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February 22 2012

January 22 2012

Le Verger n°1 (site Cornucopia): Rabelais | Fabula

Le premier numéro du Verger, la revue du site Cornucopia, vient de paraître. Intégralement consacré à Rabelais et plus particulièrement à Gargantua et au Quart Livre, voici les articles qu'il propose :

 

Sommaire du premier bouquet

* INTRODUCTION, par Claire Sicard (U. Paris-Diderot), Adeline Lionetto-Hesters (U. Paris-Sorbonne), Anne Debrosse (U. Paris-Sorbonne) & Aurélia Tamburini (U. Paris-Sorbonne).

 

Section 1 / Gargantua

* Claude La Charité (UQAR - Université du Québec à Rimouski), "Rabelais lecteur de Politien dans le Gargantua".
* Nathalie Hervé (U. Nantes - U. Besançon), "Insertions et inscriptions : une étude métrique des poémes du Gargantua".
* Nancy Frelick (University of British Columbia - Canada), "Gargantua et les leurres du discours alchimique". (à venir)
* Maria Proshina (U. Tours François-Rabelais), "La contribution des régionalismes à l'effet réaliste dans Gargantua".

 

Section 2 / Le Quart Livre

* André Tournon (U. de Provence), "Dérapages ludiques dans le Quart Livre".
* Aya Kajiro (Société japonaise pour la promotion de la science), "Décrire l'invisible dans l'épisode des paroles gelées du Quart Livre".
* Louise Millon (U. Paris-Sorbonne Nouvelle), "Voyage et bêtes curieuses dans le Quart livre".
* Pascale Mounier (U. Lyon 2), "Le pronom relatif 'qui' et ses emplois dans le Quart Livre".
* Nicolas Correard (U. Nantes), "Les « Histoires vraies » du « Lucien français » : de la poétique de l’incredulité au regard moraliste du Quart Livre".

 

Section 3 / Gargantua et le Quart Livre

* Bérengère Basset (U. Toulouse le Mirail), "Les anecdotes plutarquiennes dans l’oeuvre de Rabelais : quelques propositions de lectures".
* Barbara Bowen (Vanderbilt University - Nashville, Tennessee, Etats-Unis), "Women in Rabelais's 'Chronicles'".
* Julien Verger (U. Bordeaux 3), "Réflexion comparatiste sur l'écriture digressive de Rabelais".

 

Section 4 / Ouverture & prolongements

* Aline Strebler (médecin, U. Paris-Descartes) et Adeline Lionetto-Hesters (U. Paris-Sorbonne), "Rabelais médecin dans le Gargantua". (à venir)
* Ivana Velimirac (poète, traductrice, U. Paris-Sorbonne), "Sur Stanislav Vinaver, traducteur de Rabelais ou quand Gargantua et Pantagruel se mettent à parler serbe". (à venir)

 

Articles issus de communications prononcées lors de la matinée d'étude Gargantua à destination des élèves de Terminale L et de leurs professeurs, le 3 décembre 2011 à l'Université Paris-Diderot :

* Franck Bauer (U. Caen), "Rabelais humoriste ?" (sous réserve - à venir)
* Chantal Liaroutzos (U. Paris-Diderot), "Rabelais et le vulgaire". (à venir)
* Claire Sicard (U. Paris-Diderot), "Picrochole au miroir de Charles Quint". (à venir)
* Alice Vintenon (U. Paris-Ouest Nanterre), "Vrais et faux hiéroglyphes dans Gargantua".

Responsable : Numéro dirigé par Claire Sicard, Adeline Lionetto-Hesters, Anne Debrosse et Aurélia Tamburini

 

 

// oAnth - original URL -


January 21 2012

Knowledge naturalized and socialized | understandingsociety.blogspot 2012-01-19

There has been a field of philosophy for quite a long time called "epistemology naturalized." (Here are good articles on naturalized epistemology and evolutionary epistemology in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.) Putting the point simply, the goal of this field is to reconcile two obvious points:
  • Human beings are natural organisms, with cognitive faculties that have resulted from a process of natural selection.  All our beliefs about the world have been created and evaluated using these natural and biologically contingent faculties, generally in social interaction with other knowers.
  • We want to assert that our beliefs about the world are rationally and empirically supportable, and they have a certain probability of being approximately true.
The first point is a truism about the knowledge-producing organism.  The second is an expectation of what we want our beliefs to accomplish in terms of their relationships to the external world.

