Posts Tagged ‘Rhetoric of Science

01
Dec
08

Gross’ Rhetoric of Science

Alan Gross
The Rhetoric of Science
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
From Randy Harris’ Review

•    Compounding the presumption of that article, the book is surprisingly neglectful of other work in the field. There is barely a glance in the text at Bazerman or Myers. Simons, Lyne, Miller, Zappen, and several other influential rhetoricians of science are nowhere to be seen.
•    The book begins with much talk about “a neo- Aristotelian rhetoric of science” (6), outlining rhetorical genres and sketching stasis theory, but all that fades rather quickly away.
o    When Gross gets down to looking at scientific texts and processes, Habermas and Turner are more direct influences than Aristotle or Cicero. Nor, despite the emphasis on knowledge-making, do Scott or Leff or any others from the rhetoric-as-epistemic tradition make an appearance. The Sophists are invoked early but never employed.
•    Durant in the Times Literary Supplement dismissed his arguments to that end as (savour the irony) “mere sophistry,” and Ravetz complained in Nature that his work reduced science to “‘just words.”
o    Mere and just are familiar sticks for beating uppity rhetoricians, of course, and we shouldn’t lose any sleep over scientists worried that exposing their traffic in suasion might lower their status or jeopardize their grants
•    “The creation of knowledge is a task beginning with self-persuasion,” he tells us on the first page, “and ending with the persuasion of others” (3).
•    Suasion seems overlaid on science in these analyses, not constitutive of them, and Gross talks frequently as if rhetoric and scientific argumentation are two distinct entities (“rhetorical and scientific reasoning differ not in kind but only in degree”-12), rather than the latter being a subset of the former.
•    Plato, who says that first you find the truth, then you sell it. Plato’s model, not coincidentally, is the one that most scientists would offer.
o    Truth is ‘out there.’ Scientists find it. They phrase it in the most compelling terms, and others recognize it.
•    And a rhetoric that sells, instead of builds, is far too static for science.
•    This picture, of course, is a stick drawing of scientific disputes (ignoring, for instance, problems and solutions that arise only in the crucible of debate-E churning up data only for its ability to perforate U;
o    U inventing goals only because they are antithetical to E’s; each latching onto methods only for their corrosive effect on the other). But even this skimpy outline is fuller than Gross’s picture.
•    In short, there is not enough in The Rhetoric of Science about how knowledge gets built-via negotiation-in science.
•    But, through public disagreements (and public alliances), they display their arguments before their consumers-the workaday scientists who have to decide how they are going to spend the next few years of their time and energy, allocate their grant money, deploy their students.
o    More generally, scientific programs are like any consumer product-if fins work for this year for Ford, Chevy will have them next year-and theories are constantly infecting one another with attractive properties, constantly swapping suasions.
•    And, in the most unfortunate case of opportunity lost (perhaps because
Habermas leads him astray), Gross has a close look at the peer review process-as ripe a grove for epistemic rhetoric as any in science-and finds it a certification exercise. Knowledge is approved, not made, in Gross’ picture of peer review.
From Trevor Melia’s Review
•    In proposing to treat science “sub specie rhetoricae,” Alan Gross exemplifies both the problems and the potencies of the sophistic tradition in rhetoric.
o    Gross understands that the hegemony of rhetoric is threatened by plausible claims to knowledge of a reality beyond language.
o    He also recognizes that “science” poses the greatest threat in this respect
•    The result is that the rhetoric of science is in danger of being assimilated to a historically sensitive sociology of science.
o    Gross seeks to avoid that problem by explicitly mobilizing canonical works in classical rhetoric, especially those of Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintillian, and supplementing them with contributions from such moderns as Chaim Perelman, Kenneth Burke, Vladimir Propp, Jiirgen Habermas, and Roland Barthes.
o    Chapters devoted to analogy in science, taxonomic language, style in biological prose, and the arrangement of the scientific paper are redolent of the categories, if not the concerns, of classical rhetoric.
•    More philosophically provocative is the attempt, by invoking the doctrine of stasis (an sit, quid sit, quale sit), to replace “scientific discovery” with “rhetorical invention.”
•    This latter feat is accomplished by a perhaps too facile bifurcation between the “brute facts of nature” and “science itself.”
•    On Gross’s rendition the rhetoric of science does not deny the brute facts of nature but does aver that they are neither science nor knowledge.
o    Thus for Gross, since science is by definition invented, anything discovered is by implication brute fact.
•    Both Gross and Prelli profit from that combination of semiotic insight and modern Continental philosophy that, treating language as not merely instrumental but constitutive of reality, renders everything as “text.”

