performativity


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performativity

a situation arising from the application of technology to science and scientific procedures explored by Jean Francois LYOTARD in his highly influential work The Postmodern Condition: a report on knowledge (1979). Lyotard notes that although technology initially aids scientists‘ EMPIRICAL inquiries, as MODERNITY matures this technology begins to dominate science. Science then becomes harnessed to the principle of‘optimal performance’ – that is the maximising of outputs (information produced) for the minimum input of time and energy. Consequently, it is then possible to purchase proof in much the same way as a piece of equipment. Lyotard believes this relegates science to the status of a DISCOURSE or LANGUAGE GAME, thus compromising its claim to a privileged view of reality. This, in turn, can be seen to create problems for traditional accounts of knowledge and EPISTEMOLOGY due to a subsequent lack of consensus regarding appropriate criteria with which to judge rival claims. Lyotard, however, does not view this situation as problematic holding that the reliance upon science was restrictive and tended to silence other voices and stifle other ways of knowing. See GRAND NARRATIVE, DIFFEREND, PAGANISM, LYOTARD.
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