COM690/400: Study Guide Questions
1. What are Aristotle’s three genres of rhetoric and what kinds of writing in the discourse of scientists do they pick out?
2. What are the five general types of statement in science that Casper uses in his study of Nobel lectures?
3. What does it mean to say that something is "stated with modalities?"
4. What are the four types of question that classical stasis theory identifies in any argument?
5. How do classical stases apply in analyzing scientific discourse?
6. At what point in his analysis does Casper identify scientific discourse that describes "science as it is actually performed?"
7. As a result of his analysis of Nobel lectures what characteristics does Casper attribute to epideictic scientific discourse?
8. What was the nature of the audience for the Nobel lectures that Casper analyzed?
Your turn: Select one Nobel Lecture from the collections in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology, or Medicine, and find two or three examples in which the speaker describes his or her research in terms "more likely than the research reports to discuss science as it is actually performed, with the stops and starts and pitfalls." Be prepared to speak about them in class.
1. What exactly is the inductive process in science?
2. On what basis does Gross argue: "[The experimental report is] an a posteriori rationalization of the real process?"
3. What is the arrangement of ideas in an experimental report?
4. What is the place of replication in an experimental report?
5. What is meant by exclusion and concomitance in an experiment?
6. How does the process of induction in an experimental report correct the inadequacies of speculation?
7. What does Gross mean when he states: "[I]f the authors of reports have succeeded, their assertions have attained the status of facts and can be separated from laboratory events?"
8. What is mythical about inductive science?
9. What exactly is the deductive process in science?
10. Why, according to Gross, have the scientific attempts to test a prediction been problematic?
11. What is the purpose of myths in scientific research papers?
Your turn: Find a published experimental report in a research journal of your choice, and locate an instance of both inductive and deductive processes. Be prepared to speak about them in class.
1. Why has Jack selected Robert
Hooke’s Micrographia for analysis?
2. What does Jack mean by
“a pedagogy of sight?”
3. What was Hooke’s
rhetorical context for his Micrographia?
4. What does Jack mean by
the term “virtual witnesses?”
5. What did Hooke have to
overcome regarding the public acceptance of microscopy?
6. What is the rhetorical
figure of enargia?
7. What does Jack mean by
the phrase “a rhetoric of embodiment?”
8. What was the mechanical
philosophy that informed Hooke’s pedagogy of sight?
9. According to Jack, how
did Hooke assure his readers that his new scientific worldview did not conflict
with their religious worldview?
10. How did Hooke make microscopy
seem like an aesthetic pursuit?
11. Why does Jack think that Hooke’s Micrographia served to perpetuate the class relations of his day?
Your turn: Find an example of visual representations in a piece of science communciation, and point out instances of pedagogies of sight. Be prepared to speak about them in class.
1. What does it mean to examine arguments “through the lens of dialogic exchange rather than logical form?”
2. What does it mean to say, “Arguments occur ‘within’ and ‘between’ (or ‘among’) spheres or dialogues?”
3. What are ad hominem arguments?
4. What are the differences between inquiry and deliberation?
5. What does Jackson find
troubling about the uses of the terms inquiry and deliberation?
6. What relationship between
eugenic science and social policy does Jackson point to in RDI research?
7. In what ways is the Pioneer
Fund “as much a pamphleteer as a source or support for scientists?”
8. What does Jackson mean
when he says the natural sciences concern "indifferent kinds" but
the human sciences examine "interactive kinds?"
9. How can inquiry be a deliberative
10. From his analysis of the case of the Pioneer Fund, what does Jackson conclude about spatial metaphors for analyzing arguments?
Your turn: Use the Science Citation Index Expanded (ISI) in Hagerty Library's databases to search for the name "Pioneer Fund" in the field "Funding Agency." Examine the research papers that appear, and see whether you can find any indications of deliberative arguments for social policies. Be prepared to speak about them in class.
1. What does Jordan mean by the statement, “[T]he human body is arguably the most fluctuating signifier in the history of cultural expression?”
2. What are the three rhetorical phenomena around the body’s plasticity that Jordan explores?
3. How does Jordan justify a “rhetorical analysis of plastic surgery discourse?”
4. In what sense can discourse about plastic surgery be regarded as deliberative?
5. According to Jordan in what ways do surgeons both promote and police plastic surgery?
6. What does Jordan mean by the “confessional rhetorical style” of an applicant for plastic surgery?
7. What is the three-step “argument for scalpel psychiatry” that Jordan identifies?
8. What group of applicants for plastic surgery through their discourse challenge the conventional “argument for scalpel psychiatry?”
9. What kind of arguments do wannabes advance for plastic surgery?
10. What vulnerabilities does Jordan identify in the arguments of wannabes?
11. How do physicians respond to the arguments of wannabes?
12. What does Jordan conclude from her analysis of the responses to the arguments of wannabes?
Your turn: Locate some examples of discourse about plastic surgery, and examine them for any indications of the “argument for scalpel psychiatry” that Jordan identifies. Be prepared to speak about them in class.
