Review of Lorraine Daston/Peter Galison: Objectivity.
Objectivity has a history, and it is full of surprises. In Objectivity, Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison chart the emergence of objectivity in the mid-nineteenth-century sciences--and show how the concept differs from its alternatives, truth-to-nature and trained judgment. This is a story of lofty epistemic ideals fused with workaday practices in the making of scientific images. From the eighteenth through the early twenty-first centuries, the images that reveal the deepest commitments of the empirical sciences--from anatomy to crystallography--are those featured in scientific atlases, the compendia that teach practitioners what is worth looking at and how to look at it. Galison and Daston use atlas images to uncover a hidden history of scientific objectivity and its rivals. Whether an atlas maker idealizes an image to capture the essentials in the name of truth-to-nature or refuses to erase even the most incidental detail in the name of objectivity or highlights patterns in the name of trained judgment is a decision enforced by an ethos as well as by an epistemology. As Daston and Galison argue, atlases shape the subjects as well as the objects of science. To pursue objectivity--or truth-to-nature or trained judgment--is simultaneously to cultivate a distinctive scientific self wherein knowing and knower converge. Moreover, the very point at which they visibly converge is in the very act of seeing not as a separate individual but as a member of a particular scientific community. Embedded in the atlas image, therefore, are the traces of consequential choices about knowledge, persona, and collective sight. Objectivity is a book addressed to anyone interested in the elusive and crucial notion of objectivity-- and in what it means to peer into the world scientifically. Lorraine Daston is Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany. She is the coauthor of Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 and the editor of Things That Talk: Object Lessons from Art and Science (both Zone Books). Peter Galison is Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University. He is the author of Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time, How Experiments End, and Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics, and other books, and coeditor (with Emily Thompson) of The Architecture of Science (MIT Press, 1999).
In the twentieth century the notion of «homo faber» as a man-master, a tool-creator and working person became widespread. This concept we find in philosophy of P. Florensky, M. Scheler, H. Arendt and other thinkers. In the context of the events of the XXth century «homo faber» became one of the symbols of the era. What changes is the concept of ‘homo faber’ undergoing today? This question is in the focus of the present article.
This article deals with the critical analysis St. Thomas' cosmological argument which was undertaken by an american theologian and analytical philosopher Alvin C. Plantinga. The ontologies of former and newer scholastics are compared in order to clarify logical and ontological assumptions of Plantinga's criticism.
Second half of 19th century–1945 was the period of drastic changes in Japanese society, the time of building the nation-state and the Great Japanese Empire, based on the unity of all Japanese people. Political reforms and the ideology of this period are well investigated. However, there are few studies of how the Japanese themselves and people's worldview have changed. The article focuses on the emotional transformations of the Japanese during this period and based on official historical documents, writings of publicists, poetry and prose. One consequence of such a rapid changes was, in particular, the dramatic increase in number of mental illnesses and suicides during the Meiji period. Shared exaltation was a characteristic feature of the era, the most important government decisions were made on a sudden impulse. Literature (especially the new shintaishi poetry contributed to the popular feelings excitement, and openly promoted xenophobia. The belief in the superiority of the Japanese spirit over matter dictated decisions that were insane in military-practical terms. Thus, in 1941 Japan attacked the main US naval base in the Pacific – Pearl Harbor. The decision that led to the collapse of the empire.
The article raises for the first time the question of scientific contacts between A.F.Losev and the outstanding German classical philologist Bruno Snell (1896–1986). The analysis demonstrates that Russian thinker kept the constant interest in the works of his German colleague during half a century, since the middle of 1920-ies. Losev’s attention to the work of Snell connected with his interest to the history of ideas and concepts, most evident in his monumental “The History of Classical Aesthetics”. Losev appealed to Snell in the study of the terminology of Plato (sophia, epistēmē) and Heraclitus (ēthos, sēmainei), Proclus (aiōn) and Plotinus (sophia),the language of the Homeric Epos, its aesthetics and mythology. Both researchers attributed the emergence of the concept “historical” with the Homeric Epos and see it as the first step to Greek historical consciousness. Special attention is paid to the history of German publication Losev’s positive review (1962) about “Lexikon of early Greek epos” (“Lexikon des frühgriechischen Epos”),launched in 1955 under the editorship of B. Snell.
Affectivity is a crucial methodological concept of French phenomenology. Phenomenon is identified with an affect, a trauma, an event that always has already occurred. The author of this event is never the subject; the subject is not merely receptive with regards to this event, but is passive in the absolute sense, indeed, the subject as such is constituted by the event. This dependence of the very being of the subject on the primal trauma, and thus on the world shared with others, creates historical dimension of subjectivity.
Biosemiotics is considered in the article from the moment of its birth at the beginning of the 20th century (J. von Uexküll, Th. Sebeok, G. Prodi, H. Pattie, et al.); its reception in the philosophical anthropology and science of the 20th century and the prospects of its further development are analyzed. It is with the name of Sebeok that the popularization of Uexküll's study and the attribution of a special status to biosemiotics as a promising interdisciplinary (transdisciplinary) area of research are related. Biosemiotics is close nowadays in its conceptual arsenal to the theory of complex adaptive systems, bio-cybernetics, and the conception of enactivism in cognitive science and in non-classical epistemology. Considering living systems as operating signs, distinguishing signs and acquiring the ability to interpret them, biosemiotics seeks to penetrate into the deep sources of the origins of meaning in the Universe and thereby contributes to the development of the methodological foundations of communication theory and an extended ecological approach. It is substantiated that biosemiotics offers new conceptual and methodological tools for scientific understanding of mind (consciousness) and sense, for studying the rich variety of nonverbal human, animal and plant communicative processes, the intrinsic connection between perception and action, the nature of the vital world of organisms and the configuration of their semantic landscapes. The historical analysis of the emergence and development of biosemiotics makes it possible to evaluate its contribution to the development of modern interdisciplinary research strategies that have integrative capabilities, outlining the ways of synthesizing natural scientific (primarily biological) and the humanitarian knowledge, as well as pointing to promising steps in studying the mutual penetration of the human natural world and the world of technology, natural and artificial intelligence, ways of constructing modern cyberphysical systems.
This research explores the confrontation of two contemporary epistemic programs: naturalism and transcendentalism. The author proves the limitations of naturalistic trial to give a complete description of the Universe and explains that despite popular disposition contemporary naturalism confronts mostly the transcendentalism, then phenomenology.