Friday, April 26, 2013
A systematic and more or less “universalist” approach, such as the one that I am proposing here, encourages a skeptical view of exceptionalism in general as well as in its individual manifestations: the recognition of patterns repeated from one discourse to another tends to undermine the entire intellectual project of exceptionalism. The thirteen axioms or predictions I am proposing aim to define a general theory of exceptionalism. In some sense these predictions are a form of “prophecy after the fact” (Burke) in that they make predictions based on the shape that exceptionalist discourse has already taken. We might prophesy, however, that a previously unknown form of exceptionalism might follow the patterns outlined here.