Objectivity in the Making

  • Mansoor NiazEmail author
Part of the Contemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education book series (CTISE, volume 46)


The theoretical framework of studies reported in this book is based on an examination of the evolving forms of scientific judgment (including objectivity) in the history of science as suggested by Daston and Galison (2007). Scientists who followed truth-to-nature were looking for the idea in the observation and not the raw observation itself. For example, the procedures for describing, depicting, and classifying plants were openly selective. Later, mechanical objectivity considered such drawings as subjective distortions. Those following mechanical objectivity called for objective photographs to supplement, correct, or even replace the subjective drawings. In the early twentieth century, many scientists became convinced that subjectivity was difficult to separate from objectivity, and some became skeptical of scientific photographs and instead started to look in the domain of mathematics and logic, namely structural objectivity. Structures could be communicated to all minds across time and space and hence helped to break the hold of individual subjectivity. Just like structural objectivity, trained judgment was another response to the limitations of the empirical images and photographs used by mechanical objectivity. The new epistemic footprint was heralded by the transition from the understanding that, “objectivity should not be sacrificed to accuracy” (mechanical objectivity) to “accuracy should not sacrificed to objectivity” (trained judgment). The new epistemic virtue explicitly stated that: automaticity of machines however sophisticated could not replace the professional practiced eye, namely trained judgment. Daston and Galison (2007) provide various examples of this change in the history of science.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Epistemology of Science Group, Department of ChemistryUniversidad de OrienteCumanáVenezuela

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