One of the earliest exponents of naturalized epistemology was W.V.O. Quine in "Epistemology Naturalized", included in Ontological Relativity (1969). Here is a definitive statement of his approach:
Epistemology, or something like it, simply falls into place as a chapter of psychology and hence of natural science. It studies a natural phenomenon, viz., a physical human subject. This human subject is accorded a certain experimentally controlled input -- certain patterns of irradiation in assorted frequencies, for instance -- and in the fullness of time the subject delivers as output a description of the three-dimensional external world and its history. The relation between the meager input and the torrential output is a relation that we are prompted to study for somewhat the same reasons that always prompted epistemology: namely, in order to see how evidence relates to theory, and in what ways one's theory of nature transcends any available evidence...But a conspicuous difference between old epistemology and the epistemological enterprise in this new psychological setting is that we can now make free use of empirical psychology. (82-3)
What are those cognitive faculties that the human organism possesses thanks to our evolutionary history?  Here are several that are important for belief formation.  We have perceptual abilities; we can observe objects and their sensible properties.  We can form concepts that serve to organize our thoughts about the world. We can identify patterns among cognized events.  We can reason deductively and inductively, allowing us to explore the logical relationships among various of our beliefs. We can formulate causal hypotheses about what factors influence what outcomes.  And we can create hypotheses about unobservable structures and properties that are thought to explain and generate the patterns we identify in the sensible world. These capacities presumably have natural histories and, presumably, cognitive gaps. So how can what we know about the human organism's cognitive capacities illuminate the rational warrant of the belief systems that we create?

Experimentation is a key part of belief formation, at least when our beliefs have to do with causation.  We may think that a certain mushroom causes insomnia.  We can design a simple experiment to attempt to test or validate this hypothesis: Identify two representative groups of persons; design a typical diet for everyone; administer the mushroom supplement to the diet of one group and withhold it from the second "control" group; record sleep patterns for both groups.  If there is an average difference in the incidence of insomnia between the two groups, we have prima facie reason to accept the hypothesis. If there is no difference, then we have reason to reject the hypothesis.

So what is the "social" part of knowledge creation?  In what sense does our understanding of knowledge need to be socialized? This is the key question giving rise to the various versions of the sociology of knowledge and science considered in recent posts. It is plain that social influences and social interactions come into virtually every aspect of the "naturalistic" inventory of belief formation offered above. Perception, concept formation, hypothesis formation, theory formation, reasoning, and belief assessment all have social components.The cognitive frameworks that we use, both in everyday perception and learning as well as in specialized scientific research, are socially and culturally informed. This seems to be particularly true in the case of social knowledge, both ordinary and scientific.

So we can add an additional bullet to the two provided at the start about the conditions of knowledge:
  • Belief systems have substantial social underpinnings in the form of division of labor in belief acquisition, socially shared institutions of inquiry, and socially shared (and contested) standards of belief assessment.
Here are a handful of ways in which knowledge is socially conditioned and created:

(1) We form beliefs or interpretations about the motives and reasons for other persons' behavior. These interpretations are formulated in terms of concepts and expectations that are themselves socially specific -- honor, shame, pride, revenge, spite, altruism, love.  And this is an important point: the actor him/herself has internalized some such set of ideas, which in turn influences the behavior.  This means that action is doubly constructed: by the actor and by the interpreter.

(2) We form beliefs about institutions -- the family, the mayor's office, the police department, the presidency. These beliefs are deeply invested in a set of presuppositions and implicatures, which are themselves socially specific.

(3) Knowledge gathering and assessing is inherently social in that it depends on the cooperative and competitive activities of groups of knowledge workers. These may be communities of scientists, theologians, or engineers. Disagreements are inherent in these social groups, and the embodied norms and power relationships that determine which belief systems emerge as "correct" are crucial parts of the knowledge formation process.

(4) We give weight to certain standards of reasoning and we discount other standards of reasoning.  Some of us give credence to magical claims, and we attach some evidentiary weight to statements about magical connections; others disregard magical claims and arguments. These disagreements are culture-specific. (Martin Hollis, ed., Rationality and Relativism, considers a lot of these sorts of questions.)

