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Questions of Evidence

Proof, Practice, and Persuasion across the Disciplines

Biologists, historians, lawyers, art historians, and literary critics all voice arguments in the critical dialogue about what constitutes evidence in research and scholarship. They examine not only the constitution and "blurring" of disciplinary boundaries, but also the configuration of the fact-evidence distinctions made in different disciplines and historical moments; the relative function of such concepts as "self-evidence," "experience," "test," "testimony," and "textuality" in varied academic discourses; and the way "rules of evidence" are themselves products of historical developments.

The essays and rejoinders are by Terry Castle, Lorraine Daston, Carlo Ginzburg, Ian Hacking, Mark Kelman, R. C. Lewontin, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Mary Poovey, Donald Preziosi, Simon Schaffer, Joan W. Scott, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Barbara Herrnstein Smith.

The critical responses are by Lauren Berlant, James Chandler, Jean Comaroff, Arnold I. Davidson, Harry D. harootunian, Elizabeth Helsinger, Thomas C. Holt, Francoise Meltzer, Robert J. Richards, Lawrence Rothfield, Joel Snyder, Cass R. Sunstein, and William Wimsatt.

Table of Contents

The Subject of Evidence
Contagious Folly: An Adventure and Its Skeptics by Terry Castle
For Your Eyes Only: Ghost Citing by Françoise Meltzer
A Rejoinder to Françoise Meltzer by Terry Castle
Self Evidence by Simon Schaffer
Massaging the Evidence by Lawrence Rothfield
Gestures in Question by Simon Schaffer
Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
Evidences of Masturbation by Lauren Berlant
Against Epistemology by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
Objects and Objectivities
Belief and Resistance: A Symmetrical Account by Barbar Herrnstein Smith
Resistance to Constructed Belief by Robert Richards
Circling Around, Knocking Over, Playing Out by Barbara Herrnstein Smith
Reasonable Evidence of Reasonableness by Mark Kelman
On Finding Facts by Cass R. Sunstein
A Rejoinder to Cass R. Sunstein by Mark Kelman
The Question of Art History by Donald Preziosi
A Response to Donald Preziosi by Joel Snyder
A Rejoinder to Joel Snyder by Donald Preziosi
History and the Uses of Inquiry
Marvelous Facts and Miraculous Evidence in Early Modern Europe by Lorraine Daston
Proving a History of Evidence by James Chandler
Historical Epistemology by Lorraine Daston
Checking the Evidence: The Judge and the Historian by Carlo Ginzburg
Carlo Ginzburg and the Renewal of Historiography by Arnold I. Davidson
A Rejoinder to Arnold I. Davidson by Carlo Ginzburg
Atlantis and the Nations by Pierre Vidal-Naquet
Using and Abusing Fiction by Elizabeth Helsinger
How to Get beyond Myth? by Pierre Vidal-Naquet
Experience and the Disciplines of Proof
The Evidence of Experience by Joan W. Scott
Experience and the Politics of Intellectual Inquiry by Thomas C. Holt
Figures of Arithmetic, Figures of Speech: The Discourse of Statistics by Mary Poovey
A Response to Mary Poovey by Harry Harootunian
Grand Narrative or Historical Overdetermination? by Mary Poovey
Two Souls in One Body by Ian Hacking
Aristotle Re-membered by Jean Comaroff
Aristotle Meets Incest—and Innocence by Ian Hacking
Facts and the Factitious in Natural Sciences by R. C. Lewontin
Lewontin’s Evidence (That There Isn’t Any) by William Wimsatt
A Rejoinder to William Wimsatt by R. C. Lewontin

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