This article examines the notion of the `scientist as a moral person' in the light of the early stages of the commodification of science and the transformation of research into a big enterprise, operating on the principle of the division of labour. These processes were set in train at the end of the 19th century. The article focuses on the concomitant changes in the public persona and the habitus of scientific entrepreneurs. I begin by showing the significance of the professional (...) networks that were built up and maintained to further a group's research ideas and the careers of its members, thus demonstrating one condition on which depended their practice of science and their ability to earn a living. This leads to a characterization of the changing styles of work, thought and life, and to a consideration of public perceptions and of the ways in which a new self-image of scholarship and science was fashioned. A critical discussion of the public role of these mandarin scientists follows in order to highlight the strains created by the commodification of science at a time of international tensions and conflicts, when shared beliefs in scholarly cosmopolitanism were subverted by appeals to science and scholarship to work in the service of one's own nation as its `courtiers'. Various considerations of peculiar analogies between national styles of research and the style of social organization are then noted. In the final section, the article queries the long-term impact of these developments on the ideal of the scientist as a `moral person'. Taking a cue from Max Weber and pursuing reflections by Zygmunt Bauman on `science moralized', I argue that the emergence of a type of `specialists without spirit' was an unintended but fatal consequence of the changes in research practices promoted by scientific entrepreneurs such as Du Bois-Reymond. I conclude that the temptation to sever the ties to a general ethos of civil virtues lay in the rationalization, specialization and potential de-humanization of the objectifying scientific outlook once advocated for its efficiency. (shrink)
The late 19th century debate among German-speaking physicists about theoretical entities is often regarded as foreshadowing the scientific realism debate. This paper brings out differences between them by concentrating on the part of the earlier debate that was concerned with the conceptual consistency of the competing conceptions of matter—mainly, but not exclusively, of atomism. Philosophical antinomies of atomism were taken up by Emil Du Bois-Reymond in an influential lecture in 1872. Such challenges to the consistency of atomism had repercussions (...) within the physics community, as can be shown for the examples of Heinrich Hertz and Ludwig Boltzmann. The latter developed a series of counter-arguments, culminating in an ingenious attempt to turn the tables on the critics of atomism and prove the inconsistency of non-atomistic conceptions of nature. Underlying this controversy is a disagreement over specific goals of physical research which was considered crucially relevant to the further course of physical inquiry. It thereby exemplifies an attitude towards the realism issue that can be contrasted with a different, more neutral attitude of construing the realism issue as merely philosophical and indifferent with respect to concrete research programs in physics, which one also occasionally finds expressed in the 19th century controversy and which may be seen as the prevailing attitude of the 20th century debate. (shrink)
Cauchy’s contribution to the foundations of analysis is often viewed through the lens of developments that occurred some decades later, namely the formalisation of analysis on the basis of the epsilon-delta doctrine in the context of an Archimedean continuum. What does one see if one refrains from viewing Cauchy as if he had read Weierstrass already? One sees, with Felix Klein, a parallel thread for the development of analysis, in the context of an infinitesimal-enriched continuum. One sees, with Emile Borel, (...) the seeds of the theory of rates of growth of functions as developed by Paul du Bois-Reymond. One sees, with E. G. Björling, an infinitesimal definition of the criterion of uniform convergence. Cauchy’s foundational stance is hereby reconsidered. (shrink)