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19
Nov
08

Fahnestock’s Rhetorical Figures in Science

Jeanne Fahnestock
Rhetorical Figures in Science
Area: Digital Media

•    To what extent does language do our thinking for us?
•    Moves beyond the metaphor and tropes allied to the metaphor
o    Antithesis, gradatio, incrementation, antimetabole, ploche, polyptoton
•    Rhetoric: general pejorative connotation as verbal deceit
•    Aristotle is still worth consulting
o    ≠ Walker who tries to move away from Aristotleian critique but still uses it in his own work
•    Antithesis: opposed terms in symmetrical phrases (Aristotle’s definition)
o    “Buy low, sell high”
•    Antimetabole: no center, a mechanism for reversing the syntactic positions of two terms and in the process reversing their grammatical and conceptual relation to each other
o    “Those who know don’t tell, and those who tell don’t know”
o    Expresses identity claims, especially in geometry
•    Figures of repetition:
o    Ploche: precise repetition of a term within or across several sentences
•    Perfect repetition
o    Polyptoton: recurrence of the same roof in various forms
•    (Figure, figured, figural, figurally)
•    Create families of coordinate terms for transfer
•    We might pursue a ‘one mind’ hypothesis, that the same cognitive/verbal skills serve any subject of inquiry
viii: “These approaches are fruitful and satisfying when the goal is an appreciation of a work in its intellectual or cultural moment or an assessment of its role in an argument field.  But this book is more concerned with the technique of rhetoric itself, specifically with certain linguistic constructions called figures of speech.  Thus rhetoric is used in this study to illuminate scientific arguments, but, more importantly here, scientific arguments are used to illuminate rhetoric.”
ix-x: “The incrementum is a series whose members share an attribute in increasing or decreasing degree and an gradatio is a series whose members overlap but need not possess the same quality.  Series reasoning is used to create places for terms—beginning, end, or middle—a case in point being the construction of fossil series to explain living forms.  Incomplete series, or series with holes, can provide a rationale for identifying missing elements, a tactic used in the nineteenth century to create and fill the periodic table of elements and in the eighteenth to predict the existence of a missing planet between Mars and Jupiter.  Overlapping series, on the model of the gradatio, are used to establish set relations and causal chains, as examples from ecological arguments demonstrate, and series are also used to dissolve established differences between categories and so to refigure a conceptual domain, replacing differences in kind by differences in degree.”
xi: “But scientific arguments are chosen to illustrate the devices for several reasons.   First is clarity. Scientific arguments, as arguments supporting claims about the way nature is or works, tend to give their main lines of reasoning a high profile; they are, in terms of the argumentative strategies looked at here, fairly open objects of analysis. Second, scientific arguers often resort to visual persuasion, so it is possible to follow certain figures of speech into their expression as ‘figures’ in another sense.  This consistency between the visual and verbal helps to underscore the fundamental conceptual processes expressed by figures.  Third, scientific arguments are used here to weaken the old misconception that the domain of rhetoric does not extend to the sciences since rhetorical invention presumably prescribes only the reassembly of conventional truths, while scientific invention involves the discovery of new truths.  The ‘new science’ of the seventeenth century deliberately exaggerated its break with the prevailing intellectual and pedagogical tradition—that it, with rhetoric—as part of its campaign to inspire inquiry.  But language does do much of our thinking for us, even in the sciences, and rather than being an unfortunate contamination, its influence has been productive historically, helping individual thinkers generate concepts and theories that can then be put to rest.”
From Katz’s Review:
•    “Fahnestock examines how verbal (and to a lesser extent in this book visual) forms not only increase the clarity and persuasiveness of scientific discourse but also stylistically reflect the process of scientific reasoning and the structure of scientific knowledge.”

30
Oct
08

Latour’s Pandora’s Hope

Bruno Latour
Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies
Area: Digital Media

