Bob's Truth

Fri, 17 Dec 1993 09:17:29 CST

Do I agree, asks S. Nelson, that, "investigation of how knowledge claims
are made" within Anthropology is a "worthy project"? It *would* be, if
it were being conducted as an empirical investigation instead of as a
display of nihilistic verbosity; but then it would not try to represent
itself as something more novel or breath-taking than a contribution to
the history of the discipline, or perhaps to the sociology of knowledge.
I'm not sure I oppose, *a priori*, the empirical investigation of
*anything*. Still, even conducted well, an "anthropology of
anthropology" would be vulnerable to charges of myopia or even
self-absorption, to say nothing of an anthropology of the anthropology
of anthropology, ad nauseum (as V. Geiger recently pointed out). The
only "investigations" worthy of the word involve a continuing
interaction of evidence and reason (accompanied, of course, by a lot
of irrational cussing and preening, since we are only human); this said,
the vaunted "scientific method" consists only in "doing one's damndest,"
as Percy Bridgman is supposed to have said. Calling something an
"investigation" does not make it one. --Bob Graber