In this volume, seven historians of science examine the historical creation and meaning of a range of scientific textual forms from the seventeenth to the late nineteenth centuries. They consider examples from the fields of chemistry, medicine, physics, zoology, physiology, and mathematics, exposing the rich possibilities for a new, historically rooted approach to our scientific cultural heritage.
Peter Dear presents the case for "taking texts seriously"—asking historians of science to confront issues and techniques moving to the forefront in a number of disciplines, and asking literary scholars and literary-minded intellectual historians not to "put science quietly to one side," or treat it as a mere source of cultural metaphors, but to understand it in terms of historically specific textual construction.
The Literary Structure of Scientific Argument will interest historians, philosophers, and sociologists, as well as literary scholars concerned with science.
Peter Dear is Assistant Professor of History at Cornell University.