After Critique: Experimentalism, Creation, Construction...

Paul Patton

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The ‘critique of critique’ has been a recurrent feature of much European political philosophy at least since the 1960s. It has led to, among other things, deconstructive ‘double writing,’ Deleuze and Guattari’s experimentalism and Foucault’s successive historical answers to the question ‘what is critique?’ More recently, there have been gestures towards movement beyond critique in the direction of a more constructive philosophical practice. Examples might include Habermas’s discourse ethics, Derrida’s ‘affirmative deconstruction’ or Deleuze’s conception of philosophy as the creation of concepts. These are different suggestions, but all of them remain in greater or lesser degree gestures rather than actually following through on the kinds of creation that is called for. How might the humanities pursue such suggestions in a more positive manner? I propose to explore the idea that various forms of constructivism might offer a path beyond critique. These might include a philosophical constructivism that treats bo h problems and the concepts required for their solution as objects to be constructed. They might also include a political constructivism that views the content of fundamental values such as justice and the political arrangements with which to implement such values as items to be constructed. Such constructivism suggests surprising affinities between Rawls’s idea of public political reason and answers to Foucault’s deceptively simple question ‘what would be a distinctively socialist governmentality?’ Does constructivism offer a new way in which the humanities might pursue the ambition to contribute to solving some of our most pressing social, political and cultural problems?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventThe Australian Academy of the Humanities National Conference. -
Duration: 1 Nov 2012 → …


ConferenceThe Australian Academy of the Humanities National Conference.
Period1/11/12 → …


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