Re: craft vs. science

Subject: Re: craft vs. science
From: anita legsdin <anita -dot- legsdin -at- watchmark -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 09:26:18 -0700

I'm surprised that in all this discussion, few of us who use words for
our living brought up the roots, the origins of the terms.

The word "craft" originates from Middle English with connotations of
strength (German "kraft"), skill in planning, making, or executing, and
verbal skill (a crafty person). The origins of the word science involve
"knowledge or a system of knowledge." [credits go to Merriam-Webster
online.] To me, a scientist is one who studies and learns--the actions
are passive and observational, rather than active. Scientists do produce
journals documenting their study, but their primary goal is the study
itself, the attainment of enlightenment and understanding. Although the
start of every technical writing project involves study, observation,
and learning, I prefer to call myself a craftsperson. The active role of
a creator is much more satisfying.

Besides, is the sculptor a scientist because s/he studies anatomy? The
study is only a means to the end of producing something tangible--in our
case, a web page or a manual.

Anita Legsdin
Sr. Technical Writer
(425) 564-8135

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick
themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."
- Sir Winston Churchill

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