A new perspective on objectivity and conventionalism
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Antigone M. Nounou
The main theme in Debs’ and Redhead’s book revolves around the question ‘How do symmetries displayed by different media relate to the notion of objective scientific representation?’ In a few words, their answer could be summarized as follows. Invariantism, the position stating that invariance under symmetry transformations is both necessary and sufficient for objectivity, is unattainable. Yet, in cases where only spatiotemporal symmetries are involved, symmetry transformations may be interpreted as changes of perspective. In such cases, invariance becomes synonymous with multi-subjective agreement and, consequently, it can provide necessary and sufficient conditions for objectivity. On the other hand, since invariance is associated with formal ambiguity and conventional choice, it turns out that invariance has to do with convention as much as it does with objectivity.
I am very sympathetic to the authors’ view. In fact, I am impressed by both the modesty with which...
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