Weberian Monotheism

September 26, 2015    By: Jeff G @ 3:06 pm   Category: Apologetics,Ethics,orthodox,Personal Revelation,Theology,Truth

“Here what we see is the perpetual conflict of different gods with each other.  This is how it was in the ancient world, before it was disenchanted with its gods and demons, only in a different sense… Depending on one’s ultimate standpoint, for each individual one is the devil and the other the god; the individual must decide which one is the god for him and which is the devil… The many gods of antiquity, disenchanted and hence assuming the form of impersonal powers, rise up out of their graves, reach out for power over our lives and begin their eternal struggle among themselves again…

“[A]s science does not, who is to answer the question: ‘What shall we do, and, how shall we arrange our lives?’ or, in the words used here tonight: ‘Which of the warring gods should we serve? Or should we serve perhaps an entirely different god, and who is he?’ then one can say that only a prophet or a savior can give the answers. If there is no such man, or if his message is no longer believed in, then you will certainly not compel him to appear on this earth by having thousands of professors, as privileged hirelings of the state, attempt as petty prophets in their lecture-rooms to take over his role.”

-Max Weber, Science as a Vocation

I have posted a lot recently about the different sources of legitimacy that we appeal to.  Here are a few examples that have had varying popularity at one time or another in Western history: Inheritance, Tradition, Nature, Ideals, Inward experience, Personal preference, Expertise, Reason, Labor, Authorship, Revelation, Ordination, Emancipation, Liberty, Equality, etc.  These are all various “trump cards” or mean by which people have justified or legitimized their words and deeds when pressed by others.

Given the various forms that abstract and personal gods have taken across cultures, it should not be any great stretch of the imagination to view these multiple sources of legitimacy as a polytheism of sorts.  The degree to which one sees this as a mere metaphor is itself conditioned by their idea of what a god is and is not like.  To an ancient Greek, this would not have seemed very metaphorical at all!  What makes these sources of legitimation gods is not their anthropomorphic or abstract character, but their being a source of moral obligation/validation rather than a “mere” product of some other source.  (I will discuss this a bit more below.)

The extent to which each of these is a god is measured by how effectively it legitimizes or morally justifies some word or deed.  “You are morally obligated to allow me to remain possession and control of this trinket because *I* am the one who made it.”  “I am a Duke because I was the firstborn son of a Duke.” “You have no right to tell me how I should feel since they come from inside me.”  “I decide whether you will remain a member of the church because I was ordained to do so.” “Your opinion is irrelevant to this collective decision because it is irrational.”  And so.

Like other gods with which we are more familiar, none of these sources speak for themselves, but instead are expressed within some canon (be it written or oral in nature) that is maintained, reproduced and otherwise wielded by a limited elite.  Through appeals to “false consciousness” or “unconscious desires” Marxists and Freudians respectively tell us what we are “really” feeling.  Historians and genealogists tell us who descended from who.  Natural scientists tell us what natural laws are.  Prophets are the speakers of revelation and priests the keepers of holy texts.  Darwinian thinking on the one hand and the structuralism on the other undermine the idea of individual authorship. And so on.  In order to know what exactly a source/god does and does not legitimate – in other words what moral relevance a source/god has to us – we must always consult these guardians of the canon.  Indeed, even if we could consult the source/god directly, it wouldn’t matter one whit unless we could get other people to agree with, and morally validate what we say.

Yet another way in which these are all gods is that they are all threaten by the zombie argument.  The zombie argument in an argument that receives some attention in the philosophy of mind and says that we can account for all the observable effects of our minds without any appeals to an inner, private world of qualitative experience.  Of course we can mount a phenomenological protest by saying that we know about this world because we ourselves experience it.  The obvious response is that the physicalist can account for and explain this belief of yours as well without any appeal to an inner, private world.  This is a perfect example of how, absent the proper social response, individual access to a source/god is totally beside the point.

The relevance to this post is that ALL of these sources of authority can individually be undermined in the exact same way by an appeal to alternative, and thus competing source of legitimacy.  Just as we can explain the authorship of texts and tables without any appeal to individual authors, so too we can explain the existence of the entire world without any appeal to an Original Author.  Anti-foundationalism is a decent word for this state of affair which essentially means that while many of these sources of legitimacy certainly claim to be necessary or non-negotiable, this is simply not true for any of them.  Each source/god can potentially be undermined by some other(s).

