- Series: Objectivity
- Hardcover: 501 pages
- Publisher: Zone; 1 edition (September 28, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1890951781
- ISBN-13: 978-1890951788
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #909,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Objectivity 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
"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 )
"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
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).
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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. First is the understanding that science, as a SOCIAL entity, constantly innovates and refines through social consensus its philosophical understanding of the human relationship to a notion of truth and the means by which that truth might be accessed. This process is ongoing and never completely settled, because the community must debate and vet these positions through years and even generations of debate. Secondly, as a media studies scholar, I would point out the fundamental relationship between the notion of "objectivity" and its dependence on mechanical media to validate the discursive expunging of the subject from the act of observation. This is really, really key. This particular formation between the object, the observing subject (who nonetheless continues to be part of the observation whether or not the instrument is present), and the mechanical instrument through which we find different means of accessing (or constructing) the object represents a new trifecta in our relations with the world. And thirdly, it must be emphasized that the shifting popularity of the three positions or formations of the truth-and-representation paradigms DOES NOT indicate progress. Not only do all three of these paradigms STILL PERSIST, but they continue to operate in the laboratory in tandem, used to this day in different combinations and for different discursive aims. We have not left any of these positions behind, but rather accumulate them into the present.
In sum, I find this volume to be a fantastic good read. The historical evidence is rigorous and the analysis delightful. It really is an accomplishment in historical writing that is thoughtfully grounded in the material dimensions of scientific thinking.
Daston and Galison write, “Truth-to-nature and objectivity are both estimable epistemic virtues, but they differ from each other in ways that are consequential for how science is done and what kind of person one must be to do it” (pg. 58). Of their sources, they write, “There is no atlas in any field that does not pique itself on its fidelity to nature. But in order to decide whether an atlas picture is a faithful rendering of nature, the atlas maker must first decide what nature is” (pg. 66). In this way, “eighteenth century atlases demanded more than mere accuracy of detail. What was portrayed was as important as how it was portrayed, and atlas makers were expected to exercise judgment in both cases, even as they tried to eliminate the wayward judgments of their artists with grids, measurements, or the camera obscura” (pg. 79). Later ethical concerns about scientists’ imposing their will led to mechanical objectivity, which Daston and Galison define as “the insistent drive to repress the willful intervention of the artist-author, and to put in its stead a set of procedures that would, as it were, move nature to the page through a strict protocol, if not automatically” (pg. 121). They write, “Objectivity was an ideal, true, but it was a regulative one: an ideal never perfectly attained but consequential all the way down to the finest moves of the scientist’s pencil and the lithographer’s limestone” (pg. 143). Of its impact, Daston and Galison write, “Over the course of the nineteenth century other scientists – from botanists to zoocrystallographers, from astronomers probing the large to physicists poring over the small – began questioning their own disciplinary traditions of idealizing representation in preparing durable compendiums of images” (pg. 160).
Moving forward in time, Daston and Galison write, “By the middle decades of the nineteenth century, the epistemology and ethos of truth-to-nature had been supplemented (and, in some cases, superseded) by a new and powerful rival: mechanical objectivity. The new creed of objectivity permeated every aspect of science, from philosophical reflections on metaphysics and method to everyday techniques for making observations and images” (pg. 195). They continue, “Just as structural objectivity stretched the methods of mechanical objectivity beyond rules and representations, it carried the ethos of self-suppression to new extremes” (pg. 260). Daston and Galison write, “Slowly at first and then more frequently, twentieth-century scientists stressed the necessity of seeing scientifically through an interpretive eye; they were after an interpreted image that became, at the very least, a necessary addition to the perceived inadequacy of the mechanical one – but often they were more than that. The use of trained judgment in handling images became a guiding principle of atlas making in its own right” (pg. 311).
Entering the twentieth century, Daston and Galison write, “Early twentieth-century scientists reframed the scientific self. Increasingly, they made room in their exacting depictions for an unconscious, subjective element” (pg. 361). Finally, Daston and Galison conclude, “A history of knowledge that links epistemic virtues with distinctive selves of the knower traces a trajectory of a different shape from familiar histories of philosophy and science. Instead of a jagged break in the seventeenth century, in which knowledge is once and for all divorced from the person of the knower – the rupture that allegedly announces modernity – the curve is at once smoother and more erratic: smoother, because knowledge and knower never became completely decoupled; more erratic, because new selves and epistemic virtues, new ways of being and ways of knowing, appear at irregular intervals” (pg. 375).
Most recent customer reviews
18th century (classical) "four-eyed" sight -- truth-to-nature depiction;
19th century...Read more