•    “Do you believe in reality?”
•    Science studies has added reality to science
•    Science Studies (SS): relatively sure of daily practices
•    Descartes: mind requires artificial life-support to keep it viable
o    Looking from inside → out: constant gaze
•    Fear of the mob rule
•    Offering the mind a body—not a spectacle but a lived self-evident, unreflexive extension of the self
•    How is it possible to imagine an outside world?
o    Make the world into a spectacle seen from the inside
•    When SS say there’s no outside world, refuse to grant it the ahistorical, isolated, inhuman, cold, objective existence that was only given to combat the crowd
•    Factish = fact + fetish
•    What does it mean to be “away” from the forest?
o    From this POV there’s no difference between observation and experience: both are constructions
•    Never a resemblance between stages
•    Munsell code (ex: find exact paint sample by matching numbers)
•    Complete rupture between “thing” and “sign”
•    The chain must be reversible
•    Amplification: “We have been able at every stage, to extend our link with already-established practical knowledge, starting with the old trigonometry placed ‘behind’ phenomena and ending up with all of the new ecology, the new findings of ‘botanical pedology’” (71).
•    From text we return to things, displaced a little further
•    2 Major misunderstandings:
o    SS seeks a social explanation
o    SS deals only with discourse and rhetoric, but doesn’t care about the outside world
•    SS: rejects the idea that science is disconnected but doesn’t mean it embraces the social constructivist side either
•    Two types of historians:
o    Pure Politics = externalists
o    Pure Science = internalists
•    Initial vocab is different from final vocab
•    Vocabs of content v. context
o    Context: what explains science is society
o    Content: sciences explain themselves
•    Chains of transactions
o    Exoteric resources: daily papers
o    Esoteric resources: university textbooks
•    One cannot change scientific fact: others need to bring about the transformation
•    Is it rhetoric or proof that finally convinces scientists?
•    Mobilization o the world
o    “The first loop one has to follow can be called the mobilization of the world, if we understand by this very general expression all the means by which nonhumans are progressively loaded into discourse. It is a matter of moving toward the world, making it mobile, bringing it to the site of controversy, keeping it engaged, and making it available for arguments” (99-100).
•    Scientists make the objects move around them
•    2 parallel series of artifacts
o    “In a place of a collective of humans and nonhumans we now have two parallel series of artifacts that never intersect: ideas on the one hand and society on the other.  The first series, which results in the dreams of epistemology and the knee-jerk defensiveness of science warriors, is simply annoying and puerile; the second, which results in the illusion of a social world, is far more damaging, at least for those like me who try to practice a realistic philosophy” (111).
•    “Construction” is in no way the mere recombination of already existing elements
o    Mutual exchange of properties
•    Double meaning of fact: that which is made up and that which is not
•    Who is doing the action in this new medium of culture?
9: “As if it had not been devised so as not to be overcome!—phenomenology leaves s with the most dramatic split in this whole sad story: a world of science left entirely to itself, entirely cold, absolutely inhuman; and a rich lived world of intentional stances entirely limited to humans, absolutely divorced from what things are in and for themselves.”
13: “To avoid the threat of a mob rule that would make everything lowly, monstrous, and inhuman, we have to depend on something that has no human origin, no trace of humanity, something that is purely, blindly, and coldly outside of the City.  The idea of a completely outside world dreamed up by epistemologists is the only way, in the eyes of moralists, to avoid falling prey to mob rule.  Only inhumanity will quash inhumanity.”
13: “This is the argument of the book…can our representations capture with some certainty stable features of the world out there? … Can we find a way to fend off the people? … Conversely, will we still be able to use objective reality to shut the mob’s too many mouths?”
64: “How can we qualify this relation of representation, of delegation, when it is not mimetic yet is so regulated, so exact, so packed with reality, and, in the end, so realistic?  Philosophers fool themselves when they look for a correspondence between words and things as the ultimate standard of truth.  There is truth and there is reality, but there is neither correspondence nor adequatio.”
130: “According to which of these two contradictory features is stressed, the same text becomes either constructivist or realist.  Am I, Pasteur, making up this entity because I am projecting my prejudices onto it, or am I being made up and forced to behave that way because of its properties? Am I, the analyst of Pasteur, explaining the closure of the controversy by appealing to his human, cultural, historical interests, or will I be forced to add to the balance the active role of the non humans he did so much to shape?”
Class Notes
•    What is the limit of rhetoric?
o    Given the history of science?
•    Science: lock on objective reality
o    Rhetoric: decoration? Flourish?
•    Things change in the 20 Century: questions of objective shifts
o    What consequences—voracity of nature of science, work, speaking “truth,” rhetoric contributing something else
•    Latour: looking at science as activity
o    Science: social activity?
•    Do you think Latour belongs in a course on rhetorical theory?
o    Should he be saying “rhetoric” but doesn’t?
o    Dynamic: seems to suggest rhetoric
•    Put in context with what else we’ve read—how does he fit in?
•    Assigning of agency
o    Accounting for interactions—who’s responsible for what?
o    Vitalism
•    Speed Bump: locating all of these things into a material object
•    When technology fails, we notice the technology
•    How we talk about the technology
•    Technology as a co-actor, not a tool
•    Burke: agent and agency
•    In the interaction, what comes first?
o    How does the world become populated by things we interact with?
•    Human/Nonhuman (H/NH) constantly interacting
o    Constant loops of interactions
•    Means and ends
o    Kant: treat humans as having an end (purposiveness?)
•    Humans become the end of technology
o    Requires us as an audience
•    Technology imbued with motive? (not really…)
o    Creative function in the mind
•    Not one person’s discovery
•    Science: politicized—above/outside realm of politics
•    Compact history
•    Might v. Right
o    Might: someone has power, not much you can do about it
•    One can’t bring about change, others need to bring about transformation
•    If we keep philosophical discussion too much, are we doing more harm?
•    Might of science: mist to subsume all humans to obey all laws of nature
•    Facts may be what they may be
o    Global warming (ex.): Latourian H/NH interaction
o    Less rhetoric: scientists prove this is the case and what we should do about it
•    Direct connection between what we know and how we act
o    More rhetoric: interpretative: convince people what to
•    Indirect or no direct connection between knowledge and action
•    What it is people do with what they know
•    Claming final truth is a different way of talking
•    How does the way of talking misconstrue things?
•    The object itself has an impact on environment
o    How do we talk about relationship with these objects?
o    The environments we’ve built constrains or enables us in these ways
•    How do we find responsibility for an act?

