Constructed criticism

January 13, 1995

In trying to marginalise the sociology of scientific knowledge into its own little ghetto, Steven Weinberg ("A zing of truth", THES, January 6) asserts what he takes to be a forceful analogy -- that no one would write a book about mountaineering called Constructing Everest.

Of course one could write such a book and it would demonstrate the very issue that Weinberg (dis)misses: the class and nationality basis in the rise of Alpinism in the 19th century: the nationalistic rivalry in the conquest of physically remote sites; the romantic failure of Mallory and Irvine; the British triumph ushering in a New Elizabethan Age; the creation of a whole sub-technology devoted to high altitude climbing, etc, etc. Everest is nothing so simple as just a very high mountain. Indeed, The THES seems to recognise this, since in the same issue you have a picture of Everest captioned "Summit of ambition".

Hugh Robinson Computing department Open University

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE
Academic Director (Primary) ST MARYS UNIVERSITY, TWICKENHAM
Vice-Chancellor MASSEY UNIVERSITY
Operations Support Administrator CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT

Most Commented

Elderly woman looking up at sky

A recent paper claims that the quality of researchers declines with age. Five senior scientists consider the data and how they’ve contributed through the years

A keyboard with a 'donate' key

Richard Budd mulls the logic of giving money to your alma mater

Woman tearing up I can't sign

Schools and universities are increasingly looking at how improving personalities can boost social mobility. But in doing so, they may be forced to choose between teaching what is helpful, and what is true, says David Matthews

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration 19 May 2016

Tim Blackman’s vision of higher education for the 21st century is one in which students of varying abilities learn successfully together

Otto illustration (5 May 2016)

Craig Brandist on the proletarianisation of a profession and how it leads to behaviours that could hobble higher education