Cf: In the Way of Inquiry • Objections to Reflexive Inquiry
An episode of inquiry bears the stamp of an interlude — it begins and ends in medias res
with respect to actions and
circumstances neither fixed nor fully known. As easy as it may be to overlook the
contingent character of the inquiry
process it’s just as essential to observe a couple of its consequences:
First, it means genuine inquiry does not touch on the inciting action at points of total
doubt or absolute certainty.
An incident of inquiry does not begin or end in absolute totalities but only in the
differential and relative measures
which actually occasion its departures and resolutions.
Inquiry as a process does not demand absolutely secure foundations from which to set out
or any “place to stand” from
which to examine the balance of onrushing events. It needs no more than it does in fact
have at the outset —
assumptions not in practice doubted just a moment before and a circumstance of conflict
that will force the whole
situation to be reviewed before returning to the normal course of affairs.
Second, the interruptive character or escapist interpretation of inquiry is especially
significant when contemplating
programs of inquiry with recursive definitions, as the motivating case of inquiry into
inquiry. It means the
termination criterion for an inquiry subprocess is whatever allows continuation of the