>are merely electrons dancing on a screen in a maillist, and there
>is no real reason to believe that the person behind those electrons
>is not lying. On maillists theory is fatally and incorrigibly separated
well wow! i wish i could live in such a rl world where i was certain someone wasn't lying. and carrol i grew up in a small hick town where supposedly everyone is "real" i dunno, i'm rilly rilly suspicious of any claims that suggest that people are just somehow more *authentic* and *sincere* in real life.
this privileging of practice really bugs me. normally i'd side with you but i'll have to say that there's something to be said for theoretical reflection, for distancing if you will. for example, poland's solidarity movement benefited greatly from the help of social scientists who, while not involving themselves directly in practice, were nevertheless politically engaged to help them consider and reflect on the murky mucky confusing reality that they were embroiled in. the team of social scientists provided a kind of reflective, distancing mirror that enabled them to make sense of things. what's wrong with that? (see discussion of this in _Reason and Freedom in sociological Though_ Frank Hearn)