(5) Standards and definitions of "evidence" and "reason for belief" are socially variable and plastic. Moreover, there is likely to be more variance in these areas in some zones of belief than others. We may find more unanimity about procedures for assessing causal statements about common observable circumstances than about theoretical hypotheses, and even less for assessing beliefs about the likely effects of social policies.

"Naturalizing" and "socializing" knowledge is important because it allows us to investigate the concrete processes and practices through which human beings arrive at beliefs about the world.  The continuing challenge that the philosophy of science raises is the epistemic one: how can we evaluate the rational force of the beliefs and modes of reasoning that are documented through these empirical investigations of the knowledge enterprise?
Reposted from02myhumsci-01 02myhumsci-01

#Serres - from The Origin of Geometry

What we have left of all this history presents nothing but two languages as such, narratives or legends and proofs or figures, words and formulas. Thus it is as if we were confronted by two parallel lines which, as is well known, never meet. The origin constantly recedes, inaccessible, irretrievable. The problem is open.

I have tried to resolve this question three times. First, by immersing it in the technology of communications. When two speakers have a dialogue or a dispute, the channel that connects them must be drawn by a diagram with four poles, a complete square equipped with its two diagonals. However loud or irreconcilable their quarrel, however calm or tranquil their agreement, they are linked, in fact, twice: they need, first of all, a certain intersection of their repertoires, without which they would remain strangers; they then band together against the noise which blocks the communication channel. These two conditions are necessary to the diaIogue, though not sufficient. Consequently, the two speakers have a common interest in excluding a third man and including a fourth, both of whom are prosopopoeias of the,powers of noise or of the instance of intersection.(1) <#1>Now this schema functions in exactly this manner in Plato’s /Dialogues/, as can easily be shown, through the play of people and their naming, /their resemblances and differences/, their mimetic preoccupations and the dynamics of their violence. Now then, and above all, the mathematical sites, from the /Meno /through the /Timaeus/, by way of the /Statesman /and others, are all reducible geometrically to this diagram. Whence the origin appears, we pass from one language to another, the language said to be natural presupposes a dialectical schema, and this schema, drawn or written in the sand, as such, is the first of the geometric idealities. Mathematics presents itself as a successful dialogue or a communication which rigorously dominates its repertoire and is maximally purged of noise. Of course, it is not that simple. The irrational and the unspeakable lie in the details; listening always requires collating; there is always a leftover or a residue, indefinitely. But then, the schema remains open, and history possible. The philosophy of Plato, in its presentation and its models, is therefore inaugural, or better yet, it seizes the inaugural moment.

// oAnth - original URL at driftwork.tumblr

Reposted from02myhumsci-01 02myhumsci-01

Quotes from #Ranciere

“as the opposite of the passive spectacle in the texts of Guy Debord….”

“the concept of the spectacle implies that images are no longer doubles of things but. but the things themselves,  the reality of a world in which things and images are no longer able to be distinguished. Whenever the  the image no longer stands opposite the thing, form and image  become indistinguishable from one another….”

I was initially intending something rather different, more akin to a rejection of Ranciere’s understanding of art and the media, but when looking at the work again it became obvious that the real problem remains that he is thinking of the spectacle solely in terms of that moment in the 1960s when the Hegalo-Marxist spectacle was understood in terms of images, false consciousness and mass consumption. In a sense whilst that precise moment may haunt Ranciere’s perspective, it is also evidence of how static his work appears to a contemporary non-academic reader. In a mass consumptive network society Ranciere’s focus on the image avoids the necessary extension of the spectacle into language, data, the network society and beyond. In a few years unless checked it will be reaching down into genetics and up into the clouds.


“Guy Debord’s critique of entertainment as spectacle, meaning the triumph of alienated life; the identification of entertainment with the Debordian concept of play as the antidote to appearance….”

Entertainment of course references the ongoing triumph of alienated life. Art does not manage anything better. But let’s be clear that passivity as Ranciere references it exists where readings and theories of the media are not placed within the spectacle.



// oAnth - original URL at driftwork.tumblr

Reposted from02myhumsci-01 02myhumsci-01

Powers of Ten Perspective on SOPA

The IBM Powers of Ten video is a classic: as the stolid narrator ticks off powers of ten, the camera pulls back or zooms in and a new layer of complexity is revealed. We need a Powers of Ten video for SOPA.

