Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rhetoric and Math?

When I was a math major originally, I liked the precision and the certainty. Even when I didn't always understand why a formula worked, I just trusted that it would and usually, sometimes as long as two years later, I would understand why. Then I switched to Art History - perhaps a foretaste of my interest in visual rhetoric? Now, I just found a blog that seeks to combine the Two Cultures of science and rhetoric. Naturally, he mentions rhetoric about science, such as Stephen Jay Gould's "Evolution as Fact and Theory" an essay that I ask my students to read in the context of writing their own definition essays. But I am intrigued Thomas Wright's look at the intersections of geometry and rhetoric - such as the Burkean reference. The many science and engineering students at Oregon State who take writing classes sometimes express frustration at the many options in writing, that there might be many right answers (as well as some wrong answers) in the writing of a paper. However, since scientists are conversant with hypotheses, then they could grasp notion of a "working thesis."


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