21
Oct
08

Gadamer’s Truth and Method

Hans-Georg Gadamer
Truth and Method
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
xi-9

•    Bildung: “the properly human way of developing one’s natural talents and capacities
•    Erlebuisse: “experiences”: enduring residue of moments lived in their full immediacy
o    Universal significance which goes beyond history
•    Two words for “experience”: erfahrund and erlebnis (used most by Gadamer)
•    Erlebnis: overturns exisiting perspective
o    Have ≠ erfahrung: undergo
•    Re-presenting: ‘total mediation’ made fully available again
•    Consciousness open to the effects of history: Ricoeur
•    Tradition is not automatic
o    Task, required to make even though no one compels us’ precludes complacency and passivity
•    Sache: Subject matter
•    Language becomes an event, something historical
•    Experience of truth that transcends scientific method
o    Can’t be verified by methodological means
•    The incorporation of experience within
•    Understanding belongs to the being of that which is understood
•    Legal historian v. practicing lawyer
•    Mediation between past and present: application
•    Play is more than the consciousness of the player
o    More than a subjective act
•    Language is more than the consciousness of the speaker (Also subjective act)
•    Development of human sciences is modeled after the natural sciences
•    Experiential universals are not concerned with how things evolve, but how it got to this point (how it happened that it is so)
•    Helmholtz: humans arrive at conclusions by an unconscious process—not logical, but psychological
•    Human sciences: true representations of humanism? Contra natural sciences?
9-60
•    Bildung (via Herder): raising up to humanity through culture
o    Developing one’s natural talents
•    Kant: cultivating a capacity
•    Bildung represents result of process of becoming
o    Not process itself
•    Man is characterized by break with the immediate/natural that the intellectual/rational side of his nature demands
•    Working consciousness = independent consciousness
o    Restrained desire
•    By forming the thing it forms itself
•    Theoretical Bildung is not immediate, but alien
o    Beyond what is immediately known
o    Different from oneself
•    Returning to oneself from what is other
•    Memory as talent/faculty is misunderstood
o    Must be formed
•    Vico: Rhetoric is based on true and right/evident
•    Aristotle: phronesis = intellectual venture
•    Probability operates on historical fact
•    Le bon sens avoids mistakes of scientific dogmatism and is the law of the metaphysical utopianists (Bergson)
•    Detinger: rational truths ≠ common/sensible truths
•    Judgment requires a principle to guide its application
•    Kant: appeal to common sense when science fails
o    Sensus communis: public sense: judgment with collective reason
•    Good taste = good society
o    Not through birth/rank, but shared judgments
•    Taste isn’t demonstrated
•    Beauty: an objective idea with subjective pleasure: Socrates
•    Taste is the supreme consummation of moral judgment
•    Taste ≠ knowledge
o    Pleasure, instead
•    Beauty is fixed by the concept of purposiveness (an end)
•    Taste must be guided by beauty
•    Perfection of taste (possibility of its being cultivated and perfected) assumes a definite unchangeable form
o    But taste is mutable
60-110
•    Experience can be traced back to consciousness
•    Dilthey: life is productivity
•    Husserl: experience = consciousness = intentionality
•    Experience is constituted in a memory
•    Every experience is taken out of the continuity of life and related to the whole of one’s life
•    Allegory and symbol: not the same but both refers to something whose meaning doesn’t consist in its external appearance, but to something beyond it
•    Symbol creates link between visible and invisible
•    Symbol: inward unity
•    Allegory: points to something else
•    Schlegel: all beauty is allegory
•    Art: supplement and fill in gaps left by nature
o    Fine arts perfect reality, not veil or mask it
•    Aesthetic differentation: are existing in its own right
o    Selects on the basis of aesthetic quality
•    Seeing means articulating => articulating
•    Is there a knowledge in art?
110-159
•    Play and disguise: holds on to continuity for self along
•    The players no longer exist, only what they’re playing
•    Ontological difference between the likeness and its resemblance
•    Contemporaneity: bringing the two moments together that aren’t concurrent
o    Kirkegaard
•    How is the picture different from the copy?
o    Problem of the original
•    The picture has an autonomy that affects the original
159-212
•    Hermeneutics: classical discipline of understanding
o    Rise of historical consciousness
•    Reading with understanding is always a kind of reproduction
