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2019 Vol. 10 №2

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OPOIAZ and Bakhtin: the Decision Science’s perspective



Decision science is a relatively new discipline: the product of a cross-pollination among mathematics, psychology, economy and a few other branches of knowledge. It studies how humans make their choices and purports to provide a “rational framework for choosing be­tween alternative courses of action when the consequences resulting from this choice are im­perfectly known.” In and of itself decision science is a vast field of intersecting theories and methodologies that I will exploit only in a limited manner—as it applies to particular views on literary production. My paper deals with the theories of Viktor Shklovsky and Iurii Tynianov outlining how these two members of the Petersburg “Society for the Study of Poetic Language”(OPOIAZ) conceived of the writer as a rational agent pursuing a specific goal, and of the means at his/her disposal to attain it. Their approaches, I will illustrate, correspond well to two specific types of rationality: “instrumental” and “bounded.” To conclude, I will juxta­pose the Formalists’ conceptualization of poetic creativity to Mikhail Bachtin’s view on the subject arguing that the way he conceives of the strategies available to the literary author fit the label of “interactive rationality.”


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