Comments on A sounding… by adam

@ CK MacLeod:
The best place to go is the Anthropoetics website, which happens to be on our very own blogroll. I would recommend browsing through the Chronicles of Love & Resentment, where Gans connects his theory to a whole range of political and cultural issues, as well taking up debates over the origin of language, faith vs. science debates, etc. There are about 370 of them (averaging, I supposing, about 5 single spaced printed pages each), going back to the mid 90s, but you can just look at the ones that interest you or clarify some question, and then pick up the threads linked to that.

The website also has a good, short intro to GA, and the journal Anthropoetics--Gans hasn't published much there for a long while, but he's got some very important essays in some of the early issues, and you might find some of the other contributors interesting. But the Chronicles is probably the best way in.

@ CK MacLeod:
Yes, it does need to be repeatable. That doesn't change the fact that there had to be a first time, and that there was no guarantee there would be that first time. A mimetic crisis is something which would happen often, and once a means was discovered for deferring the violence it leads to, that means would have been used, refined and perfected.

@ CK MacLeod:
You won't be surprised that for that synthesis I suggest Eric Gans's originary hypothesis: rights are universal and inherent, because they all go back to the equality on the originary scene; the content of those rights vary because they depend upon the extent to which we have discovered and brought to light hitherto unexamined and unexploited elements of the scene. One might think of it this way--if we make a pact to stick together through thick and thin, the sticking together is an absolute, and it implies certain minimal forms of cooperation and communication--but the various thicks and thins will change what it means to stick together in ways we couldn't have anticipated. It will all still be "sticking together," though, and the new forms taken by the rights we grant each other can always be referred back to how essential they are for that.

Yes, Strauss is an excellent source of the way of thinking you propose in your "hypothesis." And Hannah Arendt essentially derives our unalienable rights from the presumptions underlying our need to enter into agreements with each other. Agreements must be voluntary if we are to trust each other, they must be capable of being made public if they are to be made binding, there must be a space in which we can act in accord with the terms of the agreement if we are to be made accountable, there must be artistic and other spaces in which those actions can be recounted, etc. That's a distillation, of course.