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Between Objectivity and History

Author: LiangWenBo
Tutor: CaiZhong
School: Nanjing University
Course: Philosophy of Science and Technology
Keywords: styles of scientific reasoning objectivity self-vindication Ian Hacking
CLC: B71
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 31
Quote: 0
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In order to defend the scientific objectivity in a historicizing way, Ian Hacking based his styles of scientific reasoning on both objectivity and history of science simultaneously. However, on the one hand, Hacking’s approach to objectivity is rooted on positivism greatly; on the other hand, his styles of reasoning are based on A.C. Crombie’s studies of history of science, which belongs to the internal-continuous tradition. As a consequence, there are two contradictions in Hacking’s styles of scientific reasoning, that is, positivism and history, reason and society. In order to solve the two contradictions, Hacking constructed his important concept of self-vindication. He took every style of reasoning as a self-autonomic whole, and it determines its own standards of what will count as success. Hacking’s this concept relieved the former two contradictions. However, it dealt with them in an oversimplified way, and cannot offer a coherent explanation to the issue of objectivity and scientific evolvement. This is because the studies of "the history of objectivity" which the styles of scientific reasoning belong to must presuppose a concern concept of objectivity. If we distinguish "the concept of objectivity" from "the realization of objectivity", then through styles of scientific reasoning, what Hacking historicized is just the realization of objectivity. As for the concept of objectivity, Hacking’s point is still ahistorical.

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