Harris' footnote here gives a rare glimpse of his social philosophy, which was for him a matter of deeply committed practice and not a merely theoretical espousal: "The pitting of one linguistic tool against another has in it something of the absolutist postwar temper of social institutions, but is not required by the character and range of these tools of analysis." It is entirely in keeping with his views, for example, that he did not seek to impose them upon others. The absolutism Harris mentions here is also seen in the recurring demand for `the' `correct' grammar of `the' language. An early instance of this is the controversy over non-uniqueness in phonology, alluded to earlier, and Householder's famous (and oversimplifying) dichotimization of `God's Truth' linguists vs. `hocus-pocus' linguists (see Hymes & Fought 1981:150- 151). Harris admitted different, non-unique descriptions by application of alternative distributional procedures, so long as, given the primitive contrasts, "the defining of the elements and the stating of the relations among them be based on distribution, and be unambiguous, consistent and subject to check" (1951a:9). "In any case, there is no harm in all this non-uniqueness, since each system can be mapped onto the others, so long as any special conditions are explicit and measurable" (1954:5; Harris [1951a:32] gives an earlier formulation). The notion that there is some sort of harm in non-uniqueness reflects a conception that because the ideal of science is to give a "correct" description eventually, failure to find "the correct" description at every stage constitutes failure to be scientific. Hymes & Fought (1981:148- 149) identify this character in Trager's insistance that one start with phonetic data and proceed in rigid, stepwise fashion, never mixing levels, in contrast with Harris' much more flexible (though no less rigorous) approach. 31 Harris' footnote here reads: Because of the mass of idiomatic and quasi-idiomatic expressions in language, each type of description has to treat of various special small categories of words, and in some cases even of unique words. But in the case of string and transformational analyses, and less adequately in the case of constituent analysis, the statements for aberrant and idiomatic material can be made in the terms of the given description (constituent, string, or transformation) or in limited extension or weakenings of the rules of that description. In these analyses, the treatment of difficult material does not require us to go completely outside the terms of the given description into the terms of another or into the metalanguage. In the elided text is a slightly different statement of the footnoted passage: "Each of these properties can be used as the basis for a description of the whole language because the effects of the other properties can be brought in as restrictions on the chosen property". In this formulation, the import of added restrictions is emphasized. 32 Contrast this with the long-running controversies over the generative capacity of one or another formal metalanguage, construed as systems of generative rules for language.