On the flip side, each source/god will also claim that its own extinction leaves us with nihilism since it believes all other sources/gods to be derivative products of it.  While it is the case that each individual source/god can possibly fall prey to the zombie argument, any such attack must itself depend upon some other source/god for its own moral legitimacy.  Thus, while each source/god can individually be undermined by some kind of zombie argument, it is impossible to legitimately undermine all sources/gods at the same time.  While such a Hobbesian state of nature wherein no two people agree upon any moral legitimacy is possible, the justification for or moral legitimation of such a state is not.

It is in this sense that the ancient battles between the Greek gods – each of whom roughly corresponds to a different source of legitimacy within their culture – continues today.  Todays gods try their very best to dismiss all others as “idols” of some kind (think of Francis Bacon and Friedrich Nietzsche) that merely have the appearance of legitimacy.  In the famous Euthyphro dilemma we see just such a battle at play in that one side insists that a volitional god’s decisions are only just because they follow the universal and therefore more “real” source of legitimacy: the Platonic ideal accessible to reason.  The other side insists the exact opposite.  One can easily imagine a third party (this would probably be my own position) saying that which side you choose is simply a matter of personal choice – a point at which the same exact argument repeats itself all over again.  Other examples would include the constructivists who undermine appeals to nature since they are simply the downstream products of human minds.  Feuerbach did the same for an anthropomorphic god, insisting it was a form of self-imposed human alienation.  Hardcore physicalists who wield the zombie argument above insist, by contrast, that the human mind is itself a product of natural law.  And on and on.

Most people today acknowledge (notice the appeal to common knowledge, popular opinion and/or expertise – an appeal that many anti-democratic conservatives such as Plato and Hegel have found very suspicious) acknowledge that the earliest forms of the Abrahamic tradition were not fully monotheistic in the strictest philosophical or metaphysical sense.  Other gods did exist, it’s just that Yahweh, the God of Abraham, was held to be the highest God toward which they had the least negotiable obligations.  The God of Abraham was also a jealous God, who did not tolerate the children of Abraham wavering in their loyalty and obedience to Him by chasing after the approval of other gods by way of servitude and obedience.  While other people could and did have their gods, to the children of Abraham there was only one true God.  (Like any other god, there was nothing necessary, foundational or non-negotiable about their relationship to this God.  It was freely entered into by way of covenant.)

My position is that this commandment is still in full effect today for the (adopted) children of Abraham.  Other people will serve, proclaim and appeal to other gods and this is completely fine… for them.  This is not to say that we are totally forbidden, always and everywhere, from acknowledging or sometimes using those other gods to our own righteous ends.  We must always keep in mind, however, that we do not serve or obey them.  They are not themselves sources of righteousness.  We owe them nothing!  Put in terms more familiar to us Mormons, to be familiar with and appeal to the gods of Reason/Expertise (or any other god for that matter) is perfectly fine so long as it does not interfere with our obedience to the one, true god.  To the extent that we do have an obligation to some other source of legitimacy, this is because of and only to the extent that the highest God has designated it as such.  No more.

When people distance themselves from the church it is often because they have gone chasing other gods: social justice, natural science, individual freedom, etc.  Such people have lot’s of moralized words that have become their new gods.  Sometimes, by contrast, people have left the church out of an allegiance to the one true God and His personally revealed word.  Very often – but not always – it is the case, however, that persons from the first group wrongly think themselves to be part of the second.  They do this by mistakenly equating the living, anthropomorphic God of Abraham who sometimes changes His mind, plays favorites, etc. with one of the other gods whose spokespersons and canons only have partial and historically contingent overlap with those of the former.

To be sure, it is very convenient and comfortable when there is more overlap between the words of the prophets and those of some other moral canon than when there is not.  We all want there to be more overlap and less conflict between religion and science, progressive social values and/or laissez faire capitalism.  Do not be fooled!  Whatever overlap there does exist can never be complete or permanent.  Those other gods and their spokespersons are no less jealous than is the God of Abraham.



  1. I think that’s a good metaphor for your position. I would be more interested in reading the arguments for why you think your position in correct. Especially as you claim this is the best way to interpret scripture.

    Comment by Clark — September 28, 2015 @ 9:55 am

  2. Two things:

    1) I’m not entirely sure how metaphorical this account is. I don’t really have much elaboration to add at this point.

