Contemporary debates over the future of critique, feminist or otherwise, tend to neglect if not perpetuate a reliance on the philosophical tradition, with its disdain for the contingent and indifference to local audiences. If critique is to be realistic, as distinguished from realist or antirealist as the philosophical tradition has defined those terms, it must begin by clarifying the nature and extent of this reliance and begin to develop alternatives. Such an idea of critique would begin by questioning received notions of the relationship between theory and practice, which I argue are unduly inflected by philosophical prejudices. Theory should not be understood as a primarily epistemological or methodological enterprise whose task is to justify the basis of critique. Instead, theory should be conceived, with the rhetorical tradition, as a world-creating, first-order practice that gives meaning and significance to the human commons.