The Jowett Society (Friday - Week 8, HT23)

Philosophical Society

Several philosophers of science have recently attempted to bring some unity to the notion of scientific objectivity. These attempts typically start from the observation that there seem to be several distinct meanings of objectivity, but continue by arguing that these meanings have more in common than has yet been recognised. I will compare and contrast these attempts, focusing on two aspects. First, the attempts to capture the different meanings of objectivity within one account can be divided in three: positive accounts which refer to some advantageous elements that the things we call objective share (e.g. Zahle 2020), negative accounts that name harmful elements that are missing from what we call objective (e.g. Koskinen 2020), and contextual accounts where the meaning of objectivity stems from the context (e.g. Montuschi 2020; Cartwright et al. 2022). Second, while some of the proposed accounts are attempts to identify the necessary and sufficient conditions for objectivity (e.g. Hoyningen-Huene 2023), most aim at something else (e.g. Wilholt 2022). In the light of my analysis of this ongoing discussion, I will defend a view of what this "something else" should be.


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Jowett Society Organising Committee: Imogen Rivers  | Jowett Society Website