    2) I’m not sure that I want to demonstrate that my reading is “best”. My positions a) undermine any claim on my part to the allegiance of others, and b) is more aimed opening up alternative options rather than redirect towards one, different option.

    Martin has said several times that my view might actually subvert the faith of the more modern minded, and I do not disagree with this. As such, I do not aim to fully subvert modern thinking so much as a dependency upon modern thinking. Thus, when somebody comes to the conclusion that modern minded conflict between science and religion is irreconcilable (basically my old mindset), they might not feel themselves as bound to the oracles of modernity as they otherwise might have been.

    Comment by Jeff G — September 28, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

  3. Yes, I hold out the hope that the main attraction of Mormonism as a religion is its compatibility with an ever changing modern science. I can see the benefit of JeffG’s approach mainly as pointing out that the science that Mormonism is consistent with is not the science of scientists (including our own understanding). I don’t go as far as him in thinking that the only science there is is the science of today’s scientists. I think Jeff overpersonalizes both morality and ideas.

    The bigger issue is that Jeff worries about the faith of the followers and I am more concerned about the faith the the authorities. What strengthens their faith?

    Comment by Martin James — September 28, 2015 @ 3:12 pm

  4. Well, except I’m not sure “truth” and inquiry is like worshipping a God. Further I think, from our modern perspective within Mormon theology, that while the Jews might have seen worship as limited to Jehovah but there are other gods out there that this view was wrong. That is I think the other gods aren’t gods at all but lies. (I think the OT gets at that somewhat with the narrative of Elijah and the altars with only his altar bursting into flames) The OT is of course complicated and much reflects the understanding of the era with the text itself being a mix of texts with different beliefs and aims. So we can’t assume they understood what we do.

    For myself, I think what’s true is part of Mormonism. Thus inherently if something is scientifically or philosophically true that is part of Mormonism. From what I can see your view doesn’t have room for that.

    Part of this means I just don’t see an inherent conflict between religion and science because fundamentally there’s just the question of what’s real.

    Of course I also have strong realist tendencies and tend to reject the more idealist conceptions found within Empiricism or other deflationary accounts. The extremely perspectivist perspective you hold is thus even farther removed from what I take to be the truth. (Which is not to say I don’t find lot of value in the criticisms of Nietzsche and Feyerbend and even to a much more limited extent Rorty – there are definitely aspects of his eliminative materialist conception of mind I think correct)

    Comment by Clark — September 28, 2015 @ 3:40 pm

  5. (Has anybody else been losing comments here lately? It’s driving me insane!)

    “Well, except I’m not sure “truth” and inquiry is like worshipping a God.”

    I strongly disagree with this. In ancient Greece, inquiry just was the worship of the god Apollo (remember the inscription on his temple?). The religious influence of the Pythagoreans even down to Galileo is well documented. Major thinkers within the early Enlightenment (think Newton, Locke, Spinoza) all pursued inquiry in the name of religion, giving rise to both Natural Theology and Deism. All the way down into the beginning of the 20th, natural science depended for its place within the university upon the patronage of theologians, Whewell and Carlyle being the most salient examples. To say that inquiry and worship are two separate things is very much to read the 19th century distinction between “religious” and “secular” into the past.

    “That is I think the other gods aren’t gods at all but lies. ”

    Exactly! This is what every person has always said about other people’s gods.

    “For myself, I think what’s true is part of Mormonism. Thus inherently if something is scientifically or philosophically true that is part of Mormonism. From what I can see your view doesn’t have room for that.”

    Your assuming that truth exists independent of all institutions/practices/traditions such that its overlap with any such institution is a matter of contingent fact. This is simply not the case. The only way we can measure or (dis)confirm the overlap between some institution/practice/tradition is by appealing to some of institution/practice/tradition with its own distinct sources of legitimacy. This just is to ask one god how true some other god is which obviously raises that same question with regards to the first god. At some point we come to some institution/practice/tradition (god with its oracles and canons) that we do not interrogate in this way and for whatever reason simply take what they say as the very definition of “truth”. This is how we can know which god we ourselves are worshiping.

