundaries set by biographical and historical data, it gets rather impoverished. Why do I say that? That’s because whatever other analysis you provide would come from a hypothesis that does not quite build on a wealth of other theories that may had been formed through the process of archiving and excavation, thus led us refine the way in which we view the world. Most people avoid theory because of the dense language. I do agree that, however dense the ideas, the language could be made more readable. But there are times the language is hard to understand because of the poetic language games in which the author engages in to prove his/her point, so there’s no one real solution.

3.It informs the way in which we can view the world, and its relationship to us. After all, we are creatures that always have to make sense of what we see, otherwise we feel very lost and depressed. Theory, done in an adequate and sensible manner, can help us categorize data, process data into information and make them more analyzable. How? By providing us a framework from which we can mess around with the data.

4. It provides us with a new way of seeing things beyond the same tired way of doing things. Of course, theory taken to the extreme and done without much discursivity, does become dogmatic AND the tired ways of doing things.

5. Postmodern theorists can do themselves a favour by making themselves more public friendly in the way that scientists have strived to do. Why? Because by making themselves unreachable except to the select group, they are just playing into the hands of anti-intellectuals as well as various entities, whatever their reason, to consider these theorists as propagating anti-education in the institutions of higher learning.

My country does require a new way of reading it. Too many of the current ways are just soooooo Tired and Boring.

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