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

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Track runner slow off the starting blocks

Lack of independent working blamed for difficulties making the leap from undergraduate to doctoral work

Quality under magnifying glass

Hefce's new standards regime will enable universities to focus on what matters to students, says Susan Lapworth

A keyboard with a 'donate' key

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

Long queue

Lobbying intensifies ahead of Lord Stern's review of crucial assessment into university research performance

Elly Walton illustration (21 April 2016)

Many Italians have refused to take part in the country’s research assessment exercise. Alberto Baccini and Giuseppe De Nicolao consider the protest’s impact