    Comment by Jeff G — September 28, 2015 @ 4:23 pm

  6. Check the spam filter. It could be messages are being caught up in there.

    As for Gods being lies, but of course the point of antiquity is that while some said the gods were lies others – probably the majority – were simply open to them all being true. Further it seems to me there’s a truth of the matter on this in that some things are rather difficult to believe.

    As for truth, I think some institutions work better than others at predicting and explaining phenomena. You can say disease is merely tiny demons that only come out but prayer but the person who believes in antibiotics will have a more flourishing life in the long run. Some institutions, beliefs and habits simply work better than others.

    Now we can debate about whether this is because they are more true or not and get into a fundamental discussion of that. But if we don’t at least agree that many beliefs don’t work we’re probably at a standstill.

    Comment by Clark — September 28, 2015 @ 4:49 pm

  7. “Some institutions, beliefs and habits simply work better than others.”

    I absolutely agree. But goodness of a belief is not the same as its truth. Just because I have an incentive to believe something does not mean that I have an obligation to believe it. The idea that “working good” is a sign of truth is itself the product of institutional pressures.

    What modernity brought (very much in harmony with its free market values) was the idea that our interaction with nature is the epitome of truth rather than our interaction with other people.

    (See Bloor, David. 1976. Knowledge and Social Imagery; Hadden, Richard. 1994. On the Shoulders of Merchants; Kitcher, Phillip. 1984. The Nature of Mathematical Knowledge)

    Comment by Jeff G — September 28, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

  8. But we have to explain *why* they work better. That seems to be what you are avoiding. To say “working good is a sign of truth is itself the product of institutional pressures” avoids the question of whether it’s a sign because it works better than the alternatives.

    In epistemology the argument of surprise and explanatory power is taken as a sign of truth because such ideas simply work better than ones which lack explanatory power or predictive power. Even if we bracket the discussion of truth you have to explain how institutional power undermines this in a strong way. I don’t believe you can.

    Comment by Clark — September 28, 2015 @ 5:11 pm

  9. “But we have to explain *why* they work better.”

    Okay, but even then the issue simply repeats: some explanations for “why” will simply be better than others, but not necessarily true. Similarly, these explanations will be no less mediated by institutional pressures than any other issue.

    “In epistemology the argument of surprise and explanatory power is taken as a sign of truth because such ideas simply work better than ones which lack explanatory power or predictive power.”

    This presupposes a definition of truth that is highly regulated and reproduced by a strongly self-selected institution. I see no reason why their definitions should carry any kind of weight at all such that they stand in need of refutation. I simply refuse to play their game for my own reasons and incentives. Unless they can give a reason for why I am actually obligated to accept their definition, I don’t see why I should care at all what they think.

    (I wanted to edit my last comment in that truth being a relationship between us and nature rather than between us and other people originated with Aristotle which then inspired natural theology which then became reinforced by capitalistic interests as the bourgeoisie replaced the church as the legitimizing authorities in society.)

    Comment by Jeff G — September 28, 2015 @ 5:17 pm

  10. JeffG,

    More Sarte for the stew.

    Comment by Martin James — September 28, 2015 @ 6:21 pm

  11. What makes one explanation better than an other? Why assume they are all mediated an equal amount by institutions? That seems dubious.

    I don’t see how the argument of surprise or explanatory power requires a problematic definition of truth. I was trying to keep it in a fashion that your “truth” as political adjudication would fit. I suppose institutional pressures can keep people’s head in the sand such that they deny experiences they’ve had. But it seems like life under authoritarian rule. People know what to *say* but what they *believe* is often different.

    Comment by Clark — September 28, 2015 @ 8:45 pm

  12. “Why assume they are all mediated an equal amount by institutions?”

    What matters is that they never escape the institutional arrangements that are necessarily to even conceptually frame any “finding”. In fact, if we are going to talk about degree, then then I would say that the meta-explanation is even more institutionally mediated than the original explanation.

    “I suppose institutional pressures can keep people’s head in the sand such that they deny experiences they’ve had.”

    But the very idea that we ought to or can trust our own experiences is itself a cultural product of a relatively recent invention.

    Edit: It is a complete myth that “less institutional mediation=good”. I absolutely agree that some kinds of institutional mediation are good while others are bad, but the idea that institutional mediation as such is bad is complete bologna. The best we can ever hope for is the scientists (for example) enforce and reproduce the institutions/practices/traditions that we like.

