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The common prejudices that demean the popular and divorce science from culture have engendered a view that popular scientific writing can, at best, be only lowbrow or simplistic. As this book makes clear, however, the accomplishments of such writers as Loren Eiseley, Richard Selzer, Oliver Sacks, Stephen Jay Gould, Primo Levi, Ilya Prigogine, James Gleick, and David Quammen deserve the kind of critical attention traditionally devoted to the history or philosophy of science. What these writers have produced is nothing less than a sophisticated literature of science that is accessible to a general audience.
The Literature of Science is a collection of fifteen essays devoted to the literary and cultural interpretation of popular scientific writing. Underlying each essay is the conviction that science cannot be separated from culture, that it is embedded in the values, ideologies, ways of thinking, and linguistic practices that shape our culture. The relationship between science and culture is nowhere more evident than in the literature of science, which these essayists from the fields of literary studies, history, physics, mathematics, and medicine open to a variety of approaches.
Each of the book's three sections addresses a distinct set of topics. The first section, concerned with language and rhetoric, discusses how scientific information can be mistranslated for nonscientific audiences, how scientists try to escape the constraints of their professional discourse, and how tropes shape scientific epistemology. The second section, which focuses on history, myth, and narrative, shows that the literature of science is shaped by our view of history, is the product of our culture's mythic and narrative practices, and is therefore subject to interpretive decoding. Centered on ideology and culture, the third section explains that the literature of science has at times advanced, but now seems ready to subvert, orthodox structures of knowledge and power. It goes on to suggest how the scientific and popular cultures can reach a better mutual understanding.
The Literature of Science represents a major effort to examine the central questions raised by the interaction of science and culture.
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Book Description Univ of Georgia Pr, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0820315060