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The Rhetoric of Science Paperback – 30 Aug 1996

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4.2 out of 5 stars 2 reviews from Amazon.com

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Gross makes his case for a rhetorical analysis of science with impressive virtuosity. His examples range from Copernican astronomy to contemporary peer review, from optics to oncology, and from Darwin's private notebooks to recent debates about recombinant DNA.--John Durant "Times Literary Supplement "

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gross Makes Science More Believable and Understandable 8 April 2015
By Andrew S. Gibbons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gross dissects critical turning points in the history of science, showing that what occurs there is not the textbook case of careful deduction that we are taught about in science class. He shows that a number of forces are at work, including the conceptual context, the technology of the time, the number of unexplained questions, current concepts of experimentation, and, most importantly, the ability of the scientist to speak to other scientists persuasively. Newton had to contend with Hooke, so he waited a few decades until the tenor of the times was right, and in the meantime, he crafted the same data into a new argumentative form to produce the Optics, which was and still is considered classic.

Gross shows science to be a distinctly human endeavor, influenced by demonstrable data and experimental precision, but also by the social milieu in which reporting takes place and the form of the argument. His account of Newton corresponds with that of Bazerman, who gives in addition a full account of the origins of the "Proceedings of the Royal Society", showing how its formalisms evolved within a context of human social interaction and the need for progressively more refined techniques of persuasion. These included not only better formalisms of the experiment, but better rhetorical conventions as well. Max Planck's personal account of the origins of the Quantum Theory paints exactly the same picture. In it we are shown how influential interpersonal factors can be. Gross makes science more believable and understandable by pulling back the curtain and revealing some of the Oz of science.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 3 Mar. 2017
By FT Schappert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good overview
4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review of The Rhetoric of Science 19 Feb. 2009
By Robert Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gross wishes to claim a greater importance for linguistic practice in science. Knowledge is of an approximate character. Our formalisms abstract and simplify. Each formalism is an idealization, often times approximating in its own DIFFERENT ways, each offering somewhat different coverage of the knowledge domain. (Changing what science is and how it's done, Bull. Am. Physical Soc., March 2009 meeting, Amer. Physical Soc., R. Jones)

We don't deal in "laws" but rather in arguments. Even mathematical proofs come in varying degrees of certainty. None are simply true or false. A formal grammar has the same power as a formal logic. We do not have a formal grammar which encompasses all of natural language, however, and the machinery of finite and continuous systems of mathematics DO make certain scientific reasoning easier.

Each "language" ( be it natural language, some formal language, some logic, etc.) makes it easy to say certain things but difficult to express others. One language can not necessarily be translated completely into some other arbitrary language. Concepts formalized in one logic/language may not exactly correspond to concepts formalized in another. Having MULTIPLE overlapping theories of a knowledge domain is then better than having just one theory (written in one language) If you have more languages at your command you can think more thoughts.
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