Social Constructs

Thank you for Irving M. Klotz's Opinion article on postmodernist rhetoric [The Scientist, July 22, 1996, page 9]. The article was a great read; however, I think he may be missing the trees for the forest. The argument that scientific facts are not social constructs is being made with the most prevalent social construct in existence: language. Language was constructed by society to describe what we experience in the world-to describe "reality." In our scientific reality, the velocity of light is

Terri Gilbert
Sep 1, 1996

Thank you for Irving M. Klotz's Opinion article on postmodernist rhetoric [The Scientist, July 22, 1996, page 9]. The article was a great read; however, I think he may be missing the trees for the forest. The argument that scientific facts are not social constructs is being made with the most prevalent social construct in existence: language. Language was constructed by society to describe what we experience in the world-to describe "reality." In our scientific reality, the velocity of light is 299,792,458 meters per second, but how can meters and seconds be construed as anything but social constructs? It may be true that this velocity is universally constant; however, anyone growing up in this universe but not in this particular scientific construct would likely not choose those particular units nor those numbers, if numbers even existed in their reality.

Lest you think this is purely a semantic...

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