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Refiguring Life Paperback – April 15, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0231102056 ISBN-10: 0231102054 Edition: Reprint

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This short but interesting work continues Keller's study of how "scientific technique is both contributor to and product of discourse." A noted feminist historian and philosopher of science at MIT, Keller here focuses more explicitly on gender than in her Secrets of Life, Secrets of Death: Essays on Language, Gender, and Science (Routledge, 1992) or in Body/politics: Women and the Discourses of Science (Routledge, 1989), which she edited with Mary Jacobus and Sally Shuttleworth. In particular, she analyzes how the metaphors of information and communication technology affect biological research, especially in the field of genetics. Keller aims to broaden her focus here, which may disappoint some devoted fans. Recommended for history of science collections.
Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The focus of these three essays is the role of language and technology in the progress of genetic science. Drawing on a broad spectrum of theoretical work, Keller shows how scientists often operate from preconceived notions in seeking evidence; how it may be possible to reconcile the stability of genetic memory with the seemingly contrary law of increasing entropy; and why terminology introduced by the computer revolution influences recent discoveries in genetic research.

(Science News)

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Product Details

  • Series: The Wellek Library Lectures
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Reprint edition (April 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231102054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231102056
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,592,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book is sheer brilliance. The fact that it is taken from lectures may be the reason behind its clear and unpretentious language. But while clear and unpretentious, Professor Keller's reflections shows philosophy, or for that matter academics, in its simplest yet most currently significant form: rather than bombarded with theoretical jargon (read nonsense if you wish), the reader is presented with a history of a specific knowledge (the biologist's explanation of "life" in the early and mid 20th. century). The preface serves as an outline of how to read this book, and, when effective, sets the context for reading any similar epistemological analysis. Unlike many other "postmodern" philosophical works, this book fits beautifully in the context it sets. It is multi-dimensional - feminists, philosophers, biologists, and others will benefit from incisive commentary which is extremely pertinent to their field. As a work which is set (and sets itself) in the context of epistemological relativism, it has one drawback: within the next few years, I expect its relevance to shift, from work of contemporary genius and immediate relevance to harbinger of new epistomological foundations. Still, it is refreshing to read a work of genius by a living person; if you have not realized this yet, I recommend you take a few days to read this book and be enlightened . . .
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