The meta-disciplinary rhetoric of metabiology : reconsidering the role of disciplinarity in rhetorical stagings of scientific controversies

Date

2018-12

Authors

Heermans, Andrew Jacob

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Abstract

This project interrogates how scholars in the rhetoric of science understand and stage controversies within scientific discourse communities. In the paper, I argue that scholarship in the rhetoric of science does not offer a consistent theoretical framework for addressing disciplinary interactions that take rhetorical advantage of extant connections between disparate fields/disciplines to render one discipline in terms of another at the ontological or essential level. By offering an extended rhetorical analysis of one such case, Gregory Chaitin’s “Metabiology”, I argue that this kind of disciplinary interaction has significant rhetorical import for scholars addressing scientific conversations and the controversies that unfold, but are also at work within the scientific pre-stagings themselves. Distinguishing between intra-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and finally meta-disciplinary stagings of scientific controversies within rhetoric of science literature, this paper offers a provisional heuristic that aims to refine how scholars in rhetoric approach scientific controversies as being already-scientifically distinct from other controversies, yet somehow explanatorily amenable to rhetorical analysis. Recent scholarship has indicated that this is a broadly unaccounted for duplicity within the extant rhetoric of science literature’s and my paper argues that Chaitin’s project of Metabiology offers an honest animation of a post-incommensurability rhetoric that, perhaps through theoretical and methodological projections of inter-disciplinarity as an end in itself, results in a disciplinary hierarchy that does more rhetorical violence than intra- or inter-disciplinary frameworks would let on

Department

Description

LCSH Subject Headings

Citation