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Revisiting Style in Literary and Cultural Studies

Interdisciplinary Articulations

Edited By Jasmin Herrmann, Moritz Ingwersen, Björn Sonnenberg-Schrank and Olga Ludmila Tarapata

The collected volume brings together leading scholars from a broad range of disciplines in the humanities to interrogate the productivity of style as an element of cultural expression and a parameter of cultural analysis. Despite its ubiquity in examinations of artistic singularity or postulations of epochal patterns, style remains a notoriously elusive concept. Suspicious of monolithic definitions, the contributions assembled in this volume address style from a multiplicity of methodological and conceptual angles, drawing from fields that include literary studies, film and media studies, post-structuralist philosophy, philosophy of science, and American cultural studies.

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6 Styles of Practice in Philosophy and Mathematical Science

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Abstract: This paper is an exploration of style in philosophy, mathematics, and the mathematical sciences. It moves from A. C. Crombie’s styles of scientific thinking, to Ian Hacking’s styles of reasoning, to my own preferred notion of styles of practice, and finally, to Gilles Deleuze’s images of thought. Following Ian Hacking’s analysis of styles of reasoning in Historical Ontology and his articulation of criteria for the appearance of a style of reasoning, I turn to modern physics to informally illustrate the notion of a theoretical practice that exhibits most of the features required by Hacking for a style of reasoning. I place emphasis on the appearance, within a style of practice or a theoretical practice, of a class of propositions that are “up for grabs” as either “true” or “false.” From here I move to Gilles Deleuze’s critique of the idea that sense is the ground for truth. I argue that this understanding of philosophical and mathematical practice both justifies our use of the style metaphor and provides an argument to reject Alain Badiou’s defence of his Grand Style.

Keywords: styles of thinking, styles of reasoning, historical ontology, communities of practice, invariance, theoretical determinateness, Crombie, Hacking, Deleuze

Introduction

Although the notion of style originates in the context of artistic practices, there is a widespread use of the notion in philosophical and scientific writing. Perhaps the most notable and sustained use of style in reflections on (the history of) science is the three-volume...

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