Selecting Facts and Avoiding Wedding Meltdowns

I have not gotten as much dissertation work done today as I would have liked, due to the fact that I am worried about my wedding: my mother, who I love dearly and for whom I am grateful during the wedding planning process, has been looking for reception sites. She found one she loved–The Brown Hotel, which is where my senior prom was held in the last century (egads, I’m old). The problem is, our original date–June 13–is already booked, as is every other weekend in June (2009). So, mom wanted to know if Dave and I would be willing to move the wedding date back. Grr. Dave’s not thrilled with the idea, and we’ve already begun to tell people the date, as the church is already booked. . .

And all the while, I have been trying to finish Reclaiming the Imagination, edited by Ann Berthoff.  I found the Pirie piece “Selecting Facts and Avoiding Assumptions,”  and the Oppenheimer “Analogy in Science” excerpts useful. Both writers outline the ways in which sciences use method to reach conclusion. Pirie in particular was interested in taking a pragmatic view of scientific method, which I think relates to my own opinions about invention methods and their effects on finished texts. Here are some quotes I really like:

  • “I make this plea not to treat too harshly those who tell you a story, having observed carefully without having established that they are sure that the story is the whole story and the general story” (Oppenheimer 201).
  • “The neglect of fact is the price paid for achieving comprehensibility now, and the important issue is not whether people do it but whether they do it well” (Pirie 206).
  • “[T]he process of formulating a question has a great psychological effect on the questioner; it focuses his [sic] attention on what he thinks he wants to know” (Pirie 211).

My main idea here is that we need to not only show students different invention strategies for composing a text; we must also discuss with them the epistemological underpinnings of these strategies, and the ways in which different strategies produce different kinds of texts. . . and I think the above quotes also lead to that idea. We come to conclusions based on the questions we ask, and the way we formulate those questions affects which conclusions are deemed valid. . .

Now to figure out this whole wedding thing.

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