JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 336
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and ethical commitments are to be woven into the folds of the "we"-is
a meta-ethical extension of Drucilla Cornell's concisely stated reserva-
tion of their project:
Rarely does Gadamer reflect on who are the "we" who share a tradition.
Rorty, likewise, appeals to "social practice" and "our shared conversa-
tion"; in a similar manner, he fails to come fully to terms with the ethical
critique of "the conversation of mankind."... [B]oth Rorty and Gadamer
fail to recognize the difference in identity. [They both fail to recog-
nize] ... the relations of domination and exclusion which are implicated
in an abstract appeal to the "we" who share. (35)
Ultimately, by appealing to a mnemonic device that weaves the event into
our shared institutions and norms, the vocabulary ofthe "we" is sheltered
from having to confront its own limits. By assuaging that which ruptures
the continuity of its identification, the "we" ends up self-enclosed within
the craft of its own understanding. Adorno spells out the ethical danger
of this circular self-enclosure, "the circle of identification-which in the
end always identifies [understands] itself alone-was drawn by a think-
ing that tolerates nothing outside it; its imprisonment is its own handi-
work" (172). Hence, I have been highly skeptical of any claims that see
the writing of a traumatic event as serving some open-ended "good" (as
being ethical) when it is, "woven [by our "we-intentions"] into a larger
story about the community, its history, and its evolving normative
commitments" (Osiel, Mass 73).
Seeking to transmit the memories of a socially traumatic event
through this finite conception of ethics ultimately depends on the com-
fortable assurance of a translation, of a way of understanding, without
facing loss, without tearing the yarn of the "we." This writing, which
comfortably settles on the heddles that grasp the threads of our shared
understanding, does not expose itself to any obligation that is beyond
itself. It actually transmits and reifies its non-exposure to the other,
abjecting that which questions its identification. Regardless of the ways
in which the event might confront, disrupt, or plead with us beyond our
self-understanding, its transmission, under obligations to a kinship that
identifies us, seeks to sustain that which confirms and comforts the
familiar relations of the "we."
The Trial of the Military in Argentina
In this last section I want to concretize the above critique by summing up
the assumptions and indelible limits that arise when the law is invoked as
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/82/: accessed April 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .