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Response or Comment

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It is a pleasure to be read and a great pleasure to be argued with. Perhaps the greatest pleasure is to answer, especially insofar as one feels that one's critics have misunderstood or gone wrong. But although it is sometimes helpful to clarify confusions, there is always the risk that an effort to be exhaustive in this respect will become exhausting instead and that a rigorous emphasis on small differences will suppress larger and more important ones. For this reason, and also in order not to abuse the luxury of writing (at least for the moment) last, I shall resist the temptation to defend my earlier argument against every objection at every turn and instead use these pages (in the main) to emphasize the principal themes of the discussion and to articulate continuing disagreements. This approach has its drawbacks, to be sure. For example, the effort to emphasize larger themes requires me to leave many excellent smaller points unaddressed. Moreover, I will undoubtedly fall short of my ambition to convey a fair account of the main lines of disagreement. My view of the broader terrain is itself influenced by the peculiar ground upon which I stand, and even a dispassionate treatment of the differences that these Responses illustrate will inevitably take on something of the character of a rebuttal. But even as I recognize the shortcomings of this approach - and my own shortcomings in executing it - I shall continue to emphasize the main lines of disagreement that the Responses display rather than to vindicate my own position. This effort will be most useful in propelling the discussion forward, even if progress necessarily occurs only in fits and starts.

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