ABSTRACT

The Aristotelian concept of magnitude (megethos) can expand our understanding of how abundant information accumulates in ways that expand beyond epistemic registers, creating a sense of coherence. This sense of coherence, in turn, is more of an aesthetic effect than the result of epistemic validity drawn from that evidentiary abundance. In this article, I explore two different examples of archival magnitude: one is the fine-grained enormity of conspiracy discourse and the second is the large-scale quantities that power big data. These examples of archival magnitude are simply two narratives through which to explore the aesthetic and rhetorical operation of megethos. By redefining discourses that call on magnitude—the power of more—as aesthetic discourse, we may also find that the most fitting response is likewise an aesthetic one.

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