Why Images?

Medicine Studies 2 (3):161-173 (2010)
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Given that many imaging technologies in biology and medicine are non-optical and generate data that is essentially numerical, it is a striking feature of these technologies that the data generated using them are most frequently displayed in the form of semi-naturalistic, photograph-like images. In this paper, I claim that three factors underlie this: (1) historical preferences, (2) the rhetorical power of images, and (3) the cognitive accessibility of data presented in the form of images. The third of these can be argued to provide an epistemic advantage to images, but I will further argue that this is often misleading and that images can in many cases be less informative than the corresponding mathematical data



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Megan Delehanty
University of Calgary

References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Patterns of discovery.Norwood Russell Hanson - 1958 - Cambridge [Eng.]: University Press.
Patterns of Discovery.Norwood R. Hanson, A. D. Ritchie & Henryk Mehlberg - 1960 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (40):346-349.
Making Sense of Life.Evelyn Fox Keller - 2002 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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