final paper

January 6, 2007

This blog was used as a place to store notes about reading as I did them during the first part of the semester.  The second half of the semester focused primarily on writing a paper.  The final paper is here.  I still think of it as in rough form, but a foundation from which to build further work, later.


Lakoff, George. Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

I want to pull this book into the mix because classification and categorization is exactly what librarians do. How do these categories impact our understanding of knowledge and truth? Lakoff’s book is long and detailed, and he rails against objectivist perpectives. Yet, it’s facinating and useful for library and information thinkers to have this worldview as another tool in their kit. Early on in my MLIS program, I wrote a paper on postmodern criticisms of classification, so I probably won’t take that angle for this paper, but this would be a useful book if I come around to the topic again.

Searle, John R. The Construction of Social Reality. New York: Free Press, 1995.

Searle is an important member of the philosophical community, and this book is an interesting one. In this text, Searle confronts postmodernism arguing for a objective reality. He argues for realism at the end of the text. This is a book that I will need to read in detail if I choose to approach the project from a postmodern angle.

book: the postmodern condition

September 18, 2006

Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge.  Trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Theory and History of Literature. Eds. Wlad Godzich and Jochen Schulte-Sasse. Vol. 10. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.
This classic is another book that I need to make time to read. I’m not sure it’ll directly relate to my project, but I plan on taking it on my vacation just-in-case. Lyotard argues that we are living in a postmodernist age. In this time, there is an “incredulity towards meta-narratives.” In postmodern though, these grand narratives are too broad to contain everyone, and lose the details. Postmodernists are aware of difference and diversity and realize that these cannot be contained in meta-narratives. What are the implications for online behavior? (Particularly given Turkle’s windows)

Becher, Tony, and Paul R. Trowler. Academic Tribes and Territories: Intellectual Enquiry and the Culture of Disciplines. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press, 1996.
This book discusses how academics perceive themselves and disciplines. It also explores how the academic cultures and nature of disciplines are interconnected. The text covers areas from disciplines, overlaps and speciality, community, communication, career paths, wider context, and implications for practice. This book will be useful to my project if I choose to focus on interdisciplinary issues.

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolution. 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

This classic book grounds science in a social, temporal context. Kuhn suggest that some ideas are only available at certain times, that strategies that are available now weren’t always available, and, ultimately, science is a function of social contexts. Tangentially related to my interests in social epistemology in LIS, this text does discuss knowledge as a social phenomenon.

Baggini, Julian, and Peter S. Fosl. The Philosopher’s Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods.  Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing 2003.

I picked this book up in Borders over the weekend because it was the most thorough handbook I’ve seen on philosophical tools for argumentation. The book is fairly technical, covering “basic tools” such as deduction, validity, and tautologies to “tools at the limit” including Godel, impossibility, and underdetermination. This book seems to cover all the bits and pieces that went into my BA in philosophy, just in one handy volume. I plan to read it in depth over my vacation, to get a grounding in argumentation again. This book won’t be helpful in furthering established arguments, but will be helpful in reminding me how to approach arguments and what tools I can use to make my own arguments.