    Comment by Jeff G — September 29, 2015 @ 11:42 am

  13. Martin,

    I simply can’t imagine myself ever quoting Sartre in a positive way.

    Comment by Jeff G — September 29, 2015 @ 11:43 am

  14. Exactly how do you avoid total relativism with that view? You are explicitly disavowing any way to adjudicate disagreement. That’s far, far, far more radical than even Rorty proposes.

    If you think we can adjudicate disagreements how do we do this?

    Comment by Clark — September 29, 2015 @ 1:17 pm

  15. I am disavowing any non-social way of adjudicating it. There are lot’s of social ways of doing so – too many in fact. (Relativism is itself a subset of these inter-subjective strategies.) But there is no way whatsoever of getting fully outside of all politics in order to “objectively” decide any issue. Even our interaction with non-antropomorphic gods must be, if it is to be meaningful in any moral sense, socially mediated and thus political in nature.

    Edit: Different traditions/institutions/etc. will appeal to different gods and will have different arrangements regarding how such gods are referenced, appropriated, etc. Some ways will surely be better than others (in that all person will have more of an incentive to agree to one way rather than another), but since truth is itself a product of such decision methods, none of these decisions methods will themselves be any more or less “true” than any other.

    Comment by Jeff G — September 29, 2015 @ 1:30 pm

  16. But that seems to avoid the question. If I think the sky is blue or 2 + 2 = 4 and you say the sky is green and 2 + 3 = 5 it just on the face of it seems odd to say this is merely a social question. I’m trying to understand your thinking here.

    Switching back to talking about God seems to avoid the issue by presenting the example of clearly ambiguous questions as if that were as true as these more concrete ones. The reason I ask the question of degree is I am just having an extremely hard time wrapping my mind around how institutions are involved in these sorts of questions or how they limit my ability to arrive and consensus.

    Comment by Clark — September 29, 2015 @ 5:30 pm

  17. JeffG,

    I know. The question is whether or not that is because of bad faith on your part.

    Comment by Martin James — September 30, 2015 @ 8:06 am

  18. Martin,

    The day I let that man decide how good/bad my faith is is a sad day indeed. ;)


    Again, I’m not saying that it is “merely” a social question. The social element is necessary but not sufficient to any such question.

    How I interpret any of those symbols is always morally constrained. Carving up the world in terms of skies and (especially) the colors blue and green are very much cultural artifacts. Our society has disciplinary programs designed specifically to make sure that we use and affirm such statements.

    The risks we run by not assimilating such “truths” into our worldviews are not merely less successful interaction with the physical world or even less successful interaction with the social world. There is, in addition to these things, a certain amount of social ostracizing or demotion that happens when we do not internalize these things “like we are supposed to”. Sometimes we call these people “stupid” or “irrational” and all the social stigma that comes with these labels. Other times we call them “insane” and might even institutionalize them even further.

    Comment by Jeff G — September 30, 2015 @ 9:50 am

  19. Here is a fantastic example of both how mathematics can become a political flashpoint as well as the political consequences that can follow from a rejection of such “truths”.

    Comment by Jeff G — September 30, 2015 @ 10:25 am

  20. But I’m not arguing you’re saying “merely social.” Rather I’m saying the amount of social seems to matter a great deal which you seem to be disputing. When you dispute that it doesn’t matter it seems to undermine the effects of saying it’s not merely social.

    So to me I think you’re conflating the signs (often arbitrary) we use to express things with the phenomena being expressed. I agree it’s not a simple opposition. (Remember two of the philosophers who influenced me a great deal, Derrida and Heidegger, dealt with this a great deal)

    Really my question is why you think we are as limited as we are. I fully admit the social affects us as to the divisions we somewhat arbitrarily create. I don’t think that somehow undermines my ability to come to some adjudication over the color of the sky. At worse it means we have to come to learn each other’s language a bit for clarity. But this is exactly where I think Peirce’s pragmatic maxim is so useful since it cuts to the chase and asks how, given a term, we verify it in terms of practice.

    Comment by Clark — October 1, 2015 @ 9:12 am

  21. I don’t have much time, so we’ll see how much this comment really explains what you’re asking about…

    My thinking about morality and politics is strongly influenced by Ken Binmore’s 2 volume series “Game Theory and the Social Contract” and, to a lesser extent, Brian Skyrms’ “The Stag Hunt and the Evolution of Social Structure” and “Evolution of the Social Contract.”