This paper addresses the visual culture of late-19th-century experimental physiology. Taking the case of Johann Nepomuk Czermak (1828-1873) as a key example, it argues that images played a crucial role in acquiring experimental physiological skills. Czermak, Emil Du Bois-Reymond (1818-1896) and other late-19th-century physiologists sought to present the achievements and perspective of their discipline by way of "immediate visual perception (unmittelbare Anschauung)." However, the images they produced and presented for this purpose were strongly mediated. By means of specifically designed (...) instruments, such as the "cardioscope," the "contraction telegraph," and the "frog pistol," and of specifically constructed rooms, so-called "spectatoriums," physiologists trained and controlled the perception of their students before allowing them to conduct experiments on their own. Studying the material culture of physiological image production reveals that technological resources such as telegraphy, photography, and even railways contributed to making physiological facts anschaulich. At the same time, it shows that the more traditional image techniques of anatomy played an important role in physiological lecture halls, especially when it came to displaying the details of vivisection experiments to the public. Thus, the images of late 19th century physiology stood half-way between machines and organisms, between books and instruments. (shrink)
This article is concerned with interactions between the natural and the human sciences. It examines a specific late 19th-century episode in their relationship and argues that the schism between the two branches of knowledge was due to cognitive factors, but consolidated through the social dynamics of institutionalized disciplines. It contends that the assignment of a social function to the human sciences to compensate for the self-destructive tendencies inherent in the technological society was expressed even by those, at the end of (...) the 19th century, who were fervent advocates of a science- and technology-driven modernization. (shrink)
I argue that standard explanations of Du Bois’ theory of race (either as a biological kind or as a social construction) inappropriately characterize his view as solely attempting to provide a descriptive criteria for races. Such an interpretation makes it both susceptible to Appiah’s circularity objection and alienates it from Du Bois’ central project of solidarity—which is the central point of ‘Conservation’. I propose that we should understand his theory as providing a normative account of race: an attempt to characterize (...) what some races should be in terms of what other races are. In providing such an account I will also show how my interpretation of Du Bois’ criteria avoids the circularity objection by making the criteria central to the project of solidarity. Thus, this interpretation avoids what I take to be the two main problems with standard descriptive explanations of Du Bois’ criteria. (shrink)
We analyze the developments in mathematical rigor from the viewpoint of a Burgessian critique of nominalistic reconstructions. We apply such a critique to the reconstruction of infinitesimal analysis accomplished through the efforts of Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass; to the reconstruction of Cauchy’s foundational work associated with the work of Boyer and Grabiner; and to Bishop’s constructivist reconstruction of classical analysis. We examine the effects of a nominalist disposition on historiography, teaching, and research.
The widespread idea that infinitesimals were “eliminated” by the “great triumvirate” of Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass is refuted by an uninterrupted chain of work on infinitesimal-enriched number systems. The elimination claim is an oversimplification created by triumvirate followers, who tend to view the history of analysis as a pre-ordained march toward the radiant future of Weierstrassian epsilontics. In the present text, we document distortions of the history of analysis stemming from the triumvirate ideology of ontological minimalism, which identified the continuum (...) with a single number system. Such anachronistic distortions characterize the received interpretation of Stevin, Leibniz, d’Alembert, Cauchy, and others. (shrink)
: In this essay, I contend that feminist theories of citizenship in the U.S. context must go beyond simply acknowledging the importance of race and grapple explicitly with the legacies of slavery. To sketch this case, I draw upon W.E.B. Du Bois's "The Damnation of Women," which explores the significance for all Americans of African American women's sexual, economic, and political lives under slavery and in its aftermath.
