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The Third Lens – Metaphor and the Creation of Modern Cell Biology - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The Third Lens: Metaphor and the Creation of Modern Cell Biology

Andrew S. Reynolds


It is a popular belief that science is supposed to provide a literally or objectively true account of the world. Philosophers call this the thesis of scientific realism. Yet an inspection of the actual language used by scientists reveals that it is full of metaphor. Metaphor, it is frequently said, provides 'a lens through which we see the world.' What does this mean for the question of scientific realism? Is this lens objective or does it distort reality? By tracing the history of key metaphors in the development of cell theory and cell biology, and analyzing the valuable cognitive work they ... More

Keywords: metaphor, cell, cell theory, cell biology, scientific realism, explanation

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780226563121
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226563435.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Andrew S. Reynolds, author
Cape Breton University