Which metaphors for immunology?

Immune modeling

Many good articles have been published on the use of metaphor in science and in particular in biology (ref 1&2).

I will try to sum up a few questions about the metaphors used in immunology following the discussion of the conference given by Michel Morange at IHPST.

First, what are the metaphors used?

– The metaphor of the immune system being endowed with the mission of a police, or to make war : Indeed words such as “defence”, “attack”, etc…. are very frequently used. Even if immunologist will answer that they are aware that it is a metaphor, I am worried about the effect of such large use. Even if the metaphor may be discussed by the community, this does not appear to the general public that is only exposed to this war or police metaphor. One example shows that it is even the way of presenting immunology that is…

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One response to “Which metaphors for immunology?

  1. Okay, here’s some food for thought. You hear people talk about the “logical fallacy of using metaphors” to prove a point, and that evidence rather than metaphors should be used to prove.

    However, at the same time metaphors can help get meaning across where literal language struggles and might be confusing.

    So how do you conceptualize all this as far as communication goes? If you want to be as honest/integrity as possible, but also be a decent communicator and not have people lost?

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