Progress is…What do you think it is?As both political philosophy
and personal lifestyle, social
anarchism promotes community
participation in political
decision-making, respect for
nature, and nonviolent paths to
peace and justice.
In 1915 Arp began to develop a method of
making collages by dropping pieces of torn
paper on the floor and arranging them on a
piece of paper more or less the way they had
fallen. The incorporation of chance operations was a
way of removing the artist's will from the creative act.
Jean (Hans) Arp. Collage Arranged According
to the Laws of Chance. 1916–17.
An anarchist epistemology
is essential for progress.
An anarchistepistemology means…firstname.lastname@example.org
University of British Columbia
AEA, November 2004, Atlanta
Science is an essentially anarchic enterprise: theoretical anarchism is more humanitarian and
more likely to encourage progress than its law-and-order alternatives.
Paul Feyerabend, Against Method
Substitute evaluation for science in the Feyerabend quote and then consider the
contemporary practice of evaluation. As practice and as theory, evaluation embodies an anarchist
epistemology and additionally some evaluators employ an anarchist epistemology. It is this
anarchist epistemology that makes evaluation a powerful means to progress.1 If ones looks at the
explosion of theoretical ideas in evaluation, methods used (evaluation borrows liberally not just
from psychology and sociology but from all the social sciences, the arts, philosophy, and indeed
wherever something pragmatically useful can be found), forms of human interaction, and ways of
representing knowledge one would conclude that indeed as a discipline evaluation already
embodies an anarchist epistemology. Below, to the left, is a list of signs of the anarchist
epistemology in evaluation.
In addition there are particular evaluators that assume an anarchist epistemology. In
other words, in doing an evaluation some evaluators adopt this view, preferring an open-ended
stance to wha