If replication and authorship are matters of negotiation, then there is no event which corresponds to an automatic or instant discovery. A complex enterprise, accessible to historical and sociological understanding, generates objects which are then labeled as discoveries. Subsequently, the story of that process is rewritten. The lengthy enterprise is telescoped into an individual moment with an individual author.
Simon Schaffer, “Scientific Discoveries & Natural Philosophy” (1986)
“Thus the simple lines of the hand, the timbre and compass of the VOICE as the individual characteristic of speech — this too again as expressed in WRITING, where the hand gives more durable existence than the voice does, especially in the particular style of handwriting — all this is an expression of the inner Spirit, so that as a simple externality, the expression again stands over and against the manifold eternality of the inner of action and fate, stands in relation to them as an interior.”
“The Spirit is a Bone.”
G.W.H. Hegel, Phenomenology of Geist (1807)
Science is writing. Graphic traces produced in experiments and computer visualizations are the precondition for other forms of literal and literary sense-making as representations of nature are elaborated and interpreted. Scientists write. They construct instruments to translate signals into inscriptions, which are then assembled and manipulated as texts. In successive drafts of scientific papers their writing is the site of theory production.
The Writing Science series brings together textual studies and science studies, which share an epistemological and historical concern with the conditions grounding the emergence of meaning and signification. Its authors are interested in tangled and layered political and economic histories and the way they become naturalized by signs. Inscribed into society through technologies of writing, photography, film, museum exhibits, teaching materials, and guide-books, such signs subtend struggles to define both society and nature.