1. Why is the biography of penicillin such an important story?
2. How do Jorgensen and Jorgensen-Earp
compare scientists to explorers?
3. In what way is it reasonable
to refer to the provenance of a scientific discovery?
4. What makes the provenance
of the discovery of penicillin blurry?
5. In what ways are the accounts
of scientific discoveries “clean, compacted, well-formed stories?”
6. What two narrative tactics
did Florey use to tell his story about the discovery of penicillin?
7. What three primary themes
dominate Fleming's story about the discovery of penicillin?
8. How do the stories about the discovery of penicillin relate to the larger stories about scientific discovery and about world history?
Your turn: Find a popular account of a recent scientific discovery, and point out ways in which it appears to be a "clean, compacted, well-formed story." Be prepared to speak about them in class.
1. What theory of communication
does Koerber use for their analysis?
2. What are Koerber’s
3. What is the particular
rhetorical situation that Koerber examines?
4. What are the characteristics
of Habermas’s ideal of communicative action?
5. What is Habermas’s
criterion of comprehensibility?
6. What is Habermas’s
criterion of truth?
7. What is Habermas’s
criterion of truthfulness/sincerity?
8. What does Habermas mean
by the term performative attitude?
9. What is Habermas’s
criterion of rightness/ appropriateness?
10. If it cannot be achieved,
of what use is Habermas’s ideal of communicative action?
11. How does Koerber assess
the comprehensibility of the New England Journal of Medicine study?
12. How does Koerber assess
the truth of the New England Journal of Medicine study?
13. How does Koerber assess
the truthfulness/sincerity of the New England Journal of Medicine study?
14. How does Koerber assess
the rightness/appropriateness of the New England Journal of Medicine
15. Based on their Habermasian analysis, what does Koerber conclude about medical researchers’ ethical obligations when they engage in communication with news media?
Your turn: Search the Science Citation Index Expanded (ISI) in Hagerty Library's databases for the key words retraction or erratum in the field "Topic" to locate a research report that has been retracted, corrected, or at least has generated some controversey. Examine the research papers that appear, and see whether you can identify any violations of criteria for Habermas’s ideal of communicative action. Be prepared to speak about them in class.
1. What do feminist critics add to the field of rhetorical criticism?
2. What is Lippincott’s research question?
3. What are Lippincott’s
objects of analysis?
4. What are some of the characteristics
of a feminine style that Lippincott describes?
5. How did Richards establish
membership within the scientific audience?
6. How did Richards invoke
authorities acceptable to the scientific audience?
7. How did Richards create
and suppress presence for the scientific audience?
8. How did Richards establish
membership within the philanthropic audience?
9. How did Richards invoke
authorities acceptable to the philanthropic audience?
10. How did Richards create and suppress presence for the philanthropic audience?
Your turn: Search your collection of scientific discourse, and set aside any whose primary author is female. Examine these texts and see whether they exhibit any of the characteristics of a feminine style that Lippincott describes. Be prepared to speak about them in class.
1. What is deliberative rhetoric and how does Sovacool distinguish between public and technical rhetoric?
2. What criticisms of scientific rhetoric does Sovacool recount?
3. What kind of rhetoric does Sovacool examine?
4. What kinds of document did Sovacool examine?
5. What are topoi?
6. What is a personal sphere of argument?
7. What is a technical sphere of argument?
8. What is a public sphere of argument?
9. Why, according to Sovacool, is the public sphere "of the utmost importance to democracy?"
10. What types of argument did Sovacool discover in the rhetoric of the technical sphere?
11. What types of argument did Sovacool discover in the rhetoric of the public sphere?
Find your own, more current, examples of discourse in some public
controversy over environmental concerns. Compare the technical versus public arguments in the debate as Sovacool did. Be prepared to speak about them in class.
1. What does Wander mean by the assertion, "[R]eality is a human construct."
2. What are two areas within science amenable to rhetorical investigation?
3. What are two important scientific aspects of public deliberation?
4. What are some particularly important topics in public deliberation in which science drives the debate?
5. What are the archetypal speaking situations for scientists and their archetypal forms of discourse?
6. How does it make sense to talk about a rhetoric of scientific grant proposals?
7. What does Wander mean by "a factual rhetoric of empiricism?"
8. What does Wander mean by "a pedigree rhetoric of underground references?"
9. What are the two views of rhetoric from antiquity that can inform a rhetorical investigation of scientific discourse today?
10. How is the ethos of scientists crucial to their success as scientists?
11. What possibilities for rhetorical study of science does Wander recommend?
12. Why does Wander think more research is needed in the rhetoric of science?
Your turn: Select a scientific field, and begin to browse the various "archetypal forms of discourse" that Wander speaks of. Find 4 or 5 examples of different forms, and identify some of the aspects that Wander describes (e.g., ethos, a factual rhetoric of empiricism, a pedigree rhetoric of underground references). Be prepared to speak about them in class.