Who will determine which channels or data are forbidden? The State? Or will the State simply be one user among others? Transformation in the nature of knowledge, then, could well have repercussions on the existing public powers, forcing them to reconsider their relations both de jure and de facto with the large corporations and, more generally, with civil society. The reopening of the world market, a return to vigorous economic competition, the breakdown of the hegemony of American capitalism, the decline of the socialist alternative, a probable opening of the Chinese market these and many other factors are already, at the end of the s, preparing States for a serious reappraisal of the role they have been accustomed to playing since the s: that of, guiding, or even directing investments.
If this were the case, communicational transparency would be similar to liberalism. Liberalism does not preclude an organisation of the flow of money in which some channels are used in decision making while others are only good for the payment of debts. That is the working hypothesis defining the field within which I intend to consider the question of the status of knowledge. What is required of a working hypothesis is a fine capacity for discrimination.
The scenario of the computerisation of the most highly developed societies allows us to spotlight though with the risk of excessive magnification certain aspects of the transformation of knowledge and its effects on public power and civil institutions — effects it would be difficult to perceive from other points of view. Our hypotheses, therefore, should not be accorded predictive value in relation to reality, but strategic value in relation to the question raised.
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Nevertheless, it has strong credibility, and in that sense our choice of this hypothesis is not arbitrary. It has been described extensively by the experts and is already guiding certain decisions by the governmental agencies and private firms most directly concerned, such as those managing the telecommunications industry. To some extent, then, it is already a part of observable reality. This is as much as to say that the hypothesis is banal. But only to the extent that it fails to challenge the general paradigm of progress in science and technology, to which economic growth and the expansion of sociopolitical power seem to be natural complements.
That scientific and technical knowledge is cumulative is never questioned. At most, what is debated is the form that accumulation takes — some picture it as regular, continuous, and unanimous, others as periodic, discontinuous, and conflictual. But these truisms are fallacious. In the first place, scientific knowledge does not represent the totality of knowledge; it has always existed in addition to, and in competition and conflict with, another kind of knowledge, which I will call narrative in the interests of simplicity its characteristics will be described later.
The resulting demoralisation of researchers and teachers is far from negligible; it is well known that during the s, in all of the most highly developed societies, it reached such explosive dimensions among those preparing to practice these professions — the students — that there was noticeable decrease in productivity at laboratories and universities unable to protect themselves from its contamination. Expecting this, with hope or fear, to lead to a revolution as was then often the case is out of the question: it will not change the order of things in postindustrial society overnight.
But this doubt on the part of scientists must be taken into account as a major factor in evaluating the present and future status of scientific knowledge. I use the word in a broader sense than do contemporary German theorists in their discussions of the question of authority. Take any civil law as an example: it states that a given category of citizens must perform a specific kind of action. Legitimation is the process by which a legislator is authorised to promulgate such a law as a norm. Now take the example of a scientific statement: it is subject to the rule that a statement must fulfil a given set of conditions in order to be accepted as scientific.
The parallel may appear forced. But as we will see, it is not. The question of the legitimacy of science has been indissociably linked to that of the legitimation of the legislator since the time of Plato. From this point of view, the right to decide what is true is not independent of the right to decide what is just, even if the statements consigned to these two authorities differ in nature. When we examine the current status of scientific knowledge at a time when science seems more completely subordinated to the prevailing powers than ever before and, along with the new technologies, is in danger of becoming a major stake in their conflicts — the question of double legitimation, far from receding into the background, necessarily comes to the fore.
For it appears in its most complete form, that of reversion, revealing that knowledge and power are simply two sides of the same question: who decides what knowledge is, and who knows what needs to be decided? In the computer age, the question of knowledge is now more than ever a question of government. The reader will already have noticed that in analysing this problem within the framework set forth I have favoured a certain procedure: emphasising facts of language and in particular their pragmatic aspect.
To help clarify what follows it would be useful to summarise, however briefly, what is meant here by the term pragmatic.
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Of course, the meaning of the utterance has to be understood, but that is a general condition of communication and does not aid us in distinguishing the different kinds of utterances or their specific effects. The university is open because it has been declared open in the above-mentioned circumstances.
That this is so is not subject to discussion or verification on the part of the addressee, who is immediately placed within the new context created by the utterance. Actually, we could say it the other way around: the sender is dean or rector that is, he is invested with the authority to make this kind of statement — only insofar as he can directly affect both the referent, the university and the addressee the university staff in the manner I have indicated. They can be modulated as orders, commands, instructions, recommendations, requests, prayers, pleas, etc. Here, the sender is clearly placed in a position of authority, using the term broadly including the authority of a sinner over a god who claims to be merciful : that is, he expects the addressee to perform the action referred to.
The pragmatics of prescription entail concomitant changes in the posts of addressee and referent. Of a different order again is the efficiency of a question, a promise, a literary description, a narration, etc. I am summarising. Wittgenstein, taking up the study of language again from scratch, focuses his attention on the effects of different modes of discourse; he calls the various types of utterances he identifies along the way a few of which I have listed language games.
What he means by this term is that each of the various categories of utterance can be defined in terms of rules specifying their properties and the uses to which they can be put — in exactly the same way as the game of chess is defined by a set of rules determining the properties of each of the pieces, in other words, the proper way to move them. It is useful to make the following three observations about language games.
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The first is that their rules do not carry within themselves their own legitimation, but are the object of a contract, explicit or not, between players which is not to say that the players invent the rules. This last observation brings us to the first principle underlying our method as a whole: to speak is to fight, in the sense of playing, and speech acts fall within the domain of a general agonistics.
This does not necessarily mean that one plays in order to win. Quiz la puscarie. Arma secreta. Pis'mo cin'ori direktori. Creatsiunea Creatiunea. Haina vrajita.
grand narrative - Großerzählung
Zakoldavannyy karman. Vanatori de batrani. Tol'ko bystree. V lifte. Prabusirea Sfantului. Cei doi soferi Cei doi shoferi. Cocoasele din gradina Cocoashele din gradina. Povestioare de seara. Acceleratiile Acceleratsiile. Bal'nyy tualet. For example, the grand narratives of the Enlightenment, democracy, and Marxism.
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