Objectivity has a history, and it is full of surprises. In Objectivity, Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison chart the emergence of objectivity in the mid-nineteenth-century sciences--and show how the concept differs from its alternatives, truth-to-nature and trained judgment. This is a story of lofty epistemic ideals fused with workaday practices 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 (...) scientific atlases, the compendia that teach practitioners what is worth looking at and how to look at it. 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. Moreover, the very 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, therefore, are the traces of consequential choices about knowledge, persona, and collective sight. Objectivity is a book addressed to anyone interested in the elusive and crucial notion of objectivity-- and in what it means to peer into the world scientifically. Lorraine Daston is Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany. She is the coauthor of Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 and the editor of Things That Talk: Object Lessons from Art and Science. Peter Galison is Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University. He is the author of Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time, How Experiments End, and Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics, and other books, and coeditor of The Architecture of Science. (shrink)
Is science unified or disunified? This collection brings together contributions from prominent scholars in a variety of scientific disciplines to examine this important theoretical question. They examine whether the sciences are, or ever were, unified by a single theoretical view of nature or a methodological foundation and the implications this has for the relationship between scientific disciplines and between science and society.
In surveying the field of history and philosophy of science , it may be more useful just now to pose some key questions than it would be to lay out the sundry competing attempts to unify H and P. The ten problems this essay presents are grounded in a range of work of enormous interest—historical and philosophical work that has made use of productive categories of analysis: context, historicism, purity, and microhistory, to name but a few. What kind of account (...) are we after—historically and philosophically—when we attempt to address science not as a vacuous generality but in its specific, local formation? (shrink)
On 15 October 1959, Rudolf Carnap, a leading member of the recently founded Vienna Circle, came to lecture at the Bauhaus in Dessau, southwest of Berlin. Carnap had just finished his magnum opus, The Logical Construction of the World, a book that immediately became the bible of the new antiphilosophy announced by the logical positivists. From a small group in Vienna, the movement soon expanded to include an international following, and in the sixty years since has exerted a powerful sway (...) over the conduct of the philosophy of science as well as over wide branches of philosophy, economics, psychology, and physics. The site of Carnap’s lecture that day, the Dessau Bauhaus, was a stunning building designed by Walter Gropius and dedicated just three years earlier. Protected by its flat roof and glass walls, the artists, architects, weavers, and furniture designers had made the school a citadel of high modernism. It was here that Carnap addressed an enthusiastic audience on “Science and Life.” “I work in science,” he began, “and you in visible forms; the two are only different sides of a single life.”1 In this paper I will explore this “single life” of which the new philosophy and the new art were to be different facets; in the process, I hope to cast light on the shared modernist impulses that drove both disciplines in the interwar years. 1. Rudolf Carnap, lecture notes for his Bauhaus lecture, “Wissenschaft und Leben,” prepared 1 Oct. 1929 and delivered 15 Oct. 1929, transcription from shorthand by Gerald Heverly, Carnap Papers in the Archives of Scientific Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh Libraries, University of Pittsburgh , document RC 110-07-49. Quoted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh. All rights reserved. Translations are my own unless otherwise noted. Peter Galison is associate professor in the departments of philosophy and physics at Stanford University, where he co-chairs the program in the history of science. His primary interest is in the history and philosophy of experimentation, the subject of his How Experiments End and Big Science: The Growth of Large-Scale Research, edited with Bruce Hevly . His current project is entitled Image and Logic: The Material Culture of Modern Physics. (shrink)
This article examines the forces that have made federal scientific publication an essentially private enterprise. Particular attention is paid to the rise of the scientific community in the American political system. The period under review begins roughly with 1941 and American involvement in World War II, which coincides with the establishment of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (ORSD). The article examines OSRD's method of conducting federal scientific research, its contractual system, and the new publishing paradigm that it engendered. (...) The article concludes in the 1960s with congressional efforts to revise provisions in Title 17, the. (shrink)
Objectivity in historical perspective Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 11-39 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9597-2 Authors Peter Dear, Department of History, Cornell University, 435 McGraw Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA Ian Hacking, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, 170 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5R 2M8, Canada Matthew L. Jones, Department of History, Columbia University, 514 Fayerweather Hall, 1180 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027, USA Lorraine Daston, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany (...) Peter Galison, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Science Center 371, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue Volume 21, Number 1. (shrink)
