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Ett genis trovärdighet: En retorisk analys av Albert Einsteins vetenskapliga ethos
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.
2018 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
The Credibility of a Genius : A Rhetorical Analysis of Albert Einstein's Scientific Ethos (English)
Abstract [en]

Albert Einstein published the English translation of Relativity: The Special and General Theory in the midst of two big events in 1920: the confirmation of the two theories of relativity and spacetime in 1919 and the Nobel prize in physics in 1921. The new global celebrity wanted to make the theories intelligible and readable for an international English-speaking audience, an audience that also included antagonistic scientists and even anti-Semites. The aim of this thesis is to do a rhetorical analysis of Einstein’s character, his ethos, in Relativity, with a specific focus on creation of credibility in regard to his historical context: scientific ideals, values and norms as well as the political and cultural tendencies in Europe during the early 20th century. This was done firstly by identifying the implied auditor. Secondly, based on the material, I have identified three stereotypes or characters – the professional idealist, the mentor and the internationalist –  which emphases different features and capacities that are crucial for the credibility of the text. Thirdly, by using these stereotypes and in regard to the specific historical context, I investigated how Einstein developed his primary ethos into a secondary ethos in the text. The rhetorical analysis of Einstein’s Relativity shows that his ethos stands in relation to the social and cultural perception of the virtuous epistemic scientist; to fight prejudices regarding being a Jewish-German theoretical physicist; and, noteworthy, a way to produce a well-needed international space – a crucial alternative to continue the positivistic knowledge production counter to the nationalistic project.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 78
Keywords [en]
rhetoric of science, rhetoric of inquiry, ethos, prior and secondary ethos, implied auditor, Albert Einstein, special and general theory of relativity, science, theoretical physics, scientific ideal and norms, epistemic virtues, nationalism, anti-Semitism, genre, popular science, popularization
Keywords [sv]
retorik, vetenskapsretorik, ethos, primär och-sekundärethos, föreställd publik, Albert Einstein, allmäna och speciella relativitetsteorin, vetenskap, teoretisk fysik, vetenskapliga ideal, epistemologiska dygder, nationalism, internationalism, antisemitism, genre, populärvetenskap, popularisering
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-354326OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-354326DiVA, id: diva2:1221024
Subject / course
Rhetoric
Educational program
Master Programme in the Humanities - Rhetoric
Presentation
2018-05-30, Litteraturvetenskapliga Institutionen, Uppsala universitet, Uppsala, 15:20 (Swedish)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-20 Created: 2018-06-19 Last updated: 2018-06-20Bibliographically approved

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