“Mythical thought, this bricoleur, builds structures by putting together events, or rather the residues of events, while science ‘at work,’ simply as a result of having been established, creates its means and its results in the form of events, thanks to the structures that it is ceaselessly producing and which are its hypotheses and theories.”
Claude Lévi-Strauss, Wild Thought (2021, 25-26).
“It is the hallmark of productive experimental systems that their differential reproduction leads to events that may induce major shifts in perspective within or even beyond their confines. In a way, they proceed by continually deconstructing their own perspective.”
Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Toward a History of Epistemic Things (1997, 36).
“Perhaps something has occurred in the history of the concept of structure that could be called an ‘event,’ if this loaded word did not entail a meaning which it is precisely the function of structural—or structuralist—thought to reduce or suspect.”
Jacques Derrida, “Structure, Sign, and Play” (1978, 278).
“Archaeology, however, must examine each event in terms of its own evident arrangement; it will recount how the configurations proper to each positivity were modified…it will analyze the alteration of the empirical entities which inhabit the positivities…it will study the displacement of the positivities each in relation to the others…lastly, and above all, it will show that the general area of knowledge is no longer that of identities and differences…but an area made up of organic structures, that is, of internal relations between elements whose totality performs a function…”
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things (1970 , 218).
“Although Foucault, in his analysis of the processes by means of which the classical episteme was replaced by our own, had proposed that these epistemes be seen as being discontinuous with each other, what he oversaw was that such a discontinuity, like the earlier discontinuity that had been effected by the classical episteme itself, was taking place in the terms of a continuous cultural field.”
Sylvia Wynter, “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom” (2003, 318).
“This book has traced how epistemology and ethos emerged and merged over time and in context, one epistemic virtue often in point-counterpoint opposition to the others. But although they may sometimes collide, epistemic virtues do not annihilate one another like rival armies. Rather, they accumulate…”
Lorraine Daston & Peter Galison, Objectivity (2007, 363).
If structuralism has implied a denial of history, does studying structuralism as a historical phenomenon mean denying its validity? What difference might it make to shift analytic attention from specific structuralists or structuralisms to structures as epistemic things?Continue reading