Subjectivity and emotion in scientific research

Authors
Jeff Kochan
Universität Konstanz
Abstract
A persistent puzzle for philosophers of science is the well-documented appeal made by scientists to their aesthetic emotions in the course of scientific research. Emotions are usually viewed as irremediably subjective, and thus of no epistemological interest. Yet, by denying an epistemic role for scientists’ emotional dispositions, philosophers find themselves in the awkward position of ignoring phenomena which scientists themselves often insist are of importance. This paper suggests a possible solution to this puzzle by challenging the wholesale identification of emotion with subjectivity. The proposed method is a naturalistic and externalist one, calling for empirical investigation into the intersubjective processes by which scientists’ emotional dispositions become refined and attuned to specific objects of attention. The proposal is developed through a critical discussion of Michael Polanyi’s theory of scientific passions, as well as plant geneticist Barbara McClintock’s celebrated “feeling for the organism.”.
Keywords subjectivity  aesthetic emotion  scientific research  intersubjectivity  Michael Polanyi  Barbara McClintock
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2013.05.003
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References found in this work BETA

Love and Knowledge: Emotion in Feminist Epistemology.Alison M. Jaggar - 1989 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):151 – 176.
Anti-Latour.D. Bloor - 1999 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 30 (1):81-112.
Anti-Latour.David Bloor - 1999 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 30 (1):81-112.

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Citations of this work BETA

Putting a Spin on Circulating Reference, or How to Rediscover the Scientific Subject.Jeff Kochan - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 49:103-107.
Objective Styles in Northern Field Science.Jeff Kochan - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 52:1-12.
Reason, Emotion, and the Context Distinction.Jeff Kochan - 2015 - Philosophia Scientae 19:35-43.

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Reason, Emotion, and the Context Distinction.Jeff Kochan - 2015 - Philosophia Scientiae 19 (1):35-43.
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Unconscious Subjectivity.Joseph U. Neisser - 2006 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 12.
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