The ideas discussed in Richard and Cynthia Selfe’s “What are the boundaries, artifacts, and identities of technical communication” propose a new way of understanding disciplines and texts. In this article, the Selfe’s introduce the use of “Text Clouds” which compress large amounts of information and complex ideas by emphasizing significant words and information. These text clouds are methods of mapping text in order to provide audience with clearer information of the subject. The selfe’s split the other types of mapping into three kinds: 1)History, which captures social, political, economic and institutional context, 2) research: which are investigations of text, textual practices, textual environments, and intellectual approaches, and 3) skills: which present corporations and public service organizations as environments for communicative exchange.
The authors utilize the idea of text clouds in reference to the notion that no one knows what technical communication is. One of the methods the Selfes’ use is following the story of a woman named Amanda and her journey towards discovering the context and use of technical communication. The next method they use is breaking down text clouds and providing the reader with a four step processing towards creating a text cloud. These four steps are: First, to create Questions that Focus on Rhetorical Contexts of the Task. Next, narrow down information to the main points that address the question. Choose data that is being drawn out to be put in the text cloud. Thirdly, format rules to structure text cloud, and finally: find common similarities within the text cloud and narrow down the amount of text into the most important parts.
The object I decided use a supplement to the Selfes’ article is Rene Descartes’ “Meditations on First Philosophy”.
This work of literature is the first person account of Descartes’ six day long process of establishing what he knows and does not know about himself, God, and the world. I chose this object to relate to “What are the boundaries, artifacts, and identities of technical communication” because I have had the hardest time separating the Meditations into texts that are useful and texts that are not useful. Because of this, I will attempt to use the Selfes’ idea of text clouds to better under Descartes’ piece. To address the Selfes’ first step of using text clouds by creating questions that focus on rhetorical contexts of the task, I will pose the following questions: Why is Descartes questioning his existence and the existence of God in the first place? What conclusions does he reach after going through this internal questioning? How have his ideas of his/ Gods existence changed since he first put those beliefs into doubt?
Next I will follow’s the Selfes’ second step and narrow down the information the main points that he presents. Some of these points are:. It is possible that I am dreaming always and that all of my perceptions of reality are false; perceptions in reality often reflect those in the dream world; It is possible that we are constantly being deceived by God; It is possible that there is an evil demon that is always deceiving humans and that nothing is real or true; and finally that material objects do exist. Thirdly, I will follow the Selfes’ third step and come up with a way in which to structure the text cloud for Descartes’ Meditations. I will separate the different ideas and points by the the progressing viewpoints that he has throughout his piece. Starting with what he believes in the first mediation, and ending with the conclusions he comes to in the sixth meditation.
Finally, I will follow the fourth step of creating text clouds and concentrate the main points into only a few concrete ideas. These beliefs are, first, that it is in order to prove our existence we must consider all possibilities of our creation. Next, we must also consider all the possibilities of whether or not our existence is being lead by truth or by deception. Finally, that we do in fact exist and that the God we are created by is not perfect