[Scientific Study of Literature 1:1] 2011
► pp. 182–193
The migration of science into literary studies risks importing an over-simplified conception of “the” scientific method. To avoid this pitfall, it will be crucial to nurture a conception of scientific praxis grounded in historically established methods from a range of scientific disciplines, rather than in the physics-centered prescriptions of much 20th Century philosophy of science. Doing so may require reconsideration of the forms of explanation and investigation that are appropriate for semi-autonomous, agentic capacities (e.g., generating a meaningful interpretation). Because such capacities resist externalist forms of explanation and experimentation, it is important to reconsider the first- and third-person methods, the role of experimentation, and the importance of classificatory procedures in their descriptive explication. Moreover, acknowledging the conceptual precision that derives both from operational definition (in one form) and connoisseurship (in another) may support articulation of a multi-faceted conception of science that is apt for studies of literature.
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