At the initial scale, Hollywood lobbyists convinced Congress to push a bill through that would give Hollywood a measure of control over Internet sites by facilitating DNS takedowns, placing liability on site operators, and generally placing restrictions on Internet businesses designed to benefit existing content distributors. The depressingly smooth passage of the bill meant serious measures were called for: the blackout day. On that day, tens of millions of people became alerted to the consequences of SOPA and wrote to their representatives. SOPA has stalled, possibly died. And there was rejoicing.

But step out a power of ten and you see SOPA was just the latest in a series of legislative manipulations by existing media companies to benefit their coffers. Whether it's extending the term of copyright, criminalizing the circumvention of DRM, or trying to ban repeat-downloaders from the Internet, these media companies are powerful and use their power to extend their profits. Sometimes they even exploit their access to the user to perpetuate their cause, for example by putting unskippable pre-roll anti-piracy messages on every legitimately-purchased DVD. There's no indication that a victory over SOPA means there won't be a SOPA 2.0 in six months time.

Step back further and you see that Internet companies have set themselves up as new distribution channels while the old distribution companies were napping. Amazon can take an author's book and put it in consumers hands without ever involving a publisher, and Apple are following suit. Amazon, Apple, and Google all distribute movies. The legacy distribution companies are owned by the content production companies, and their "save our business" message muddles whether it's content production or legacy distribution that's threatened by these new Internet companies. Congress put their legislative thumb on the scales in a business dispute: old money vs new money, incumbent rent extractor vs upstart.

Step back further and you see that Congress thumbs the scales all the time. Between the money that can be earned from corporations and unions as a lobbyist after leaving Congress, and the money needed to run a campaign to be elected in the first place, there are a lot of reasons for Congressional representatives to be receptive to advances from monied interests. This means their legislative attention is not on the good of society or even the majority, but for the good of those willing to spend money to buy it. This is the big picture view, the root of the problem.

Congress is a flea pit. We can crack the fleas one at a time as they bite us, or we can clean house. I see widespread jubilation on the success of the SOPA skirmish, but only one or two people thinking and talking about how we win the war. We win when we end this stream of Internet-breaking bills, and that will only happen when Congressional election campaigns are no longer paid for by monied interests. An independent Congress will still listen to business and unions, it just won't have to roll over and beg when money whistles.

This is, obviously, a bigger problem to solve. Lessig has called it a "generational" problem: pernicious money will take 30 years to eradicate, so we may end up cleaning up the country for our children. The size of the change doesn't make it impossible. It's a strategy problem, like every other: spend time and money at every power of ten, more where it's urgent and important, investing in R&D where a way forward isn't immediately obvious.

What does it mean to attack it at every power of ten? Simply:

  1. Fight SOPA when it's urgent. Well done, immediate crisis is over!
  2. Prepare to fight SOPA 2.0 and TPP and ACTA 2.0 and .... Until we fix Congress, there'll be more attempts to provide welfare for legacy distributors. Blackouts won't work. Get the holdouts (Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, etc.) to join in a sustainable coalition to oppose future fuckery. Obama's election was made possible by incredible tools for mobilizing voters; we need similarly evolved tools. Invest a little now so we don't have a cold start when the next bad bill comes along.
  3. Buy online. Be the change you want to see: use your wallet to feed the companies you want to succeed, don't spend with the ones who want to break your Internet. Low-priority but ongoing.
  4. Buy and read Lessig's new book Republic, Lost. He was ahead of the curve when he alerted us to problems with copyright law, and he's been ahead of the curve in his identification of corruption as an issue. This is research.
  5. Join rootstrikers or any other group working to eliminate the root cause of Internet-breaking legislation: corruption. At election time, give them money instead of making campaign donations.
  6. Invent the next thing we can all do which will bring us closer to change.

You'll notice I don't have "get Internet giants to lobby Congress" on my list. I'm sure they'll do that already, but I don't believe you can fight this fire with fire. They may need to lobby tactically, but strategically you fight fire by taking away its fuel or oxygen and that means taking obligation-creating campaign donations away from Congress.

If we don't do this, we'll keep scratching and crushing the fleas one at a time until we're miserable from all the bites. We need to zoom out a few powers of ten and clean house to solve the underlying problem.

Reposted bydatenwolf datenwolf
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