OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Objectivity: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199606696

Price(incl.tax): 
¥1,628
Author: 
Stephen Gaukroger
Pages
128 Pages
Format
Paperback
Size
113 x 173 mm
Pub date
May 2012
Series
Very Short Introductions

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  • Explains a complex philosophical topic and considers all of the key questions involved
  • Considers whether true objectivity is achievable and asks whether we are morally obliged to be objective
  • Explores the theoretical and practical problems associated with objective thought
  • Looks at the way objectivity relates to science, social research, and art

 
- Is objectivity possible?
- Can there be objectivity in matters of morals, or tastes?
- What would a truly objective account of the world be like?
- Is everything subjective, or relative? 
- Are moral judgments objective or culturally relative? 

Objectivity is both an essential and elusive philosophical concept. An account is generally considered to be objective if it attempts to capture the nature of the object studied without judgement of a conscious entity or subject. Objectivity stands in contrast to subjectivity: an objective account is impartial, one which could ideally be accepted by any subject, because it does not draw on any assumptions, prejudices, or values of particular subjects. Stephen Gaukroger shows that it is far from clear that we can resolve moral or aesthetic disputes in this way and it has often been argued that such an approach is not always appropriate for disciplines that deal with human, rather than natural, phenomena. Moreover, even in those cases where we seek to be objective, it may be difficult to judge what a truly objective account would look like, and whether it is achievable. 

This Very Short Introduction demonstrates that there are a number of common misunderstandings about what objectivity is, and explores the theoretical and practical problems of objectivity by assessing the basic questions raised by it. As well as considering the core philosophical issues, Gaukroger also deals with the way in which particular understandings of objectivity impinge on social research, science, and art. 

Index: 

1: Introduction
2: Aren't all judgements biased in one way or another?
3: Don't all judgements involve some assumptions?
4: Doesn't science show there is no objectivity?
5: Is it possible to represent things objectively?
6: Is objectivity a form of honesty?
7: Objectivity in numbers?
8: Can the study of human behaviour be objective?
9: Can there be objectivity in ethics?
10: Can there be objectivity in taste?
References
Further reading

About the author: 

Stephen Gaukroger, ARC Professorial Fellow, University of Sydney, Australia and Professor of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen
 
Stephen Gaukroger has been Professor of History of Philosophy and History of Science in the Philosophy Department at the University of Sydney since 1981. His publications include, The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1210-1685 (OUP, 2006) and Descartes' System of Natural Philosophy (CUP, 2002).

Objectivity is both an essential and elusive philosophical concept. An account is generally considered to be objective if it attempts to capture the nature of the object studied without judgement of a conscious entity or subject. Objectivity stands in contrast to subjectivity: an objective account is impartial, one which could ideally be accepted by any subject, because it does not draw on any assumptions, prejudices, or values of particular subjects. Stephen Gaukroger shows that it is far from clear that we can resolve moral or aesthetic disputes in this way and it has often been argued that such an approach is not always appropriate for disciplines that deal with human, rather than natural, phenomena. Moreover, even in those cases where we seek to be objective, it may be difficult to judge what a truly objective account would look like, and whether it is achievable.
 
Objectivity

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