Foundations of Science 18 (1):75-91 (2013)

Robert Rosenberger
Georgia Institute of Technology
The philosophical tradition of phenomenology, with its focus on human bodily perception, can be used to explore the ways scientific instrumentation shapes a user’s experience. Building on Don Ihde’s account of technological embodiment, I develop a framework of concepts for articulating the experience of image interpretation in science. These concepts can be of practical value to the analysis of scientific debates over image interpretation for the ways they draw out the relationships between the image-making processes and the rival scientific explanations of image content. As a guiding example, I explore a contemporary debate over images of the surface of Mars which reveal a landmass that resembles river delta formations on Earth, and which thus has important implications for the history of Martian climate and water flow. The phenomenological framework I develop can be used to help evaluate the different interpretations on offer for these images, and to analyze the roles in this discussion played by spacecraft equipped with cameras and laser and thermal imaging devices
Keywords Mars Global Surveyor  Postphenomenology  Hermeneutics  Scientific imaging  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter  Eberswalde
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DOI 10.1007/s10699-012-9286-7
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Pandora’s Hope.Bruno Latour - 1998 - Harvard University Press.

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