RE: craft vs. science vs. art

Subject: RE: craft vs. science vs. art
From: "walden miller" <wmiller -at- vidiom -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 16:07:14 -0600

Dick writes:
The best a process can do is formalize the state of one person's (or a
committee's, perhaps) experience, judgment, and intuition at one point in
time. Perhaps a process can include a mechanism for improvement based on
experience, but it can never be proactively innovative. If you want
innovation, you want craft.
<< end of snip>>

OR art.

I find it interesting that the discussion is between science and craft. My
wife is a potter (she has a degree in Fine Arts (ceramics) from CM). She
likes pottery being classified as a craft. Her process includes chemistry
(definitely a science), design, and playfulness. Her reasons have to do with
the concept of women's art or women's crafts... All in all, I would classify
her work as art, regardless of her preference.

Technical writing is the art of applying communication rhetoric to a
specific problem. Not a science; not a craft. We persuade readers to agree
with us or at least with what we write. We persuade readers to actually
read. Our art changes from year to year (remember when lines and shading in
tables were "in"). We pander to taste and we often lead readers toward
better taste (hopefully). What is successful in one document fails
miserably in another.

As Dick pointed out (quite elequantly), "Judgment and intuition come into
play. Judgment and intuition are bought through experience, broad exposure
to the ideas of others and the traditional practices of the craft, and

I would just substitute art for craft.


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RE: craft vs. science: From: Dick Margulis

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