Revolution, Rupture, Rhetoric

Chris Fleming, John O'Carroll

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This article traces certain rhetorics of knowledge-change as well as a few models of such change. Inparticular, it focuses on models that emphasize novelty and sudden transformation. To this end,the works of Thomas Kuhn, and the debates surrounding his celebrated modeling of the paradigm,are explored. Having established ' at least in an illustrative fashion ' the role of novelty in Kuhn'sphilosophy of science, we then look more briefly at the mid-career work of Michel Foucault (hisOrder of Things and the Archaeology of Knowledge), and the debate between Ju¨rgen Habermas andJean-Franc¸ois Lyotard to find (in Foucault's case) analogies with the earlier models and debatessurrounding Popper and Kuhn, and then (in the Habermas/Lyotard discussion), to see how revolutionaryand reactionary status count in assigning value to models of knowledge. In all these inquiries,we seek less to criticize particular theorists (that has already been done) than to understand adominant strand of understanding of knowledge and knowledge-change in the contemporaryacademy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-57
Number of pages19
JournalPhilosophy and Social Criticism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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