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The Unfinished Pyramid

The Unfinished Pyramid

Knowledge and the Legal

(p.137) 06 The Unfinished Pyramid
The Aliites
Spencer Dew
University of Chicago Press

Aliite knowledge practices involves engaging in sources widely acknowledged as authoritative within the broader society and producing from those sources evidence in support of preconceived Aliite claims. Such “research,” with its emphasis on the “evidentiary”—on that which is capable of functioning as compelling evidence within legal discourse, has three major ramifications within Aliite communities. First, Aliite thinkers must negotiate the cognitive dissonance generated by their simultaneous contestation and cooptation of authoritative sources condemned for their role in maintaining ignorance yet lauded for hidden truths “uncovered” within them by such thinkers. Second, Aliite thinkers safeguard both pieces and practices of knowledge, rendering knowledge public yet also securing it as the exclusive property of a given thinker, and, third, Aliite emphasis on fact over belief, and truth over superstition leads to reconceptualizing and, in some cases, rejection of the term “religion,” even as “religion” is simultaneously mobilized as a legal category in order to achieve rights and accommodations within the legal system.

Keywords:   knowledge, epistemology, research, authority, etymology, religion, evidentiary

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