Philosophy, Religion, Catholic Studies, and Peace & Conflict Studies Librarian at the University of Manitoba
Dom Taylor, MA, MLIS
Philosophy, Peace & Conflict Studies, Catholic Studies, and Religion Librarian September 20, 2018
University of Manitoba–Trier University Biennial Partnership Conference
Archival distance and representationalism undermine Booms + Cook's social-oriented approach
The concept of representation needs to be infused with a healthy dose of anti-representationalism
Emphasis on community and personal archives provide more accurate and just means of representation
The primary function of language is description
- Moral claims: "Killing is immoral."
- Statements about possibility, such as counterfactuals: "If time were money, then I'd be rich."
- Context-sensitive statements: Someone asks, "Is that blue ink?" and expects the ink to be blue in the bottle and on paper. The ink seller replies, "This is blue ink" pointing at a bottle of invisible blue ink (that is only visibly blue when in the bottle).
Non-descriptive statements are either:
- Translated into descriptive statement + emotive force (e.g., "It is immoral that X murdered Y" = "X murdered Y" + disapproval ["Boo! Murder"]
- Rendered meaningless (e.g., "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" = structured nonsense)(Chomsky, 1956)
- Archivists have privileged, yet qualified, access to accurate representations of history through distancing themselves from subjectivity and contemporary society
- Subjectivity cannot be entirely removed, so representation is necessarily flawed.
- Quasi-Kantian/Rationalist emphasis on transcendental structures underlying creation of records to reduce subjectivity. Transposes this to the "corporate mind." Mind over matter.
- Pushes back Representationalist agenda one step.
- Private/personal records are secondary/supplemental.
- External representation: Similar feel to Representationalism. Seeming covariance between word and world. Context specific. Nested within internal representation.
- Internal representation: Based on coherence and conceptual holism. To use words is to rely on their relationships to other words. Such relationships can be described inferentially (e.g.,"If X then Y," "X means Y," "X entails Y," or "Y is entailed by X"). Nested within operational representation.
- Operational representation: Action-guiding and context-dependent. Identifies important interrelationships between concepts/words to deal with a situation (i.e., conduct-guiding).
(a) The statement,"The grass is green," feels like it matches the way the world is (external representation) ,
(b) But it is dependent on a multitude of concepts and their interrelationships (internal representation).
(c) However, one also needs to adjust internal and external representations to specific contexts of use, by narrowing down what inferences are applicable and how much the statement is meant to feel like it matches with the world (operational representation). Aside from highly controlled philosophical abstraction, "The grass is green," has a context-specific purpose. It is representation for something.
HARMONIZATION OF SHARED
KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MIND'S
KNOWLEDGE OF A SHARED WORLD
KNOWLEDGE OF A SHARED WORLD
Totalization through appraisal can be reduced and objectivity enhanced by bolstering subjectivities.
Dropping the Representationalist model makes subjectivity a requirement for just and accurate representations.
Emphasis on community and personal archives is entailed by the multi-aspect/operational model of representation
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Archival appraisal and the concept of representation
By Dom Taylor