Seasonal thoughts and a challenge!

Hi all,

Roger and I have put together some seasonal thoughts in a short video on the Project Facebook site. Marvel at the seamless and totally unbiased editing.


As we are at the end of the Q&A stage of the project our challenge to you is get creative and post your own thoughts, in text or video on the site. THERE WILL BE SIGNIFICANT PRIZES FOR THE BEST TWO!


1) You can post anything to do with the project (even loosely) – responses to questions posted, reflections on the project, thoughts on science, news items etc…

2) the more thought provoking and/or  humorous the better

3) video can be on Youtube or the project facebook page

3) Entries must be submitted by Friday January 15th 2010

Get creative and have a great and well earned seasonal break,

Roger & Bernie

Happy Christmas from Plymouth

It’s our last teaching week at Plymouth before the break and it’s the usual combination of exhaustion, trying to get everything done (for students and staff) strangely combined with a general sense of levity. We thought we’d send you a short film of our lab and the work we get up to and you can see it on the Facebook page and on YouTube.

Also there are a couple of films of students in the canteen discussing questions 5 and 6 (cultural sensitivity and post modernism). It’s quite noisy, in fact in one it sounds like there’s a dinosaur loose, but you get the idea. You can see these on the project Facebook page, just click the link on the left of this page and take your pick. Or, if you’re particularly lazy try:

Question 5


Question 6

Anyway, we wish you happy Christmas at the end of the first one and I’d just like to repeat that and thank you for all the work you’ve done on the project this last term. Bernie and I will be putting one or two more things up on the blog before we start to pick your brains about your own views. If you do have any views, or wish to add any reflections please do so.

Happy Christmas and have a great holiday.

Roger and the Plymouth Students.

Question 6: Postmodernism and Scientific Philosophy

Hi Folks,

Here it is the final question. You can see the video here (but I warn you may wish to put dark glasses on before viewing).

Here is the text version and hopefully this will give you something interesting to consider over the next two weeks!

Felix Guattari (1930-1992) was a radical analyst, social theorist and activist-intellectual. The 1996 book “The Guattari Reader” (Genosko,1996) quotes one of his positions:

“We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of the ontological binarism we criticised previously.”

Such expositions have been described as both illuminating (Genosko, 1996) or (as in the opinion of Sokal and Bricmont, 1996) “the most brilliant m√©lange of scientific, pseudo-scientific and philosophical jargon that we have ever encountered.”

Many of my colleagues would describe Guattari’s and others post-modern philosophical approaches as having revolutionised approaches to nursing science in the 21st century, as they move us toward a more humanistic and intuitive understanding of the world, and move us beyond positivism. In the book “Nursing Research: a qualitative perspective” Patricia Munhall suggests:

“Feminists like postmodernists have sought to develop new paradigms of social criticism that do not rely on traditional philosophical underpinnings. She notes that “feminist theories like other forms of postmodernism should encourage us to tolerate and interpret ambivalence, ambiguity and multiplicity as well as expose the roots of our needs for imposing order and structure. (pp. 139)”

I would probably question the assumption that feminism and postmodernism are somehow synonymous but, my question is; “Is this just another example of postmodern diatribe? For example, if we adopt a post-modern perspective on healthcare science, then surely both views on female circumcision (both for and against) are equally valid, and if so, it would seem we should be offering this as a therapeutic intervention in our health service provision to those who request it?”

What are your thoughts? Discuss in your pairs and post your responses as normal.


Genosko G. (ed.), 1996 The Guattari Reader Blackwell,Cambridge, MA
Munhall P/L. 2007, Nursing Research: a qualitative perspective, Jones & Bartlett, Sudbery, MA
Sokal A. & Bricmont J., 1998, Fashionable Nonsense Picador Books