Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Notes on (and beyond) Charland 2003 The incommensurability thesis and the status of knowledge

I still don't get delegitimation. Rough notes here only, with next questions.

Lyotard borrows from Wittgenstein’s language games, which approximately equal Kuhn’s paradigms.

Paradigms (Kuhn) are incommensurable with one another. Within paradigms, the world is represented acc/- the rules of paradigm but on the basis of empiricism – a representational mirror. Rhetoric is non-scientific ie. Non-empirical but must be deployed in scientific revolution to establish a new paradigm, because paradigms are non-scientific ie based on a priori assumptions, not empirical observations.

But this undoes itself (perhaps - Gross) because the scientific community is continually (not periodically) deploying rhetoric to test the paradigm…meaning incommensurable rhetoric is deployed within a paradigm, making the paradigm unstable (and science unscientific).

Charland (2003) seems to use Lyotard as the Third Way in this essay. Language games approximately equal paradigms, but do not draw on an analogy with representation and also does not care about empiricism or the mirror to reality. That is, paradigms are a game, where every move is a response to previous ones, ether commensurable or incommensurable, doesn’t matter.

Here is where it all gets relevant to me:

The thing with the game is that is assumes the equal status of its participants – that is, each move in the game is directed towards another participant in the game who must be qualified to understand and respond to it (for it to be valid?).

This “scientific” knowledge is different to “narrative” knowledge, which assumes the inequality of the speaker to the audience – that is, while commensurability doesn’t matter within science, science is incommensurable to, say, politics (which is narrative knowledge).

Next questions will be….

How is the language game legitimised?

How does the need for legitimacy delegitimise it?

Does scientific knowledge belong beyond science to other university-based knowledges?

Is narrative knowledge equal to non-university knowledge - or is it also scholarly humanities?

Experts, please speak up!

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