o    Speaks to us in the present
•    Writing can mean something unintentional
•    Schlermacher: hermeneutics => avoiding misunderstandings
•    Trojan War exists within Homer’s poem
•    The artist doesn’t set the standard for his own work
212-264
•    Something interior is immediately present
•    Historical experience and idealistic heritage
•    Dilthey: how historical experience can become science
•    Experience: fusion of memory and expectation
o    ≠ a living historical process
•    Dilthey: triumph of hermeneutics—objectifications of art
•    Everything in history is intelligible because everything is a text
•    Life-world ≠ objectivism
•    What being is was determined by time
265-307
•    How can hermeneutics do justice to historicity of understanding?
•    Make the fore-structures work in terms of the things themselves—in the present => expectation only goes so far
•    Reading with expectation = reevaluating what’s there
•    What happens when understanding goes unnoticed?
•    Hermeneutics: becomes a question of things
•    “Unfounded judgment” => The whole debate!!
•    Have the courage to make use of your own understanding
•    Tendency of reconstruction = reclaiming the past
•    Poets have only an aesthetic effect: stimulate the imagination
•    Overcoming prejudices in itself prejudicial
•    Not knowing historical fate is very different from the way nature is alien to man: nature is knowable—not an in the future;
o    But historical fate is only a “guess: based on past experiences
•    What an authority says supposedly can be verified
•    Relation to the past isn’t characterized by distance
o    Always part of us: non-distance
•    One ‘does’ traditions without really understanding the experience
o    “I have always done this…but why…because that’s how it is… ‘makes’ me feel connected
•    The historical process must constantly re-prove itself
•    The classical is timeless
•    “Hermeneutic Rule”: whole in terms of detail, detail in terms of whole
•    Temporal distance is not something to overcome
•    Understanding = historically effected event
307-346
•    Hermeneutics divided in three ways: understanding, interpretation, and application
•    Understanding: applying something universal to particular
•    Man is not at his own disposal
•    Always already in the situation of having to act
•    Laws of agreement v. natural law
•    The work of interpretation is to concretize
346-389
•    Historically effected consciousness has the structure of experience
•    Husserl: uses scientific experience as the basis for all other experiences
•    Experience isn’t science itself, but a necessary condition of it
•    Hegel: experience is the experience that consciousness has of itself
•    A person called experienced has become so through experiences and also is open to new experiences
•    Return is an illusion
•    Knowledge always means considering opposites
389-428
•    Interpretation makes understanding explicit
•    Greek philosophy: a work is only a name
474-491
•    Being that can be understood as language
•    Beauty has the most important ontological function mediating between idea and appearance
Class notes
•    Historical overview of perspectives of hermeneutics
•    What’s the nature of the enterprise of rhetorical theory today?
•    Leading up to the present
•    Referring back to the classics without any consciousness of what they’re doing
•    Product of human activity
•    Question of human activity
o    Truth?
•    What’s the nature of any human construct?
•    How to we account for things and what is it that the accounting does?
•    How is it that a scientific rationality determines human (rationality)?
•    Kuhn—reversal: hermeneutics can help us understand humanness of scientific rationality
•    Things we do we aren’t aware of
•    Awareness of activities that are definitely human activities
•    Science: Reduce particulars to the universal
o    Example: laws of gravity
o    Subsumes all the particulars
o    Makes any event uneventful
•    Explains stuff away: Nietzsche
•    Human Sciences: Success of human science was extremely profound
•    Interconnected:
o    Not dissociated with being a person in the world
o    No account of my experience of falling
•    Experience and understanding not so divergent of each other
•    Manipulation of language was an intervention of ‘cosmic order’
o    Persuading to extra-sensory appeals
•    Ex: Gorgias
•    Seduction with words like drugs
•    Tap directly into will
•    Explain pretty well with accounts of experiences
•    What’s rhetoric in Enlightenment?
o    Logical consistency
•    Problem with science (for Gadamer) is that it has no way of accounting for itself
•    Gravity (ex.): how can we be confident that what I’m saying account for themselves
•    Science has problem of self-awareness and observation of empirical phenomenon
