Ideas of Reiss,J/Spreger,J, by Theme

[Austrian, fl. 2014, At universities in Linz and Turin]

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2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 5. Objectivity
One view says objectivity is making a successful claim which captures the facts
     Full Idea: One conception of objectivity is that the facts are 'out there', and it is the task of scientists to discover, analyze and sytematize them. 'Objective' is a success word: if a claim is objective, it successfully captures some feature of the world.
     From: Reiss,J/Spreger,J (Scientific Objectivity [2014], 2)
     A reaction: This seems to describe truth, rather than objectivity. You can establish accurate facts by subjective means. You can be fairly objective but miss the facts. Objectivity is a mode of thought, not a link to reality.
An absolute scientific picture of reality must not involve sense experience, which is perspectival
     Full Idea: Sense experience is necessarily perspectival, so to the extent to which scientific theories are to track the absolute conception [of reality], they must describe a world different from sense experience.
     From: Reiss,J/Spreger,J (Scientific Objectivity [2014], 2.3)
     A reaction: This is a beautifully simple and interesting point. Even when you are looking at a tree, to grasp its full reality you probably need to close your eyes (which is bad news for artists).
Topic and application involve values, but can evidence and theory choice avoid them?
     Full Idea: There may be values involved in the choice of a research problem, the gathering of evidence, the acceptance of a theory, and the application of results. ...The first and fourth do involve values, but what of the second and third?
     From: Reiss,J/Spreger,J (Scientific Objectivity [2014], 3.1)
     A reaction: [compressed] My own view is that the danger of hidden distorting values has to be recognised, but it is then possible, by honest self-criticism, to reduce them to near zero. Sociological enquiry is different, of course.
The Value-Free Ideal in science avoids contextual values, but embraces epistemic values
     Full Idea: According to the Value-Free Ideal, scientific objectivity is characterised by absence of contextual values and by exclusive commitment to epistemic values in scientific reasoning.
     From: Reiss,J/Spreger,J (Scientific Objectivity [2014], 3.1)
     A reaction: This seems appealing, because it concedes that we cannot be value-free, without suggesting that we are unavoidably swamped by values. The obvious question is whether the two types of value can be sharply distinguished.
Value-free science needs impartial evaluation, theories asserting facts, and right motivation
     Full Idea: Three components of value-free science are Impartiality (appraising theories only by epistemic scientific standards), Neutrality (the theories make no value statements), and Autonomy (the theory is motivated only by science).
     From: Reiss,J/Spreger,J (Scientific Objectivity [2014], 3.3)
     A reaction: [They are summarising Hugh Lacey, 1999, 2002] I'm not sure why the third criterion matters, if the first two are met. If a tobacco company commissions research on cigarettes, that doesn't necessarily make the findings false or prejudiced.
Thermometers depend on the substance used, and none of them are perfect
     Full Idea: Thermometers assume the length of the fluid or gas is a function of temperature, and different substances yield different results. It was decided that different thermometers using the same substance should match, and air was the best, but not perfect.
     From: Reiss,J/Spreger,J (Scientific Objectivity [2014], 4.1)
     A reaction: [summarising Hasok Chang's research] This is a salutary warning that instruments do not necessarily solve the problem of objectivity, though thermometers do seem to be impersonal, and offer relative accuracy (i.e. ranking temperatures). Cf breathalysers.
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 3. Experiment
The 'experimenter's regress' says success needs reliability, which is only tested by success
     Full Idea: The 'experimenter's regress' says that to know whether a result is correct, one needs to know whether the apparatus is reliable. But one doesn't know whether the apparatus is reliable unless one knows that it produces correct results ...and so on.
     From: Reiss,J/Spreger,J (Scientific Objectivity [2014], 2.3)
     A reaction: [H. Collins (1985), a sociologist] I take this to be a case of the triumphant discovery of a vicious circle which destroys all knowledge turning out to be a benign circle. We build up a coherent relationship between reliable results and good apparatus.
14. Science / C. Induction / 6. Bayes's Theorem
The Bayesian approach is explicitly subjective about probabilities
     Full Idea: The Bayesian approach is outspokenly subjective: probability is used for quantifying a scientist's subjective degree of belief in a particular hypothesis. ...It just provides sound rules for learning from experience.
     From: Reiss,J/Spreger,J (Scientific Objectivity [2014], 4.2)