19
Oct
08

Gross’ “Rhetoric of Science without Constraint”

Alan Gross
“Rhetoric of Science without Constraints”
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies

•    Each science text must be interpreted and the means of settlement is persuasion/art of rhetoric
•    Make this world work for you, but only if you work for it
o    Burke: “recalcitrance”: the underlying casual basis of the world we mutually perceive
•    No line that can be drawn between rhetoric and science
•    To argue against the position that these regularities describe one natural limit, three distinctions must be made:
o    Between prediction and truth
o    Between prediction and explanation
o    Between an explanation and its target
•    If explanation is the stuff of science, scientific knowledge is clearly contingent
•    Recalcitrances (and Kant’s noumena) “exist” only outside time and space
o    Generates explanatory burdens no relativism need share; not only must recalcitrance describe the indescribable, it must make sense out of the jumble of discontinuous, seemingly incompatible, ontologies variously espoused throughout the history of science
•    In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant showed that the affirmation of casual foundations, and its contrary, their denial, are equally false.  Both assume the ability to escape the world of experience within which, and only within which, meaning and predication are possible
•    The persuasiveness of any demarcation between rhetoric and science doesn’t depend on a priori considerations; instead it relies on the ultimate failure of radical rhetorical analysis.

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