Scientific perspectivism

Chicago: University of Chicago Press (2006)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Many people assume that the claims of scientists are objective truths. But historians, sociologists, and philosophers of science have long argued that scientific claims reflect the particular historical, cultural, and social context in which those claims were made. The nature of scientific knowledge is not absolute because it is influenced by the practice and perspective of human agents. Scientific Perspectivism argues that the acts of observing and theorizing are both perspectival, and this nature makes scientific knowledge contingent, as Thomas Kuhn theorized forty years ago. 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, complex scientific principles—such as Maxwell’s equations describing the behavior of both the electric and magnetic fields—make no claims about the world, but models based on those principles can be used to make claims about specific aspects of the world. Offering a solution to the most contentious debate in the philosophy of science over the past thirty years, Scientific Perspectivism will be of interest to anyone involved in the study of science.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,698

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Scientific Perspectivism and Its Foes.Michela Massimi - 2012 - Philosophica 84 (1):25-52.
Scientific perspectivism in the phenomenological tradition.Philipp Berghofer - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-27.
Models and perspectives on stage: remarks on Giere’s Scientific perspectivism.Matthew J. Brown - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):213-220.
Giere's Scientific Perspectivism as Carte Blanche Realism.Mario Gensollen & Marc Jiménez-Rolland - 2021 - ArtefaCToS. Revista de Estudios de la Ciencia y la Tecnología 10 (1):61-74.
Scientific Perspectivism. [REVIEW]Jude P. Dougherty - 2007 - Review of Metaphysics 61 (2):419-420.
Scientific perspectivism: behind the stage door.Ronald N. Giere - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):221-223.


Added to PP

315 (#69,534)

6 months
33 (#121,231)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Ronald Giere
Last affiliation: University of Minnesota

Citations of this work

Perspectival pluralism for animal welfare.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-14.
Four Kinds of Perspectival Truth.Michela Massimi - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (2):342-359.

View all 258 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references