Vicki F. Byard

Considering heuristics as symbolic acts: Their relevance to epistemic rhetoric

Vicki F. Byard

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1993; pp: 229
  • Advisor: Lauer, Janice
  • Source: DAI-A 55/03, p. 547, Sep 1994
  • Subjects: Literature, General (0401); Speech Communication (0459)
  • ProQuest Document Number: 746572811
  • ISBN:
  • UMI Number: AAT 9420793

Abstract:

    • This dissertation studies heuristics-strategies for guided inquiry-by exploring their relevance to three major issues in recent rhetoric scholarship. First, heuristics are studied in light of the various definitions of rhetoric as epistemic. Because heuristics are linguistic devices, their epistemic capacities are necessarily determined by the epistemic capacities of language. Second, heuristics are examined as techniques of social invention. They are shaped by culture: the knowledge they authorize is that which is valued by the social collective. Third, heuristics are a useful pedagogy for cultural studies. Because many heuristics lead writers to explore their subjects from multiple perspectives, they are intentionally designed to critique hegemonic understandings. The heuristics analyzed in detail for each of these issues are the pentad and the tagmemic exploratory heuristics.
    • The dissertation argues that heuristics are not neutral pedagogies. They promote certain lines of inquiry, privileging particular kinds of knowledge. It is insufficient, then, to describe heuristics solely as modeling the composing processes of experts. Scholarship must also account for the nature of heuristics as symbolic acts. The dissertation concludes by exploring how early scholarship on heuristics and more recent rhetorical theory can mutually inform each other.