invention of wha?

I have not been quiet about my own frustration with Stengers, so I see no need to rehearse those complaints here.  I do cite them, however, as a pre-emptive rationale for the stunning lack of insight in what follows.

The only strategy that made this book work for me (on an admittedly narrow level) was to think of this as an exercise for my planned “Dictionaries” syllabus.  As such, the task was something like this: “Read a text outside your discipline or normal area of research.  Find three words that are pertinent to your discipline and then respond to how they’re used in this text.”  So, at the very least, I might make some pedagogical project out of an otherwise aggressively difficult text.

Here’s at least one of the words, with some superficial commentary appended to it:

“Invention.”  It is hard not to notice Stengers’ interest in invention (the title is a dead clue), so I traced this word with some interest.  For Stengers, invention repeats in multiple levels: as the establishment of truth as a scientific ideal (30), the situating of the scientist as the unassailable speaker of reason  (22), science’s own terms of intelligibility (23), and, later in the text, the invention of experimental apparatuses that make science “work.”

So, what does a rhetorician learn from this?  First: Invention is more than just the words and phrases put to page.  Rather, we can think invention in a broader scope; rather than insisting for the kairotic moment to insist upon the time and need for speech, we might look to Stenger’s work and see that–as science invented its own terms of efficacy–we might do so to for rhetorical action (a lesson also learned from the situationists).  Second: invention is a pedagogical practice; as we invent, so do we also show others the constraints of allowable invention.   And. . .that’s all I’ve got so far.  I’m hoping to return to this post in future after we’ve talked through this text.  It’s kicking my butt.

Advertisements

One Response to “invention of wha?”

  1. I’m glad to read that you’re still confused. Look out for my response-response–hopefully tomorrow should clear up some confusion…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: