Objectivity: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | May 8, 2012

byStephen Gaukroger

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* 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 accountis 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 thatsuch 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, Gaukrogeralso deals with the way in which particular understandings of objectivity impinge on social research, science, and art.

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* 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 co...

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).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:152 pagesPublished:May 8, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199606692

ISBN - 13:9780199606696

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. 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?ReferencesFurther reading