[-empyre-] Re:science

Danny Butt db at dannybutt.net
Wed Sep 10 21:08:14 EST 2008

I think we know from a few decades of science studies that to say that  
a scientific process is full of metaphor, and thus as Michele says  
*can be seen as* a kind of fiction, is not the same as saying that it  
is in any way untrue or ineffective, or the same as a novel. It is  
simply to say, that the development of categories that occurs within  
scientific processes is a human-driven process of sense-making,  
involving both non-humans and humans and genre and history. And  
metaphor, all the way down. (I am not a mathematician, but I know  
enough math people to know that simply "understanding the math" is not  
enough to rid it of metaphor. And that's not a bad thing.).

One of the most important aspects of interdisciplinary work is to  
place our own categories in suspension in the face of other  
disciplines, to hold open the possibility that there can be a  
different way of thinking about things, and also to confront how  
little we can really understand about the ways of knowing in other  
disciplines. I'm already intrigued by the discussions this month even  
if I don't have much to add.

All the best,


On 9/09/2008, at 2:22 PM, h w wrote:

> Michele wrote:
> Science has always seemed quintessentially metaphoric, full of  
> images of invisible states and imagined processes as we apprehend it  
> through embodied experience. Science can be seen as a kind of  
> fiction that has (unusually) traction across a large number of  
> bodies and worlds. Like other kinds of fiction the scientific  
> fiction has agency.
> =====================================================
> It's only metaphoric, because much of it is mathematical, and unless  
> you can wrap your head around the math, any description will, by  
> necessity, be metaphorical and filled with images you can  
> understand. Otherwise,  communication gets very difficult.
> Science CAN be seen as a fiction, as much as a cloud can be seen to  
> be a bunny. It's not really a bunny. You just think it looks like one.
> Science CAN also be seen as a process and an organisation of  
> behaviour along specific lines of testability, repeatability, and  
> (sometimes) falsifiability combined with Ockham's Razor. Which,  
> while "sharp", is actually a statement regarding evidence and not a  
> real razor.
> HW
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: https://mail.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/attachments/20080910/930e8c65/attachment.html

More information about the empyre mailing list