Scientific Perspectivism

Scientific Perspectivism

by Ronald N. Giere
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226292134

ISBN-13: 9780226292137

Pub. Date: 06/15/2010

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Many people assume that the claims of scientists are objective truths. But Scientific Perspectivism argues that the acts of observing and theorizing are both matters of perspective-which makes scientific knowledge contingent. Using the example of color vision in humans to illustrate how his theory of "perspectivism" works, Ronald N. Giere argues that colors do not

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Overview

Many people assume that the claims of scientists are objective truths. But Scientific Perspectivism argues that the acts of observing and theorizing are both matters of perspective-which makes scientific knowledge contingent. Using the example of color vision in humans to illustrate how his theory of "perspectivism" works, Ronald N. Giere argues that colors do not actually exist in objects; rather, color is the result of an interaction between aspects of the world and the human visual system.

Giere extends this argument into a general interpretation of human perception and, more controversially, to scientific observation, conjecturing that the output of scientific instruments is perspectival. Furthermore, as Giere posits, complex scientific principles-such as Maxwell's equations describing the behavior of both electric and magnetic fields-by themselves make no claims about the world, but models constructed within the perspective defined by those principles can be used to make claims about specific aspects of the world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226292137
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
06/15/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
151
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Acknowledgments ix

1 Scientific Knowledge 1

What Is the Problem?

Objective Realism

Constructivism

Naturalism

Perspectivism

Retrospect

2 Color Vision 17

Introduction

Basic Color Science

Color Subjectivism

Color Objectivism

Comparative Color Vision

Color Perspectivism

The Philosophy of Color

A Final Question

3 Scientific Observing 41

Introduction

Astronomy in Color

Deep Space from the Perspective of the Hubble Telescope

The Milky Way in Gamma Ray Perspectives

Conclusions within Perspectives

Imaging the Brain

Instrumental Perspectives

4 Scientific Theorizing 59

Introduction

Representing

Theories

Laws of Nature

Fitness

Maps

Truth within a Perspective

Perspectives and Paradigms

Scientific Kinds

Perspectival Realism

The Contingency Thesis Revisited

5 Perspectival Knowledge and Distributed Cognition 96

Introduction

Distributed Cognition

Scientific Observation as Distributed Cognition

Models as Parts of Distributed Cognitive Systems

Computation in Scientific Distributed Cognitive Systems

Agency in Scientific Distributed Cognitive Systems

Why Distributed Cognition?

Distributed Cognition and Perspectival Knowledge

Color gallery follows page 62

Notes 117

References 137

Index 147

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