Accommodating science fahnestock
This article explores the concept of hedging and examines its different forms, frequencies, and functions in medical research articles.
In the article “Accommodating Science: The Rhetorical Life of Scientific Facts”, Jeanne Fahnestock gives scientific research and exploration a rhetorical purpose.
Pairing articles from two AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) publications reveals the changes that inevitably occur in “information” as it passes from one rhetorical situation to another.
Scientific reports belong to the genre of forensic arguments, affirming the validity of past facts, the experimental data.
The changes in genre and the status of information that occur between scientific articles and their popularizations can also be explained by classical stasis theory.
Anything addressed to readers as members of the general public will inevitably move through the four stasis questions from fact and cause to value and action.
Fahnestock is a Fellow of the Rhetoric Society of America (co-organizing its conference in 2000) and has served on the Council of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric.
Science accommodations emphasize the uniqueness, rarity, originality of observations, removing hedges and qualifications and thus conferring greater certainty on the reported facts.Deliberative scientific reports were not touched on much at all in this article, except that these report suggest connection to future findings or other scientific reports, giving the findings currency.Although, Fahnestock placed a great amount of emphasis on the third method of scientific report, which is epideictic.Because of potential opposition to such claims, however, and the uncertain status of much medical knowledge, writers often need to present their claims cautiously, accurately, and modestly to meet the exacting expectations of a skeptical disciplinary community.As a result, hedges are commonplace in medical writing because they express possibility rather than certainty and deference rather than overconfidence.