Alan G. Gross is a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Trained as a literary scholar, he drifted into his current specialty, scientific communication, writing The Rhetoric of Science himself, and Communicating Science, The Scientific Literature, and The Craft of Scientific Communication in collaboration with his long-term writing partner, Joseph Harmon. His latest collaboration, Science from Sight to Insight: How Scientists Illustrate Meaning will be published by the University of Chicago Press this fall. His next collaboration, How We Know: The Internet Revolution in Science and Scholarship, is also due for completion in draft this fall.
Context: Josef Mitterer’s non-dualism advocates a method of analysis as distinct from a metaphysical position. As such it bears resemblance to my earlier work. Problem: Is there only the world of discourse or is there a sense in which some facts and some theories are beyond argument and will remain so? Approach: In my analysis I try to apply Mitterer’s ideas to science, philosophy, and literary criticism. Results: I claim that it is not possible to argue against certain scientific facts or against scientific progress. The same holds for philosophy and literature. Implications: Some claims about science appear to be inconsistent with Mitterer’s non-dualist model, according to which validity-claims are limited to interpretations. Also, in literature, Mitterer’s claim that “text is neutralistic” does not apply.