Facts and objectivity in science

Philippe Stamenkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There are various conceptions of objectivity, a characteristic of the scientific enterprise, the most fundamental being objectivity as faithfulness to facts. A brute fact, which happens independently from us, becomes a scientific fact once we take cognisance of it through the means made available to us by science. Because of the complex, reciprocal relationship between scientific facts and scientific theory, the concept of objectivity as faithfulness to facts does not hold in the strict sense of an aperspectival faithfulness to brute facts. Nevertheless, it holds in the large sense of an underdetermined faithfulness to scientific facts, as long as we keep in mind the complexity of the notion of scientific fact (as theory-laden), and the role of non-factual elements in theory choice (as underdetermined by facts). Science remains our best way to separate our factual beliefs from our other kinds of beliefs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInterdisciplinary Science Reviews
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • aperspectival view
  • facts
  • faithfulness to facts
  • Objectivity
  • realism
  • theory-ladenness
  • underdetermination
  • values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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