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EMPIRICAL INDIVIDUALS AND EPISTEMIC INDIVIDUALS

If we have had to try to clarify, through a self-reflexive detachment from the operations of research and from the object which they have produced, the principles of production which have been deployed, it is because this logical work, as long as it is successful, can contribute to reinforcing the logical and sociological control of writing and its effects and giving greater efficacity to warnings against readings which tend to ruin the work of construction. For it is in fact only if we know 'what the sociologist does', to use Saussure's terms, that we can adequately read the product of his operations.

The risks of misunderstanding in the transmission of scientific discourse on the social world depend, in a very general way, on the fact that the reader tends to make the utterances of the language of construction function as they would function in ordinary usage. This is quite clear in the case where the reader, ignorant of Weber's distinction, perceives as sociological value-judgements 'references to values' inherent in the object of study:36 when, for example, he speaks of a 'second-class faculty', of a 'subordinate discipline' or of the 'lower echelons' of the university space, the sociologist is only recording a fact of evaluation which he attempts to explain by relating it to the ensemble of the social conditions of its existence, and he can even see in it the explanatory principle of the form of i he value-judgements destined to 'refute' it (for example, the protests which it can provoke, if incorrectly read). But it is only a minor lorm of misunderstanding,since it is blatant, and blatantly evident. And the most dangerous effect of this reading, as we can see in the case of named individuals, consists in substituting the logic of ordinary knowledge for the logic of scientific knowledge.

Scientific discourse demands a scientific reading, capable of icproducing the operations of which it is itself the product. However, the words of scientific discourse, and especially those designating persons (named individuals) or institutions (such as the College de I rance),37 are exactly the same as those of ordinary discourse, of liction or history, whereas the referents of these two species of discourse are separated by all the distance which is introduced by


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 171


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