Advertisement

Synthese

, Volume 138, Issue 3, pp 453–473 | Cite as

The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity

  • Heather Douglas
Article

Abstract

The terms ``objectivity'' and ``objective'' are among the mostused yet ill-defined terms in the philosophy of science and epistemology. Common to all thevarious usages is the rhetorical force of ``I endorse this and you should too'', orto put it more mildly, that one should trust the outcome of the objectivity-producing process.The persuasive endorsement and call to trust provide some conceptual coherenceto objectivity, but the reference to objectivity is hopefully not merely an attemptat persuasive endorsement. What, in addition to epistemological endorsement,does objectivity carry with it? Drawing on recent historical and philosophical work,I articulate eight operationally accessible and distinct senses of objectivity.While there are links among these senses, providing cohesion to the concept, I argue thatnone of the eight senses is strictly reducible to the others, giving objectivity itsirreducible complexity.

Keywords

Philosophical Work Irreducible Complexity Distinct Sens Rhetorical Force 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Daston, Lorraine: 1992, 'Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective', Social Studies of Science 22, 597‐618.Google Scholar
  2. Daston, Lorraine and Peter Gallison: 1992, 'The Image of Objectivity', Representations 81‐128.Google Scholar
  3. Douglas, Heather: 2000, 'Inductive Risk and Values in Science', Philosophy of Science 67, 559‐579.Google Scholar
  4. Fine, Arthur: 1998, 'The Viewpoint of No-One in Particular', Proceedings and Addresses of the APA 72, 9‐20.Google Scholar
  5. Giere, Ronald: 1999, Science without Laws, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  6. Hacking, Ian: 1983, Representing and Intervening, Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Hull, David: 1988, Science as a Process, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  8. Kitcher, Philip: 1993, The Advancement of Science, Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Kosso, Peter: 1989, 'Science and Objectivity', The Journal of Philosophy 86, 245‐257.Google Scholar
  10. Lloyd, Elisabeth: 1995, 'Objectivity and the Double Standard for Feminist Epistemologies', Synthese 104, 351‐381.Google Scholar
  11. Longino, Helen: 1990, Science as Social Knowledge, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  12. Megill, Alan: 1994, 'Introduction: Four Senses of Objectivity', in Alan Megill (ed), Rethinking Objectivity, Duke University Press, Durham, pp. 1‐20.Google Scholar
  13. Nagel, Thomas: 1986, The View from Nowhere, Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Nozick, Robert: 1998, 'Invariance and Objectivity', Proceedings and Addresses of the APA 72, 21‐48.Google Scholar
  15. Nye, Mary Jo: 1972, Molecular Reality, American Elsevier, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Porter, Theodore: 1995, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  17. Porter, Theodore: 1992, 'Quantification and the Accounting Ideal in Science', Social Studies of Science 22, 633‐652.Google Scholar
  18. Quine, W. V. O.: 1992, The Pursuit of Truth, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  19. Scientific Advisory Board (SAB): 2001, Dioxin Reassessment ‐ An SAB Review of the Office of Research and Development's Reassessment of Dioxin, EPA-SAB-EC-01-006, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Douglas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Puget SoundTacomaU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations