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The Discipline of Discovery

Reflections on the Relationship between Internal and External Conditions of Knowledge Formation

Ulrike Kistner

Keywords: analytic of finitude; epistemology; humanities in South Africa; knowledge formation; knowledge transmission; thought collectives; thought styles

Starting with Foucault's articulation of factors in the formation of an order of discourse, and Ludwik Fleck's ideas on the structures of thought collectives and thought styles, this article mounts some reflections on the relationship between internal and external conditions of knowledge formation. In particular, it will look at the productive function of thought constraints – discipline – in the formation and transmission of knowledge, and bring this consideration to bear on some perils besetting the humanities not only 'from without', but also 'from within', notably the turn from academic teaching to externally oriented professional training, and an uncritical, general-programmatic proclamation of 'Multi-, Inter, and Trans-Disciplinarity' ('MIT') reorganising discourses, disciplines and orders of knowledge.

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