Positioning Du Bois's arguments in The Souls of Black Folk (1903) within social theory enhances our understanding of the phenomenological dimensions of racial oppression and of how oppressed groups build on members' differences, as well as on what they share, to construct a cosmopolitan and richly textured community. Du Bois wrote Souls just at the beginning of the Great Migration but indicated that geographical dispersion would deepen racial solidarity, enhance the meaningfulness of community, and emancipate individual group members through participation (...) in mainstream society while maintaining their black identity. Du Bois's writings have powerful implications for understanding how to promote racial justice, and contemporary readers might consider that they have implications for social justice more generally. An analysis of black newspapers that were published during the period of 1900 to 1935 illustrates how Du Bois's conceptions were woven into discourse and everyday practices. (shrink)
Pragmatism has affected American historical writing since the early twentieth century. Such contemporaries and students of Peirce, James, and Dewey as Frederick Jackson Turner, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Harvey Robinson, Charles Beard, Mary Beard, and Carl Becker drew on pragmatism when they fashioned what was called the “new history.” They wanted to topple inherited assumptions about the past and replace positivist historical methods with the pragmatists' model of a community of inquiry. Such widely read mid-twentieth-century historians as Merle (...) Curti, Henry Steele Commager, and Richard Hofstadter embraced the perspectivalism, fallibilism, and instrumentalism of the pragmatists, thereby helping to sustain the tradition during its nadir in American philosophy departments. Many historians have been drawn to the study of pragmatism during its recent renaissance; others have advanced pragmatist-inspired philosophies of history. Through such prominent contemporary historians as Thomas Haskell, David Hollinger, and Joyce Appleby, the ideas of Pierce, James, and Dewey continue to influence the historical profession. (shrink)
While psychoanalysis credits the entrenchment of systems of subordination to the necessity of socialization and the transmission of dominant values from parent to child, by claiming social symbolics independent of the dominant hegemony, W.E.B. Du Bois calls for resistant forms of identification. Psychoanalyticaccounts of social power relations often assume that the dominant social group produces the only operative social symbolic and that this symbolic is also identical with the nation, but Du Bois’s attention to the slave song allows him to (...) trace the burial of a black American symbolic rather than a traumatic inculcation of the dominant white symbolic. (shrink)
In this essay, I contend that feminist theories of citizenship in the U.S. context must go beyond simply acknowledging the importance of race and grapple explicitly with the legacies of slavery. To sketch this case, I draw upon W.E.B. Du Bois's "The Damnation of Women," which explores the significance for all Americans of African American women's sexual, economic, and political lives under slavery and in its aftermath.
Both Ralph Waldo Emerson's and W. E. B. Du Bois' firstborn sons tragically died at very young ages. Drawing from the essays where they write about their grief, I explore Du Bois' "subversion" and "revision" of Emerson's thought by contrasting their visual metaphors: Emerson's "focal distancing" and Du Bois' practice of "second sight" and seeing through "the Veil." I show how the disruptive particular event of the deaths of their sons causes both to challenge the idealist elements of their respective (...) gazes. I draw upon Theodor Adorno to explore the larger lessons of these reconsiderations. In recognizing the seductive dangers of the idealist gaze and the value of the disruptive particular, Adorno explicitly theorizes what Emerson and Du Bois also come to appreciate, in a less overt way, in their moments of loss. (shrink)
This article reports on a study of interaction between Americans who self-identify as Black and White that reveals underlying expectations with regard to conversation that differ between the two groups. These differences seem not to have much to do with class or gender, but rather vary largely according to self-identification by "race." The argument of this paper will be that the social phenomena of "race" are constructed at the level of interaction whenever Americans self-identified as Black and White speak to (...) one another. This is because the Interaction Order expectations with regard to both self and community vary between the two groups. Because the "language games" and conversational "preferences" practiced by the two groups are responsive to different Interaction Orders, the "working consensus" is substantially different, and as a consequence, conversational "moves" are not recognizably the same. It will be argued that a great deal of institutional discrimination against African Americans can be traced to this source. (shrink)
Perelman’s view of the role of persons in argument is one of the most distinctive features of his break with Cartesian assumptions about reasoning. Whereas the rationalist paradigm sought to minimize or eliminate personal considerations by dismissing them as distracting and irrelevant, Perelman insists that argumentation inevitably does and ought to place stress on the specific persons engaged in an argument and that the relationship between speaker and what is spoken is always relevant and important. In taking this position, Perelman (...) implicitly revives the classical conception of proof by character (ethos or “ethotic” argument), but despite an extended discussion of act and person in argument, The New Rhetoric does not give much consideration to the classical concept and confuses differing approaches to it within the tradition. The result is that Perelman treats the role of the speaker in argument only by reference to abstract techniques and does not recognize the importance of examining particular cases in order to thicken understanding of how ethotic argument works in the complex, situated context of its actual use. Consequently, Perelman’s account of the role of persons in argument should be supplement by reference to case studies, and to that end, I consider ethotic argument in W.E.B. Du Bois’ famous essay “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others”. (shrink)