Machine Metaphors: Some Reflections

Raf de Bont*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


This essay welcomes Frans van Lunteren's synthetic history of science, constructed around four machine metaphors, as didactically straightforward and intellectually stimulating. It also develops some critical reflections. These concern the Western character of the metaphors in question, the extent to which they can capture disciplinary variation and long-term continuities, their performative character, and the ways they build up to a long-term narrative. The essay ends by expressing the hope that Van Lunteren's suggestions can reinvigorate the historical discussion on ways to write sensible "big histories" of modern science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-799
Number of pages4
JournalISIS. An International Review Devoted to the History of Science and its Cultural Influences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016




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