Disciplining as a Human Science

  • Lewis R. Gordon
Part of the Avant-Gardes in Performance book series (AGP)


Disciplines are formed. And they are produced as such by human beings. This is not to say their content is anthropomorphic. But it is to say that, as human creations, they come into the world, enjoy some vibrancy, decay, and die. A “living discipline,” I will argue, is animated by a form of humility: that its methodological resources reach to reality but do not capture, colonize, or constrain it. Forgetting this leads to disciplinary practices of attempting otherwise. This problem leads to the question of what it means for such efforts—even in the natural sciences—to be a human activity in which and through which is also formed the human relationship of being, classically, “for-itself.” In disciplinary transcendence (that is, disciplines reaching beyond human reality) are, then, a variety of questions posed to its presuppositions: Is even human transcendence (that is, attempting to go beyond human reality to achieve what is often called “objectivity”) disciplinarily understood, a human relationship? Such is the task of this investigation.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lewis R. Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.Global Center for Advanced StudiesWest HartfordUSA

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