•    What happens when we apply this to human activity
•    Explaining away not explaining why
•    We want consequence in our experience
•    My experience tells me that there’s something else going on
•    Natural science aims at universal experience
o    ≠ human science: experience: understand value of particular
•    What is it about human activity that matters?
o    Different anticipation
•    How do we explain how things matter?
o    Memory and expectation
•    Something about the recollection and remembering is the event/that makes it meaningful
•    Any event fits into a universal
o    More of a pointedness to it
•    “my memory was something like that, too”
•    Particular into an instance of a universal
o    Ex.: Hamlet—creates its own world in which it represents own universal
•    How do we know our own narrative efforts are right?
•    If rhetoric is some kind of manipulation of signs and symbols, then how does that participate in our own
•    Created by common viewpoints
•    Politically aware
o    Understanding world in response to each other
•    Ex: it’s right not to steal
o    Accepted
•    How do you mediate between particular and universal?
•    How do I have an understanding of these particular things?
•    For Gadamer: the shadows are more than real
o    What is only is because we are aware of them
•    Rearticulation of universality
•    The aesthetic object gets prioritized as human value and significance
•    The sublimity of human experience
•    What is it that makes certain experiences more?
•    Experience isn’t scientific
o    255: structural continuity
•    In not comprehending, there’s no self-understanding
•    What’s the structure of human experience?
•    Reconstructing the construction for someone else
•    Experience occurs in the representation
o    Re-narritization
•    Defamiliarization: greater understanding but self-alienating
o    One hand given, on the other taken away
•    Using a collective language—the only words to describe belong to a universal
o    Make the words belong: altered and distorted
•    How something is described has everything to do with what it is
•    What to know first: method of obtaining truth? (but end already exists)
o    What method can we have for certainty?
•    Any indication of what method would be?
•    Value as humans?
•    Our understanding is contingent upon our historicity
•    Something we do with texts that allow us to have a reality within itself
•    Does human experience have a predictive value?
•    Make a particularly appropriate response
o    Satisfying
•    Can responsibility be a theory of rhetoric is there’s always an openendedness?
•    What’s the stopping point of rhetoric?
•    Hermeneutics: a form, an art of rhetoric
•    What is it that hermeneutics does?
•    It’s not a science of something out there (physics)
•    Universality of our experiences
•    Study of experiences: cultivation of culture
•    If things are only in the doing of them, what’s the truth
•    In the anticipation, I contribute to the event
•    Spatiality: what the text brings to me along with what I bring to the text
•    What does Gadamer mean by understanding?
o    More experiential
o    Emotional? Visceral response?
•    If understanding is an experience, then how do we creat them?
•    Projective awareness
•    Prejudices
o    Can’t change personal values
•    Common sense, common good
•    Bringing own understanding
•    What consequences does the speaker have if no one receives it?
•    Supreme faith in dialogue
•    That person loses sense of understanding: alter their language
•    As long as people continue talking, it will eventually “count” as truth
•    Can you have a private experience?
o    Relational
o    Understanding in particular context
•    Context specific understanding
o    Common, shared
•    Everything begins and ends in projection into an experience
•    Common sense: sense of something shared
•    Refutation model (Kuhn)
o    Affirm certan things about the theory
o    Once theory stops being affirmable, that’s when we change things
o    Throw it open to its refutation
o    Two things occurring at the same time
•    Genius robs the possibility for
•    One can talk around morals, but one cannot make positive (absolute) statements
•    Wittgenstein: Tractatus
o    Look at mathematical theories of science
o    Guide scientific developments
o    Take issue with aphoristic positivism
•    Can’t give you a method: need to figure out yourself
•    314-17: Learning by doing; techne
•    No one can tell you how to value language
•    Conversation leading the people
•    What is rhetorical studies/theory?
o    Is rhetorical theory a discipline?
•    What determines disciplinarity?
•    Look at the ways you’re working/being in the world
•    If it’s a discipline, what’s it a discipline of?
•    What’s the relation between critical and creative activities of rhetorical studies?

