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Objectivity Paperback – November 5, 2010

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1890951795 ISBN-10: 189095179X

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Editorial Reviews


"This richly illustrated book deeply renews the meaning of accurate reproduction by showing how many ways there have been to be 'true to nature.' Art, science, and reproduction techniques are merged to show that 'things in themselves' can be presented with their vast and beautiful company. This splendid book will be for many years the ultimate compendium on the joint history of objectivity and visualization." -- Bruno Latour, author of Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy

(Bruno Latour)

"This is a deeply researched book that will make you think. It is beautiful, and it is important....I recommend it to anyone -- optimist or pessimist, female or male -- with a healthy dash of curiosity and a cranium." -- Oren Harman, Bar Ilan University, Israel, The European Legacy

"As Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison point out in their capacious and engaging study of the concept of scientific objectivity from the 17th century to the present day, the universal form is key to understanding how modern science moved from the study of curiosities, through the representations of perfect, notional specimens, to a concept of objectivity as responsibility for science." Brian Dillon Modern Painters

"The author's argument here is complicated but fascinating (and, because the argument is about images, the book is beautiful)." Science

"This is a surprising, engrossing book that treats humanity's struggle to unsnarl the world and itself as a field of endless turmoil and fascination." Rain Taxi

"We need history of science in the style of Daston and Galison: a history of science that commands the details but at the same time discerns the shape of larger developmentsand that makes us realize just how many meanings have been packed into the little word 'objectivity,' which rolls so trippingly off the tongue." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

About the Author

Lorraine Daston is Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany. She is the coauthor of Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 and the editor of Things That Talk: Object Lessons from Art and Science (both Zone Books).

Peter Galison is Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University. He is the author of Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time, How Experiments End, and Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics, among other books, and coeditor (with Emily Thompson) of The Architecture of Science (MIT Press, 1999).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 501 pages
  • Publisher: Zone Books (November 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189095179X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890951795
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Xuan on December 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Objectivity represents the culmination of years of research on the part of Lorraine J. Daston and Peter Galison - two of the best science historians today. This volume is an amazing read for anyone interested in science studies, history of science and technology, and even media studies. I read this whole book for my Ph.D qualifying exams. It's absolutely riveting.

In sum, the book covers three major movements in the institution of science regarding notions of truth and representation. The idea of scientific objectivity is actually a very recent phenomenon. What we usually forget is that the community and historical institution of research science has always been a SOCIAL phenomenon, and thus subject to change over time that reflects the evolving relationship between human actors and their understanding of the world. Objectivity, in the sense of removing the inherent error in human subjectivity and observation from the process of scientific judgement, has not always been a part of the way the scientific community approaches data. It only arose around the invention of the film camera, which allowed scientists to slow down and capture moments of phenomena that occurred too quickly for the human eye to observe in process. As a consequence, the scientific community began to move away from idealized renderings of the natural world and move towards mechanical observation using scientific instruments. Over time, scientists found drawbacks to the purely mechanical approach to observation, moving towards another hybrid view that privileged scientific judgement instead.

What I would encourage you to take away from a reading of this book is three-fold.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Book Bear on May 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a very interesting, and entertaining, exposition on the history of what we now call scientific objectivity. It explores the definitions of the objective, subjective, and their pre-kantian and post-kantian meanings in the context of the evolution of the social construction of scientific objectivity. These few words cannot do this great book proper justice but there are very few books, that when I finish, I immediately begin to read again. This was one of them.
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This book should be required reading for university students, the world over. Many students are so entrenched in ideology, the objectivity of their own carefully constructed reality is rarely questioned. This reading will certainly give you a some guidelines to arrive at an objective "truth."
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