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ADRIAN BLAU - UNCERTAINTY AND THE HISTORY OF IDEAS | JSTOR - History and Theory (Oct 2011)
History and Theory, Vol. 50, No. 3 (October 2011), pp. 358-372 -- Intellectual historians often make empirical claims, but can never know for certain if these claims are right. Uncertainty is thus inevitable for intellectual historians. But accepting uncertainty is not enough: we should also act on it, by trying to reduce and report it. We can reduce uncertainty by amassing valid data from different sources to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of competing explanations, rather than trying to "prove" an empirical claim by looking for evidence that fits it. Then we should report our degree of certainty in our claims. When we answer empirical questions in intellectual history, we are not telling our readers what happened: we are telling them how strong we think our evidence is—a crucial shift of emphasis. For intellectual historians, then, uncertainty is subjective, as discussed by Keynes and Collingwood; the paper thus explores three differences between subjective and objective uncertainty. Having outlined the theoretical basis of uncertainty, the paper then offers examples from actual research: Noel Malcolm's work shows how to reduce and report uncertainty about composition, and David Wootton's work shows how to reduce and report uncertainty about beliefs. -- VERY Anti Straussian based on extensive bibliography -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  historiography  intellectual_history-distorted  philosophy_of_history  hermeneutics  hermeneutics_of_suspicion  Strauss  Straussians  epistemology-history  evidence  coherence  uncertainty  Keynes  Keynes-uncertainty  Collingwood  objectivity  positivism  post-foundational  Cambridge_School  author_intention  reception  audience  bibliography  downloaded 
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Elena Russo: Slander and Glory in the Republic of Letters: Diderot and Seneca Confront Rousseau | Republics of Letters: A Journal for the Study of Knowledge, Politics, and the Arts
Citation: Russo, Elena. “Slander and Glory in the Republic of Letters: Diderot and Seneca Confront Rousseau.” Republics of Letters: A Journal for the Study of Knowledge, Politics, and the Arts 1, no. 1 (May 1, 2009): http://rofl.stanford.edu/node/40. -- in " Rethinking the Republic of Letters" issue -- downloaded pdf to Note -- Diderot’s earlier optimism vis-à-vis his status in the Republic of Letters and his role as a public intellectual gave way to a profound identity crisis like the one that gripped his former friend Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his final years, documented in Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques. By engaging both personally and by proxy in a battle against past and present enemies, Diderot forced himself to confront his own death and legacy, which he no longer imagined to be eulogies and loving praise, as he had in the letter to Falconet, but rather biased judgments of indifferent by-standers and prejudiced readers. In facing his eventual solitude as a writer, however, Diderot found comfort not among his contemporaries, but in the revived memory of the Republic of Letters’ classical past: in his newly discovered affinity for Seneca and in the embrace of his new role as Seneca’s advocate, faithful son, and alter ego.
article  intellectual_history  cultural_history  18thC  France  French_Enlightenment  philosophes  intelligentsia  status  fame  reputation  authenticity  libel  audience  Republic_of_Letters  sociability  alienation  Diderot  Rousseau  Seneca  Stoicism  downloaded  EF-add 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
Sylvain Menant: La rhétorique dans le Portatif [Dictionnaire Philosophique de Voltaire] (1995)
JSTOR: Revue d'Histoire littéraire de la France, 95e Année, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 1995), pp. 177-186 -- downloaded pdf to Note -- Contrairement à ce que laisse attendre son titre, le Dictionnaire philosophique portatif de Voltaire foisonne des figures les plus recherchées, empruntées à l'enseignement de la rhétorique tel qu'il était pratiqué dans les collèges de la Compagnie de Jésus dans la jeunesse de l'auteur. Cette rhétorique d'inspiration baroque reflète des conceptions précartésiennes; privilégiant l' élocution et les figures de pensée, fondée sur la variation, l'ornement, la surprise, elle vise moins à démontrer qu'à convaincre.
article  jstor  French_lit  rhetoric  18thC  French_Enlightenment  Voltaire  reading  audience  moral_philosophy  Cartesian  downloaded  EF-add 
september 2013 by dunnettreader

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