Objectivity

DASTON Lorraine, GALISON Peter

Objectivity

New York : Zone books, 2010, 1 vol. (501 p.-[46] p. de pl.).

ISBN 978-1-890951-79-5

MOND 497

Résumé :

Objectivity has a history, and it is full of surprises. Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison chart the emergence of objectivity in the mid-nineteenth-century sciences – and show how the concept differs from alternatives, truth-to-nature and trained judgment. This is a story of lofty epistemic ideals fused with workaday pratices in the making of scientific images.
From the eighteenth through the early twenty-first centuries, the images that reveal the deepest commitments of the empirical sciences – from anatomy to crystallography – are those featured in scientif atlases : the compendia that teach practitioners of a discipline what is worth looking at and how to look at it. Atlas images define the working objects of the sciences of the eye : snowflakes, galaxies, skeletons, elementary particles. Galison and Daston use atlas images to uncover a hidden history of scientific objectivity and its rivals. Whether an atlas maker idealizes an image to capture the essentials in the name of truth-to-nature or refuses to erase even the most incidental detail in the name of objectivity or highlights patterns in the name of trained judgment is a decision enforced by an ethos as well as by an epistemology.
As Daston and Galison argue, atlases shape the subjects as well as the objects of science. To pursue objectivity – or truth-to-nature or trained judgment – is simultaneously to cultivate a distinctive scientific self wherein knowing and knower converge. The point at which they visibly converge is in the very act of seeing – not as a separate individual but as a member of a particular scientific community. Embedded in the atlas image are the traces of consequential choices about knowledge, persona, and collective sight. Objectivity is a book addressed to any one interested in the elusive and crucial notion of objectivity – and in what it means to peer into the world scientifically.

Table des matières :

Prologue : Objectivity shock

I. Epistemologies of the eye
Blind sight
Collective empiricism
Objectivity is new
Histories of the scientific self
Epistemic virtues
The argument
Objectivity in shirtsleeves

II. Truth-to-nature
Before objectivity
Taming nature’s variability
The idea in the observation
Four-eyed sight
Drawing from nature
Truth-to-Nature after objetivity

III. Mechanical objectivity
Seeing clear
Photography as science and art
Automatic images and blind sight
Drawing against photography
Self-surveillance
Ethics of objectivity

IV. The scientific self
Why objectivity ?
The scientific subject
Kant among the scientists
Scientific personas
Observation and attention
Knower and knowledge

V. Structural objectivity
Objectivity without images
The objective science of mind
The real, the objective, and the communicable
The color of subjectivity
What even a god could not say
Dreams of a neutral language
The cosmic community

VI. Trained judgment
The uneasiness of mechanical reproduction
Accuracy should not be sacrificed to objectivity
The art of judgment
Practives and the scientific self

VII. Representation to presentation
Seeing is being : truth, objectivity, and judgment
Seeing is making : nanofacture
Right depiction

Axe de recherches :

  • Axe transversal : Cultures visuelles

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