20
Oct
08

Wells’ Sweet Reason

A review by Marback

Remember: Rhetoric is a bag of “shabby tricks.”

08
Oct
08

Kuhn’s THe Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Thomas S. Kuhn
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies

•    Two tasks of scientific development: determine time line of discoveries and explain the inhibitions
•    Science: incremental process
•    No scientific group can practice without received beliefs
•    Scientific Revolutions: extraordinary episodes that shift professional commitments
•    Normal science: research firmly based on past achievements
•    Science is much more successive; Humanities more renewed and revisited
•    Equal facility
•    Bacon: “truth emerges more rapidly from error than from confusion”
•    The existence of the paradigm sets the problem to be solved
•    Bringing a normal research problem to a conclusion is achieving the anticipated in a new way
•    The assured existence of a solution defines a puzzle
•    Rules derive from paradigms, but paradigms can guide research in the absence of rules
•    To reject one paradigm without simultaneously substituting another is to reject science itself
148: competition between paradigms isn’t one that can be settled with proofs
Notes from class
•    What’s Kuhn saying? Relation to rhetoric
•    Model of logic—analysis of logic to that point
•    Reduce knowledge—model more purposeful
•    How do you get a new theory?
•    Up until mid-50s: accumulation = science
•    Science is social activity: Kuhn
•    Paradigm: normal science; “solving puzzles”; once solved, new ones emerge
•    Paradigm Shift: Gestalt—seeing things differently; Duck or Rabbit; Nature of scientific change has something to do with shift in perception
•    What’s a paradigm?
o    Science: base assumptions
•    Inductive reasoning
•    Accumulated knowledge in a certain way
•    Shows what paths are available
•    Retroactive assignment
o    Elaboration until contradiction?
•    Invention: successful rhetorical argument?
•    Bazerman: Shaping Written Knowledge
o    Watson/Crick
o    Anomulous evidence that you needed to account for
•    Persuasive appeals—see evidence differently
•    Kuhn: persuasion’s a huge part of scientific knowledge
•    How text in science get taken up and argued
•    Solve old problems and new ones
•    Discovery of available means
o    Invention
•    Theory or fact: which came first?
•    Science: “bad” hermeneutics
•    Science textbook: experiments
•    Blindness and Insight: de Man
•    Progress through error
•    Exceptional science?

08
Oct
08

Gross and Keith’s Rhetorical Hermeneutics

Alan Gross and William Keith, eds.
Rhetorical Hermeneutics: Invention and Interpretation in the Age of Science
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
Introduction

