Between Scientists & Citizens

Posts Tagged ‘ethos

Three little words so hard to say

with 2 comments

Our science communication team here at Iowa State is having fun interviewing scientists about their communication challenges, as part of our NSF funded work to develop cases for teaching responsible communication of science.

Here’s one situation that’s come up a couple of times in our talks.  A scientist is making a presentation to a public (non-specialist) audience.  She’s asked a question relevant in a general way to her topic, but outside of her immediate research area.  She remembers reading something about it, but isn’t quite sure of the answer.  What should she say?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jeangoodwin

November 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Posted in cases

Tagged with ,

How to insult

with 12 comments

Judith Curry has recently brought up both the Bard and insults–a thought-provoking intersection.

Once upon Shakespeare’s time, the art of disagreement was pursued with elegance.  Degrees of challenge were measured out by the book, as one of his characters explains:

as thus, sir. I did dislike the cut of a certain courtier’s beard: he sent me word, if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in the mind it was: this is called the Retort Courteous.  If I sent him word again ‘it was not well cut,’ he would send me word, he cut it to please himself: this is called the Quip Modest.  If again ‘it was not well cut,’ he disabled my judgment: this is called the Reply Churlish.  If again ‘it was not well cut,’ he would answer, I spake not true: this is called the Reproof Valiant.  If again ‘it was not well cut,’ he would say I lied: this is called the Counter-cheque Quarrelsome: and so to the Lie Circumstantial and the Lie Direct.

As You Like It V.4

Alas, we’ve mostly lost that art, especially in the blogosphere.  Disagreements proceed pretty quickly to the Lie Direct.  That’s dull!  Let’s review the wisdom of Touchstone the Fool to recover more sophisticated practices.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jeangoodwin

August 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Who is “Jean Goodwin”?

with 10 comments

Pathos (emotion), logos (reasoning), and ethos (character)–for persuasion, these three;  but the greatest of these (according to Aristotle at least) is ethos.  Work across the sprawling contemporary discipline of communication agrees;  “source factors” like knowledgeability, credibility and likeability play a key role in getting a message across.

This raises the hope that some of our bitter public disputes over science might be resolved, if only we could find the right messenger;  a scientist whose conspicuous dignity, integrity and authority would make him (or her) trusted by all sides in the dispute.

Alas, even if we could locate such a scientist-saint, this communication strategy would be unlikely to work.  Read on to see how my own recent blogospheric experiences suggest why.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jeangoodwin

July 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Posted in discourse analysis

Tagged with ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.