Series: Investigating an epistemic pattern
Series are found in a variety of fields, widespread in the arts, mass media, and industry. Disparate notions cause the term ‘series’ to be vague, while bearing a challenging multiplicity. Though rarely an autonomous subject of philosophical inquiry, seriality has come to be recognised in terms of a principle of succession within diachronic comprehension. By contrast, the aim of this research is to examine seriality in a synchronic form, that is its manifestation in the order and relation of things: series as a pattern of order.
The project analysed synchronic concepts of series, looked at the position and function of series in theoretical contexts and mada a plea for its methodical and disciplinary transversality with reference to the work of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Charles Fourier, Paul Kammerer, Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Iris Marion Young. Situated in different constellations of knowledge between 1800 and 2000, these various concepts of series were considered from the perspective of the history of science. Their role in the ‘manufacturing of knowledge’ was identified and applied to a reconstruction of the history of the division between the sciences and the humanities. Moreover, these patterns of series were examined on their epistemological function in their historical space (historical epistemology).
The project thus developed a concept of ‘series’ with transversality being constitutive for its order. This concept was introduced into the current debate on the philosophy of science concerned with epistemic objectivism and relativism, especially accentuated in recent years by feminist philosophers and postcolonial thinkers. Following on from the transversal pattern, the project’s systematical search for the epistemological potential of the series assessed the extent of thinking a serial objectivity into existence.
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