Friday, May 29, 2015

§3

[§2 here.]

In this paper, I combine philosophical, rhetorical, and historical epistemologies to show that scholarly knowledge amounts to the ability to compose coherent prose paragraphs. I base my argument on a decade of experience working as a writing coach for researchers, primarily in the social sciences, where I have developed an approach that helps scholars establish reliable writing moments in the familiar hustle and bustle of a modern research career. Notwithstanding the often "postmodern conditions", scholarship remains the formation of justified, true beliefs, about which one can converse intelligently with other knowledgeable people, and each of which can be written down in a paragraph of at least six sentences and at most two-hundred words that support a well-defined claim. I argue that a competent scholar can compose such a paragraph in under half an hour and that a competently written scholarly prose paragraph can be read by a competent peer in about one minute. I do not wish to imply that any of this is "easy", but I will insist that this ability to represent known facts in writing is the very essence of scholarship. It lies at the heart of a researcher's intellectual responsibilities.

(196 words)

[§4 here.]

_________
[Note: this post is part of an ongoing project described here. I'll be offering some meta-reflections on this project over at Jonathan Mayhew's blog, Stupid Motivational Tricks.]

4 comments:

Haitham Jafar said...

"ability to represent known facts in writing is the very essence of scholarship" I liked this line a lot

Thomas said...

Thanks, Haitham. It was the unexpected outcome of a struggle with that sentence.

Presskorn said...

Suggestion - Revise the following sentence: "I base my argument on a decade of experience working as a writing coach for researchers, primarily in the social sciences, where I have developed an approach that helps scholars establish reliable writing moments in the familiar hustle and bustle of a modern research career."... In rhetorical terms, that setence is driven by "ethos" rather than "logos", and in Popperian terms, it belongs to the "context of discovery" rather than to the "context of justification".

I.e. it is not really a justification, which is curious given the claim of this paragraph. It does mention an "argument", but the phrase "my argument" is anaforic referent without an antecendent - which argument? The anaforic problem, however, could be solved by moving it to end of paragraph. If moved to the end, it still wouldn't be a justication, but it would qualify the argument: It would to tell the reader: I know I've just told you that this paper is about "philosophical, rhetorical, and historical epistemologies", but I am going to approach this abstract theme from a "hands on"-perspective.

Thomas said...

The sentence you mention is supposed to introduce the "methods" section of the paper, which in turn, is supposed to establish trust in the reader's mind about the basis of my argument. In an important sense, methodology is all about the ethos of the researcher. In this case, it's also a way of being honest about the limitations of my "study", which also a properly methodological issue. When we get to this section, after the theory section, you'll see that it will describe my work as a professional coach, in order to make my experience with writing a reason (logos, if you will, in that sense) to accept my conclusions.