Making the Visual Visible in Philosophy of Science

Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):106-114 (2012)
As data-intensive and computational science become increasingly established as the dominant mode of conducting scientific research, visualisations of data and of the outcomes of science become increasingly prominent in mediating knowledge in the scientific arena. This position piece advocates that more attention should be paid to the epistemological role of visualisations beyond their being a cognitive aid to understanding, but as playing a crucial role in the formation of evidence for scientific claims. The new generation of computational and informational visualisations and imaging techniques challenges the philosophy of science to re-think its position on three key distinctions: the qualitative/quantitative distinction, the subjective/objective distinction, and the causal/non-causal distinction.
Keywords philosophy of science  philosophy of technology  scientific visualisation  scientific images
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DOI 10.4245/sponge.v6i1.16141
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