Abstract

Using an array of representative examples, this essay makes the case that we inhabit a "crisis of judgment" discernible in a number of areas: the interpretive humanities, important strains of modern political thought and certain habits in the cultural reception of the sciences. The crisis takes one of two antithetical forms, on the one hand a refusal to judge, and on the other hand an overly hasty determination of judgment by externally imposed norms or algorithms designed to replace the inexact practice of judging. The crisis is not an event of the recent past but, surprisingly, has its roots in the eighteenth century. Although the cultivation of judgment is indeed a central concern of many characteristic discourses of the period, this essay shows how the practice of judgment is being elided in certain forms of sentimentalism, moral theory and aesthetic reflection. Confronted with the urgent task of restoring our capacity for autonomous judgment, we discover that no "theory" can suffice, since a non-formalizable judgment by its nature operates at the limits of theory. Only through our always singular encounters with the "anarchic" space of fiction can we find the resources we need to imagine judgment otherwise.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1935-0201
Print ISSN
0193-5380
Pages
pp. 261-288
Launched on MUSE
2010-12-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.