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Interpretive Communities

An idealized treatment of science envisions it as a sphere of activity in which there is no need for interpretation. The specialized terminology and systematic methodology of science creates an environment in which interlocutors understand each other so perfectly that they can dispense with the messy business of untangling each other's utterances. The precision of scientific communication allows the direct transfer of meaning from one mind to another, or so the story goes. The concept of the interpretive community can help to explain how communication within science can be so effective, designed to convey meaning between experts with so little ambiguity and confusion, and why that image of scientific communication does not always match the reality of how scientific texts are encountered.

Literary critic Stanley Fish ...

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