    Basically Binmore models social contracts in terms of Nash equilibrium (Skyrms uses a modified version that he calls “evolutionary stable equibrium”) wherein “morally right” just is that which we reward and “morally wrong” that which we punish. The reason why we go out of our way to punish and reward these behaviors is because a failure to do so would itself be punishable.

    Moral language – indeed ALL language! – is simply signals by which we collectively structure each other’s practical incentives. Thus, all moral obligation comes from social engagements, and different ways in which different societies structure these engagements is constrained (but not fully determined) by practical, non-social incentives.

    A shift in the language-use or vocabulary to describe any phenomena just is to shift to re-structure our practical engagements. Thus, our descriptions of the world are themselves regulated and constrained by inter-social practices and institutions of reward and punishment. (It might very well be the case that describing morality in this way is – by it very own logic – immoral within a given community.) Objectivity, then, is simply one among many ways in which our society can and has morally regulated our descriptions of the social and natural world.

    Now, I admit that there is no bright lines not punishing a (speech) act, merely tolerating it, shunning those who do it, gossiping about them such that others shun them as well…. on to actively punishing them with banishment or the death penalty. In this way, the line between a person doing whatever they want to do and a person being obligated to do something even if they don’t want to is pretty blurry. Things get even more blurry when we allow social contracts to evolve over space and time.

    What is perfectly clear, however, is that once you use language you have entered into the realm of inter-personal politics since this just is the purpose of language-use. Thus, moral obligations and other considerations of the distribution of costs and benefits will always be an issue when it comes to language-use. Also, the idea of an individual having beliefs that correspond in some non-interested way is completely and totally ruled out within my model… as is the idea that language-use could ever be an interest-free description of inner beliefs. Rather it is an active attempt to re-structure other people’s incentives for better or worse – which is exactly why we have rules that regulate how we are able to properly use language.

    Again, don’t have much time, but hopefully this connects a few dots. (I’ve been wanting to know how you think this ultra-pragmatic way of looking at things is related to the structuralist tradition. My understanding is that my grounding meaning in the incentives of individuals totally contracts it. Of course, structuralism is itself a set of rules which morally constrain the inter-subjective use of language, no different from my version of pragmatism. I just object to the particular distribution of costs and benefits entailed by the former.)

    Comment by Jeff G — October 1, 2015 @ 11:29 am

  22. Again though you see those elements as undermining the ability to transcend such politics. It’s that element which seems problematic.

    There are ways to argue for this. Derrida in particular has the best arguments along those lines, although I’m not sure how they are typically taken is how I’d take them.

    To me, and perhaps this is why I’m so skeptical of your project, language and more importantly the structures that enable language, simply don’t limit what we can do with language. Perhaps the best we can do with signs is make an other sign. Yet our experiences, while mediated by signs are not limited by the normative or social relationships underlying those signs.

    I suspect your position requires a strong commitment to something akin to the strong form of the Sapir-Worf hypothesis. I’m open to language (and thus the politics undergirding it) biasing us. I don’t see how it can make everything limited because language seems to essential point to something outside of language. (This is why I think Derrida’s critiques don’t fit your thesis – because what’s essentially marginalized for him is the “other” language always points towards)

    Comment by Clark — October 2, 2015 @ 9:00 am

  23. Again, not much time, but I will say that I have precious little to say about internal, totally private beliefs. Since such things are, by definition, not social, there is no way for moral obligations to get any practical grip on them.

    Comment by Jeff G — October 2, 2015 @ 10:41 am

  24. I should also point out that my commitment to language infusing all interpersonal interaction is itself an attempt at morally subverting non-linguistic, physically cohesive interactions.

    Additionally I am much more committed to our thoughts and actions being inescapably mediated by incentives than language. The former structures our use of the latter, as well as everything else we do. Each action is costly and must, as a rule, pay for itself through some benefits.

    Edit: By “rule” I do not mean that there are no exceptions or that there is anything morally obligatory about it. Instead, I simply have in mind a tendency similar to the that required by Darwinian replication.

    Comment by Jeff G — October 2, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

  25. Private beliefs are still social to the degree that our understanding of them is enabled by our language and practices.

    Comment by Clark — October 7, 2015 @ 12:54 pm