Human ecology
Mathematics education
Research methodology in mathematics education
Notes - 2/10/00

Exercise 2 - Metaphors for the researcher

Which of the following metaphors suits you best? Why?
Which metaphor suits you least? Why?

Scientist I still think of myself as a scientist even though I am not sure of the validity of some scientific arguments. On the one hand, I am still interested in the 'objects' of the sciences: stars, planets and nebulae in astronomy; exotic bacteria and alternative metabolic pathways in biology, etc. On the other hand, I am unsure of certain conceptions of objectivity in the sciences. As an ecologist, I recognise a difficulty in separating an organism from its surroundings. (There is a further problem separating the results of an organism's actions from its environmental context.) Similarly, in biology as least, it may be impossible to find a separation between the observer and the observed.

My current perception of science is that an absolute objectivity is impossible but that subjective relationships exist between material objects and that these subjective relationships are embodied in material objects. For example Oxygen is a material object but it has different meanings (relationships) for different organisms. Oxygen can be essential for some forms of life and highly poisonous to other forms. Exploring invisible worlds could mean discovering an objective world, it could also mean indentifying the material embodiments of a subjective world.

TV producer


Social reformer

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Created 2/10/00
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