A Phenomenology of Image Use in Science

Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 15 (2):156-169 (2011)
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Abstract

Insights from the phenomenological tradition of philosophy can be fruitfully applied to ongoing scientific investigations. In what follows, I review and refine a methodology I have developed for the application of concepts from the phenomenology of technology—concepts which articulate bodily and perceptual relations to technology—to a specific context of scientific practice: debate over the interpretation of laboratory images. As a guiding example, I introduce a case study of a contemporary debate over images of Mars which reveal evidence of fluid movement on the planet’s surface in the last decade. Next, the framework of phenomenological concepts is applied to this example, and contrasts are made with the results of previous case studies. I conclude with reflections on the implications of this perspective for both the use of imaging technologies in scientific research specifically, and for the phenomenology of technology generally.

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Robert Rosenberger
Georgia Institute of Technology

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