On Beyond Living: Rhetorical Transformations of the Life Sciences

On Beyond Living: Rhetorical Transformations of the Life Sciences

by Richard Doyle
     
 

ISBN-10: 0804727651

ISBN-13: 9780804727655

Pub. Date: 07/01/1997

Publisher: Stanford University Press

What do biologists study when they study "life" today? Drawing on tools from rhetoric and poststructuralist theory, the author argues that the ascent of molecular biology, with its emphasis on molecules such as DNA rather than organisms, was enabled by crucial rhetorical "softwares." Metaphors such as the genetic "code" made possible a transformation of the very

…  See more details below

Overview

What do biologists study when they study "life" today? Drawing on tools from rhetoric and poststructuralist theory, the author argues that the ascent of molecular biology, with its emphasis on molecules such as DNA rather than organisms, was enabled by crucial rhetorical "softwares." Metaphors such as the genetic "code" made possible a transformation of the very concept of life, a transformation that often casts organisms as information systems.

With careful readings of key texts from the history of molecular biology—such as those of Erwin Schrödinger, George Gamow, Jacques Monod, and François Jacob—the author maps out the complex relations between the practices of rhetoric and the technoscientific triumphs they accompanied, triumphs that bolstered a "postvital" biology that increasingly elides and questions the boundary between organisms and machines.

There have been many popular books, and a few academic ones, on the Human Genome Initiatives. On Beyond Living is a genealogy of these initiatives, a map of how we have come to equate human beings with "information." Melding contemporary theory with scientific discourse, it is certain to provoke discussion (and controversy) in the fields of cultural studies, theory, and science with its penetrating inquiries into the relations between rhetoric and technoscience.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804727655
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Publication date:
07/01/1997
Series:
Writing Science Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
188
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

1The Sublime Object of Biology1
2Mr. Schrodinger Inside Himself: The Rhetorical Origins of the Genetic Code25
3From Codes to Words: George Gamow and the Age of the World Scripture39
4It's a Nucleic Acid World: Monod, Jacob, and Life's Future65
5Allergies of Reading: DNA, Language, and the Problem of Origins86
6Emergent Power: Vitality and Theology in Artificial Life109
Notes135
Bibliography163
Index171

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >