598 Pages
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Rhetoric and Incommensurability


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598 Pages


Rhetoric and Incommensurability examines the complex relationships among rhetoric, philosophy, and science as they converge on the question of incommensurability, the notion jointly (though not collaboratively) introduced to science studies in 1962 by Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend. The incommensurability thesis represents the most profound problem facing argumentation and dialogue—in science, surely, but in any symbolic encounter, any attempt to cooperate, find common ground, get along, make better knowledge, and build better societies. This volume brings rhetoric, the chief discipline that studies argumentation and dialogue, to bear on that problem, finding it much more tractable than have most philosophical accounts.



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Published 19 September 2005
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EAN13 9781932559514
Language English
Document size 2 MB

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Retoric and Incommensurability
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Retoric and Incommensurability
Edited and Introduced by Randy Allen Harris
Parlor Press West Lafayette, Indiana www.parlorpress.com
Parlor Press LLC, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906
© 2005 by Parlor Press All rigts reserved. Printed in te United States of America
S A N: 2 5 4 - 8 8 7 9
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Retoric and incommensurability / edited and introduced by Randy Allen Harris.  p. cm.  Includes bibliograpical references and index.  ISBN 1-932559-49-3 (pbk. : alk. paper) -- ISBN 1-932559-50-7 (ardcover : alk. paper) -- ISBN 1-932559-51-5 (adobe ebook) 1. Science--Metodology. 2. Comparison (Pilosopy) I. Harris, Randy Allen.  Q175.R434 2005  501--dc22  2005010812
Printed on acid-free paper. Cover art:“Tango,” oil on canvas, by Mark Fort, used courtesy of te Artist and Te Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Parlor Press, LLC is an independent publiser of scolarly and trade titles in print and multimedia formats. Tis book is available in paper, clot and Adobe eBook formats from Parlor Press on te World Wide Web at ttp://www.parlorpress.com or troug online and brick-and mortar bookstores. For submission information or to find out about Parlor Press publications, write to Parlor Press, 816 Robinson St., West Lafayette, Indiana, 47906, or e-mail editor@parlorpress.com.
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Incommensurability is a difficulty for pilosopers, not for scientists.
—Paul K. Feyerabend,Farewell to Reason
Properly understood—someting I’ve by no means always managed myself—incommensurability is far from being te treat to rational evaluation of trut claims tat it as fre-quently seemed. —Tomas S. Kun,Te Road since Structure
To divide umanity into irreconcilable groups wit irreconcil-able attitudes, aving no common language of trut and mo-rality, is, ultimately, to rob bot groups of teir umanity. —Stepen Spender,World witin World
No incommensurability [is] absolute —Barbara Herrnstein Smit,Belief and Resistance
Te Englis term ‘incommensurable’ is somewat unfortunate. —Sir Karl Popper,Te Open Society and Its Enemies
Part I: Incommensurability, Rhetoric1 1 Introduction3 Randy Allen Harris 2 Three Biographies: Kuhn, Feyerabend, and Incommensurability150 Paul Hoyningen-Huene
Part II: Issues177 3 Kuhn’s Incommensurability179 Alan G. Gross 4 Incommensurate Boundaries: The Rhetorical Positivism of Thomas Huxley198 Tomas M. Lessl 5 The Rhetoric of Philosophical Incommensurability238 Herbert W. Simons
Part III: Cases269 6 Science and Civil Debate: The Case of Sociobiology271 Lea Ceccarelli
7 Stasis and the Problem of Incommensurate Communication: The Case of Spousal Violence Research294 Lawrence J. Prelli 8 The ‘Anxiety of Influence’—Hermeneutic Rhetoric and the Triumph of Darwin’s Invention over Incommensurability334 Jon Angus Campbell 9 Cell and Membrane: The Rhetorical Strategies of a Marginalized View391 Jeanne Fanestock 10 Measuring Incommensurability: Are Toxicology and Ecotoxicology Blind to What the Other Sees?424 Carles Bazerman and René Agustín De los Santos 11 Novelty and Heresy in the Debate on Nonthermal Effects of Electromagnetic Fields464 Carolyn R. Miller References507 Index553
Witin te compreensibility casm lies te condition of incommensurability. —Carolyn R. Miller, “Retoric and Community” Te incommensurability tesis represents te most profound prob-lem facing retoric—of science, surely, but of any symbolic encounter, any attempt to cooperate, find common ground, get along, make bet-ter knowledge and build better societies. It’s too big and too deep for me. So I invited te smartest, most clear-eyed retoricians I know—of science and of any symbolic encounter—and an equally gifted pi-losoper, to elp me wrestle wit it. Te result is tis book, wic, and-to-my-eart, you will find seriously illuminating about te way scientists and oter value-olders acieve or fail to acieve sared un-derstandings. I would like to tank, first of all, tese brilliant and good-earted professors. Even te customary dog-work of copy editing and proof reading as been a joy on tis project, as I got to read and re-read te paradigms tey crafted, learning someting new on every pass; and watcing tose essays come togeter in te first place was a lesson in scolarly collegiality I ope never to forget. In addition to elp from tese model scolars, I ave been very lucky in te range of support and feedback I ave ad in working troug te problems of incommensurability, starting wit my one unfailing source of insigts and callenges, te students at te University of Wa-terloo. My contact wit nearly all of tem over te course of tis project as been tremendously rewarding, but a small group of tem deserve an extra measure of gratitude for specific elp wit various aspects of tis book: Jim Brookes, Jacqueline Cioreanu, Paul Clifford, Ryan Devitt, Zarsees Diveca, Olga Gladkova, David Hoff, Kim Honey-