By London; Fritz
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Those sociologists committed to a “Strong Programme” (associated with the Edinburgh school) argue that scientific truth is meaningful only locally among a society of scientists (Longino 18). Hence, for these sociologists developing scientific knowledge is a challenge of gaining acceptance for ideas within a larger group. For many philosophers of science, however, knowledge making is a cognitive problem of developing theories and representations of reality that are rational, logical, and compatible with observation.
25 26 METAPHOR AND KNOWLEDGE It was obvious from the Institute’s Web pages that each scientist had done a thorough job of writing up his or her specialty, but the writing was targeted very much at an audience of insiders. Throughout the summer of 1997, I spent many hours at the Institute and at home drafting multiple versions of a new overview piece for publication on the Web. In the body of this chapter I summarize the rhetorical challenges I faced in preparing the Web page piece. The goal is to show how the use of metaphor and its harmonics in science are not the idle ruminations of ivory tower language scholars.
This type of writing is known as “instrumental” writing, a tool for displaying a predetermined reality. As geologist and science writer Scott Montgomery notes in The 43 44 METAPHOR AND KNOWLEDGE Scientific Voice, the modern scientist assumed “that language can be made a form of technology, a device able to contain and transfer knowledge without touching it (2, italics original). Science in Snow’s polarized world is a precise culture of facts, observation, and data, while literature would seem to be a fuzzy culture of lore, interpretation, and words.
Superfluids, Vol. II: Macroscopic Theory of Superfluid Helium by London; Fritz