•    Can a rhetorical hermeneutic be anchored in a coherent and enabling theory?
•    Productive tradition=critical and theoretical?
•    Interpretative that rhetorical studies be broadened to explore communicative procedures and practices not traditionally covered
•    Gross: reducing science to rhetoric without remainder
•    Rhetoric’s essential character isn’t interpretative
•    Critical evaluation of speech: whether rhetor achieved goal with immediate audience
•    Actually v. Ought to be received
•    Gaonkar: rhetorical tradition is essentially one of practice
1: “In a reversal of the usual topos, Gaonkar does not attempt to question whether the rhetoric of science has understood science properly, but whether it has sufficiently comprehended rhetoric.”
8: “As a consequence of the strategy of globalization, rhetoric, once Cicero’s ‘civil science,’ now appears to be ubiquitous in modern life, as ubiquitous as community, knowledge, or interpretation.”
10-1: “Gaonkar asks whether it is really possible for a theory so firmly grounded in practice for over two millennia to be translated into a theory of interpretation.”
14: “Gaonkar argues that, to the extent that there is theory, it consists not of a systematic array of insights but of a set of rules of thumb which cannot be deepened systematically.  Once you have penetrated the first layer of explanation, you do not find anthoher set of theories to explain the terms, claims, and relationships of that first layer.”
“The Idea of Rhetoric in the Rhetoric of Science”: Gaonkar
•    Achieve a “redescription”
•    Rhetoric as interpretive theory v. cultural practice
•    Rhetoricality is an effect
•    Between the precept and performance there is talent and practice
•    Historical explanation: dialectic between repression and recognition
•    Rhetoric of Science (RS): those who study science from a rhetorical perspective
•    RS: Immediately implicated in the politics of recognition
o    Visibility: under one description, rhetoric is visible, under another it is ‘dimly’ visible
•    “Virtually every statement in this paragraph is socially correct and technically false”
•    Scientific discoveries are difficult to explain
•    If scientific theories are rhetorical inventions, no explaining is necessary
•    Rorty: Modern science is a “discursive community”
•    Coarticulation: one rarely speaks of rhetoric in isolation but always in relation to something
25: “Rhetoric is a way of reading the endless discursive debris that surrounds us.”
27: “The ancients were not entirely unaware of these two aspects of rhetoric.  They distinguished between rhetorica utens and rhetorica docens.  The former refers to rhetoric as practice in a sense not dissimilar from its contemporary usage.  But the latter refers to rhetoric as a pedagogically motivated network of critical terms, practical devices, prudential rules, and semitheoretical formulations regarding a set of interrelated topics: practical reasoning, figurative language, compositional structures and strategies, psychology of audience, and sociology of opinion.”
29: “First, what is rhetorical in any given case in invariably an effect of one’s reading rather than a quality intrinsic to the object being read.  Second, if what is rhetorical is an effect of one’s reading, then a master reader can produce such an effect in relation to virtually any object.  Hence, the range of rhetoric is potentially universal.”
38: “The practice of invoking rhetoric is a culturally significant phenomenon and that practice is symptomatically related to the crisis in the human sciences marked by the demise of ‘foundationalism’ in philosophy and of ‘high modernism’ in art and literature.  Second, the seemingly careless and ubiquitous uses and invocations of rhetoric deflect our attention from its strategic deployment.”
61: “Scientific knowledge consists of the current answers to three questions, answers that re the product of professional conversation: what range of brute facts is worth investigating? How is this range to be investigated? What do the results of these investigations mean?”
“What if We’re Not Producing Knowledge?: Critical Reflections on the Rhetorical Criticisms of Science: Alan Gross
•    Gaonkar thinks Gross is wrong by using rhetorical practices as an adequate epistemic/methodological resource
•    Gaonkar: Classical rhetoric: production ≠ analysis
•    Rhetorical criticism can add little to science (via Gaonkar)
•    Rhetoric of Science is consistently the “borrower”
140: The interpretive turn in contemporary rhetorical studies, even as it seeks to break free from a ‘restrained’ vision of Aristotle remains fatally bound to an Aristotelian vocabulary.”
“Rhetoric of Science”: Double the Trouble?: Fuller
•    Does rhetoric add anything distinctive in science?
•    When science is said to be universally accessible, does that mean the practice or the products?
o    Contributors v. consumers
•    Isocratean = rhetoric as hegemonic
•    Sophistic = rhetoric as dynastic
•    Scientific text serves as a sustained focus of attention
•    Invisible colleges (Bacon): “a network of opinion leaders, typically the dorectors of the major research teams, who collectively determine the place (if any) that a text will occupy in the ongoing disciplinary narrative.”
280: “Where is the rhetoric in a field whose authors think of themselves as primarily contributing to an archive rather than to a conversation?”
285-6: “When do readers engage scientific texts as rhetorical episodes, that is, as if the author were publicly addressing them with the purpose of moving them to act one way or another? By simply taking for granted that readers engage texts rhetorically, the rhetorician of science appears to be naively passing off a normative theory of how scientific texts should be read, as though it were already implicitly applied by some actual readers whose interpretive processes the rhetorician then wants to capture.”
“An Elliptical Postscript”: Farrell
•    Gaonkar: decode counterfactual conventions informing the critical practices of rhetoric and its traditions
•    Rhetoric of science: the way rhetoric operates within the texts and practices of science
•    Rhetorical Tradition: rhetorical not reducible to production/consumption
o    Praxis
322: Double bind: “Either they restrict rhetoric to an indentifiable, productionist ‘place’ in cultural life, where its ‘thin’ vocabulary will be serviceable (thought irrelevant); or they globalize rhetoric, where rhetorical interpretation gains breadth, at the cost of its identity.”
325: “Science ‘persuades’ and instructs, too, but primarily in germs of the principles and propositions of its own subject matter.  Only rhetoric presents us with an art for persuading over what is common to all.”
Close Readings of the Third Kind: Reply to My Critics: Gaonkar
•    Two reading strategies with rhetorical turn:
o    1—make object intelligible in terms of rhetoricity
•    Predictable
o    2—Unpack rhetoricity—more precisely articulated theoretical constructs
•    Let go of rhetoric as explanatory in favor of understanding
•    Context: occasion and society




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