The Critical Load graph: A rhetorical trope
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It is often said that pictures and graphical visualisations have a greatpower to unify and simplify ideas: "a picture says a thousand words" as thesaying goes. The ability of graphs to explore and summarise large sets ofnumbers is also well known (Tufte, 1983: introduction). Although scientistsfrequently have recourse to graphical illustrations when explaining complexproblems, the role of pictures and graphs in forwarding scientific findingshas received relatively little attention in studies of science compared to the attention given to texts. Ronald Giere and Michael Ruse have suggested thatthis lack of interest may be explained by the strong influence of logical empiricism in scientific culture (Giere, 1996; Ruse, 1996). Logical empiricism emerged in the eighteenth century in the transition between an oral-visualculture and a text-based culture, nurturing a suspicion towards pictures andarguing that human thinking relies on words. In this textual culture pictures are reduced to persuasive aids, if considered at all, being thought of as pedagogical tools or simple 'illustrations' used to facilitate the presentation and sharing of scientific findings (Stafford, 1994). Another reason why visual displays in science have been underestimated and neglected compared to scientific texts, may simply be, as suggested by David Lynch, that methods for analysing verbal materials are more advanced than thosefor analysing pictures (Lynch, 1990:151).
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-79020OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-79020DiVA: diva2:537711
Abstract is an abridged version of the introduction.2012-06-272012-06-272012-06-27Bibliographically approved