O definiowaniu w humanistyce – między retoryką a etyką
Wejland, Andrzej Paweł
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In this article, I discuss defining as a cultural discursive act. From this perspective, defining, which is treated as an act of fixing or describing the meaning (often with the extension) of a given term or concept, discloses additionally its rhetorical aspect. At the same time, such defining gains its moral importance: it becomes a promise, almost an obligation on the part of its creator that once a concept has been defined, the term will be used only in its own, strictly described meaning, and the idea it describes will be referred to in the discourse only by means of that term. Having established such a theoretical framework, I discuss the practices and rhetorical strategies typical of the contemporary humanities and their research communities which tend to either liberate these rigorous rules (by means of applying open or encrypted redefinitions), or to refuse to define them. The latter usually refers to terms and concepts basic for the discourse (for example because they approve of the idea of sensitizing the discourse, which is done by using expressions that do not have strict definitions). Finally, I share my observation that once the discourse of a scientific community in the humanities steps outside the realms of logical accuracy of defining operations, it falls for the category of moral reflection. It is then supported by methodological reflection, where both of them change the discourse community into an ethically aware community, or the one which we could call moral community.
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