As Einstein’s portrait comes increasingly to resemble an icon, we lose more than detail—his writings and actions lose all reference. This is as true for his physics as it is for his philosophy and his politics; the best of recent work aims to remove Einstein’s interventions from the abstract sphere of Delphic pronouncements and to insert them in the stream of real events, real arguments. Politically, this means attending to McCarthyism, Paul Robeson, the Arab–Israeli conflict. Philosophically, it means tying his (...) concerns, for example, to late nineteenth‐century neo‐Kantian debates and to his own struggles inside science. And where physics is concerned, it means attending both in the narrow to his responses to others’ work and his reactions to his own sometimes misfired early work on, for example, general relativity and to the wider context of technological developments. Einstein remains and will remain a magnet for historians, philosophers, and scientists; the essays assembled here represent a strong sampling—but only a sampling—of a fascinating new generation of work on this perennial figure. (shrink)
In June 1979, Congress passed the Espionage Act, the first act of the three secrecy-defining statutes that have shaped so much of the last hundred years of modern American secrecy doctrine. Together with two other statutes that followed in later decades-the Atomic Energy Acts of 1946 and 1954, and the Patriot Act of 2001-these three Acts picked out inflection points in the great ratcheting process that has expanded secrecy from the protection of troop positions and recruitment stations through an entire (...) field of the physical sciences to almost the whole of government and civil society. Along with a surround of orders, directives, laws, and policies, these three Acts ground the modern world of national security secrecy. Necessarily schematic, my aim here is to follow the long term history of secrets over the last hundred years, using the debates and cases that that encircled them to understand better the governing principles of what information had to be hidden. What dangers did each period identify among things that should be secret? What were the properties and assumed power of these secrets? What kind of thing could, in the end, properly be declared secret? In short, I am interested in using the Acts to fix what it is that secrets were: An historically changing ontology of secrets from World War I through the Long War , and finally into the Terror Wars, our unbounded conflict. (shrink)
Aryeh Neier: The topic of this session is "What We Have Learned about Limiting Knowledge in a Democracy," and it says we should discuss "how should we proceed and where should lines be drawn?" I'm going to conduct a conversation in which I will focus on this question of limits. The panel is very distinguished, very diverse, and I think we ought to be able to anticipate a diversity of views. All of our speakers are people who promote freedom of (...) information, but I am going to begin by asking them to reverse that role this evening. All of them, I assume, have certain limits they would impose on the availability of knowledge, and I'd like to know what those limits are, then see if there are some common threads or themes that we can extract from what they have to say. (shrink)
In "The View from Above," Jeanne Haffner traces the evolution of the science of social space from the interwar period to the 1970s, illuminating in particular the role of aerial photography in this new way of conceptualizing socio-spatial ...
In the 1960s, the history and philosophy of science made common cause in the search for universal patterns of theory change: philosophers provided models, historians offered examples. But the two enterprises pulled apart during the 1970s. Now there is a new arena of joint concern. Historians and philosophers are searching for the conditions under which standards of theoretical and experimental demonstration are established. I argue against the picture of these standards as independent of (or reducible to) the context of their (...) introduction. Instead, I suggest that we think of scientific developments as simultaneous solutions to multiple constraints; the constraints issue from domains as diverse as the technical, the aesthetic and the political. (shrink)
Between the end of World War I and the immediate post World War II period, there were almost a hundred journals and multi-authored volumes that appeared in the German speaking world with the word “Aufbau” in their titles. Practically none existed before the end of the First World War, and only a handful remained after 1947. Put into a histogram, the journals fall into three spikes: the largest burst between 1919 and 1927, a middle peak between 1934 and 1937, and (...) a final surge between 1945 and 1947. (shrink)
The following discussion considers three aspects of the Sciences-versus-Humanities divide: the historical evolution of disciplines in the modern period through the beginning of the twenty-first century; the epistemology of the sciences versus that of the Humanities as defined and practiced in that same period; and the ways in which the two cultures interact with each other and with religion and faith today. It finds that while it may feel ancient and natural, the historical divide between what are called the Humanities (...) and the Sciences is really quite new and contingent; that no single “scientific” epistemology exists but rather many “epistemic virtues” replace each other over time, often overlapping between the Sciences and Humanities, and that, finally, as the Humanities/sciences divide increasingly weakens or becomes complicated, as is happening today, knowledge and faith are juxtaposed to a greater degree. (shrink)
Freud's analogies were legion: hydraulic pipes, military recruitment, magic writing pads. These and some three hundred others took features of the mind and bound them to far-off scenes – the id only very partially resembles an uncontrollable horse, as Freud took pains to note. But there was one relation between psychic and public act that Freud did not delimit in this way: censorship, the process that checked memories and dreams on their way to the conscious. At first, Freud likened this (...) suppression to the blacking out of texts at the Russian frontier. During the First World War, he suffered, and spoke of suffering under, Viennese postal and newspaper censorship – Freud was forced to leave his envelopes unsealed, and to recode or delete content. Over and over, he registered the power of both internal and public censorship in shared form: distortion, anticipatory deletion, softenings, even revision to hide suppression. Political censorship left its mark as the conflict reshaped his view of the psyche into a society on a war footing, with homunculus-like border guards sifting messages as they made their way – or did not – across a topography of mind. (shrink)