Discourse on Method

3628 Words15 Pages
Discourse on Method Heuresis (or invention) comprises, as Richard Lanham notes, "the first of the five traditional parts of rhetorical theory, concerned with the finding and elaboration of arguments" (1991: 91). In Aristotle's Rhetoric the category of heuresis included the kinds of proof available to the rhetorician, lists of valid and invalid topoi, as well as the various commonplaces the rhetorician might touch upon - loci or stereotypical themes and observations ("time flies") appropriate to a given occasion (Lanham 1991: 166-170). In a more contemporary sense heuretic is defined by the OED as "the branch of logic which treats of the art of discovery or invention." Both senses of this word, along with its more familiar cognate heuristic, are significant for the project embarked upon in Gregory Ulmer's latest book, Heuretics: The Logic of Invention. In a continuation of a project begun in his two earlier works, Applied Grammatology and Teletheory, Heuretics seeks to explore the possibilities opened up by the "matrix crossing French postructuralist theory, avant-garde art experiments, and electronic media" (xi) for the invention of new methods of academic research and the production of new kinds of texts. "Theory," Ulmer notes, "is assimilated into the humanities in two principal ways - by critical interpretation and by artistic experiment" (3). Heuretics, then, is to be contrasted with hermeneutics. The relevant question for heuretic reading is not the one guiding criticism (according to the theories of Freud, Marx, Wittgenstein, Derrida, and others: What might be the meaning of an existing work?) but one guiding a generative experiment: Based on a given theory, how might another text be compos... ... middle of paper ... ...n: Indiana University Press. Jay, Martin (1984) Adorno. Cambridge Mass: Harvard. Kipnis, Jeffrey (forthcoming) Choral Work. London: Architectural Association. Lanham, Richard A (1991) A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms. 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press. Peters, F.E. (1967) Greek Philosophical Terms: An Historical Lexicon. New York: New York University Press. Sack, Robert David (1980) Conception of Space in Social Thought: A Geographic Perspective. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Tschumi, Bernard (1987) Cinegramme folie: Le Parc de la Villette. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Ulmer, Gregory L. (1994) Heuretics: The Logic of Invention. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. ----, (1985) Applied Grammatology: Post (c) - Pedagogy from Jacques Derrida to Joseph Beuys. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Open Document