What is the performative force of statistical evidence?

Does it make sense to pose this question without a case of use?

Maybe, if we bracket what follows as grammatical speculation.

Statistical evidence tends to support forecasts. Numerically abstracting the patterns that obtain within a given set of bodies, the statistic takes, in the census at least, a tabular overview of those bodies so as to trace their synchronic distribution within a given year – a disfigural tableau of masses of bodies frozen by counting – and to calculate, by the proportion between one tableau plus at least one other, the rates of change within that set. To assert a probability is to project that rate of change forward. It is, in other words, to say the future will conform to the momentum of the past.

Statistical evidence may, then, exert a number of performative forces. Maybe “predictive” is the generic form of those forces. And yet predicting is not necessarily warning or foreshadowing or cursing or foretelling or prefiguring or prophesying or foreboding or even appending “probably.” Maybe the statistic itself doesn’t have a generic form insofar as it allows for the above spread of speech acts.

Is statistical evidence simply “predictive,” and if so, is its force explicit or inexplicit?

What other modes of invoking a performative formula, besides explicitly or inexplicitly, become visible here?


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