Metaphor and Analogy in the Sciences
"Science constructs its objects": is this a metaphor? It does not necessarily mean anyway that the real does not pre-exist. Only that in the final instance it is the Other, of which we know neither the limits nor the figure and to which we only have access through the constructions we make of it. Or, in semiotic terms borrowed from Charles S. Peirce, the world is the 'dynamic object' that intervenes in science only through the 'immediate objects' that manifest themselves in signs. And even then the choice of the term 'immediate' is not entirely felicitous: it would be better to talk of 'mediated objects', since their conception is mediated by the conditions from which perception as weIl as the language that expresses it derive. The preference bestowed on certain constructions over others results from the slighter recalcitrance in imagining a dynamic object through one or another mediated object. This recalcitrance that prompts one to surrender constructions does not come directly from the real, from the dynamic object, but from other constructions. Again, this does not mean that reality does not ex ist, but that it only 'speaks', confirms and objects, to the extent that it is being questioned within a certain form, by certain instruments, in a certain language. Even if it appears recalcitrant, the dynamic object intervenes only through another construction. Man, not nature, decides on the form to be considered, the instruments and language to be adopted.
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Jean Paul VAN BENDEGEM
Rafael E NUNEZ
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accretion disk adaptive logics ampliative inferences analogical reasoning analysis approach astronomical atoms basic Batens black holes chaos theory characterization Cigoli cognitive linguistics cognitive science concept conceptual metaphor conceptual system context creative definition of continuity Democritus descriptions discourses Drake trans dynamics e-6 definition Earth EERSs electron elements example exist experience function Galileo gapless Hallyn hence human idea image-schemas important inferences inferential structure interaction intuitive Kepler Lakoff & Núñez language letters Lucretius lunar mappings mathematical induction mathematical proof mathematicians mathematics means Metaphor and Analogy Moon mountains natural continuity natural numbers notion objects observed open interval Penrose phenomena philosophy Philosophy of Mathematics physical planet Plutarch preservation of closeness problem proof proof-outline quantum real number refer relation relevant items rhusmos role schema scientific scientific models Sidereus Nuncius solar system solution stars surface telescope theoretical things type hierarchy understanding University Press