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.
Friday, May 29, 2015