Advertisement

Introduction: Understanding Objectivity within a Historical Perspective

  • Mansoor NiazEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Contemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education book series (CTISE, volume 46)

Abstract

The traditional conception of science and science education considers that objectivity of scientific statements is ensured as these are based on experimental facts. History of science, however, shows that this inductivist stance is at best a fantasy. Objectivity consists in the willingness to abandon a set of preferences when faced with contrary evidence. Although objectivity is not synonymous with truth or certainty, it is often used as a synonym for scientific. The notion of an absolute scientific objectivity is a myth. Any change in science textbooks or curricula is difficult as the inductivist vision is rigid and does not contemplate “transgressions” of objectivity. One way of understanding objectivity is precisely a historical reconstruction of scientific progress in which controversies are highlighted. This historical perspective reveals the evolving nature of objectivity. Daston and Galison (2007) constructed the evolving nature of scientific judgment (objectivity) through the following phases: truth-to-nature (eighteenth century), mechanical objectivity (nineteenth century), structural objectivity (late nineteenth century), and finally trained judgment (twentieth century). This reconstruction shows the need to distinguish between how science needs to be practiced from how it is actually practiced. This book is based on the premise that a historical reconstruction facilitates a perspective that is conducive toward an evolving nature of objectivity. A major objective of this book is to explore the presentation of objectivity in different sources (journals, handbook, encyclopedia, and textbooks) of interest to science educators.

References

  1. Abd-El-Khalick, F. (2012). Examining the sources for our understandings about science: enduring conflations and critical issues in research on nature of science in science education. International Journal of Science Education, 34(3), 353–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agazzi, E. (2014). Scientific objectivity and its contexts. Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy: project 2061. Washington: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority, ACARA. (2015). Australian curriculum: science F-10. Sydney: Commonwealth of Australia.Google Scholar
  5. Berger, J. O., & Berry, D. A. (1988). Statistical analysis and the illusion of objectivity. American Scientist, 76(2), 159–165.Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, D. T. (1988a). Can we be scientific in applied social science? In E. S. Overman (Ed.), Methodology and epistemology for social science (pp. 315–333). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (first published in 1984).Google Scholar
  7. Campbell, D. T. (1988b). The experimenting society. In E. S. Overman (Ed.), Methodology and epistemology for social science (pp. 290–314). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cawthron, E. R., & Rowell, J. A. (1978). Epistemology and science education. Studies in Science Education, 5, 51–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chang, Y.-H., Chang, C.-Y., & Tseng, Y.-H. (2010). Trends of science education research: an automatic content analysis. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 19, 315–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Council of Ministers of Education, CMEC. (1997). Common framework of science learning outcomes K to 12: Pan-Canadian protocol for collaboration on school curriculum. Toronto: Council of Ministers of Education.Google Scholar
  11. Daston, L., & Galison, P. L. (1992). The image of objectivity. Representations, 40, 81–128. (special issue: Seeing Science).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Daston, L., & Galison, P. (2007). Objectivity. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
  13. Deng, F., Chai, C. S., Tsai, C.-C., & Lin, T.-J. (2014). Assessing South China (Guangzhou) high school students’ views on nature of science: a validation study. Science & Education, 23, 843–863.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Galison, P. (2015a). The journalist the scientist and objectivity. In F. Padovani, A. Richardson & J. Y. Tsou (Eds.), Objectivity in science. Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Giere, R. N. (1999). Science without laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Giere, R. N. (2006a). Perspectival pluralism. In S. H. Kellert, H. E. Longino & C. K. Waters (Eds.), Scientific pluralism (pp. 26–41). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  17. Giere, R. N. (2006b). Scientific perspectivism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Giere, R. N. (2010). Naturalism. In S. Psillos & M. Curd (Eds.), The Routledge companion to philosophy of science (pp. 213–223). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Gould, S. J. (1995). Dinosaur in a haystack: reflections in natural history. New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hacking, I. (1983). Representing and intervening. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harding, S. (2015). Objectivity and diversity: another logic of scientific research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hodson, D., & Wong, S. L. (2014). From the horse’s mouth: why scientists’ views are crucial to nature of science understanding. International Journal of Science Education, 36(16), 2639–2665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hoffmann, R. (2012). In J. Kovac & M. Weisberg (Eds.), Roald Hoffmann on the philosophy, art, and science of chemistry. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Holton, G. (1969). Einstein and the ‘crucial’ experiment. American Journal of Physics, 37, 968–982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holton, G. (1978a). Subelectrons, presuppositions, and the Millikan-Ehrenhaft dispute. Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 9, 161–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Holton, G. (1978b). The scientific imagination: case studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Holton, G. (2014a). The neglected mandate: teaching science as part of our culture. Science & Education, 23, 1875–1877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Johnson, R. B., & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2004). Mixed methods research: a research paradigm whose time has come. Educational Researcher, 33, 14–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kuhn, T. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (2nd ed.).Google Scholar
  30. Kuhn, T. (1977). Objectivity, value judgment, and theory choice. In T. Kuhn (Ed.), The essential tension (pp. 320–339). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (first presented as a Lecture at Furman University in 1973).Google Scholar
  31. Lakatos, I. (1970). Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programs. In I. Lakatos & A. Musgrave (eds.), Criticism and the growth of knowledge (pp. 91–195). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lederman, N. G. (2007). Nature of science: past, present, and future. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education (pp. 831–879). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  33. Lederman, N. G., Abd-El-Khalick, F., Bell, R. L., & Schwartz, R. (2002). Views of nature of science questionnaire: toward valid and meaningful assessment of learners’ conceptions of nature of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39, 497–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Machamer, P., Pera, M., & Baltas, A. (2000). Scientific controversies: an introduction. In P. Machamer, M. Pera & A. Baltas (Eds.), Scientific controversies: philosophical and historical perspectives (pp. 3–17). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Machamer, P., & Wolters, G. (2004). Introduction: science, values and objectivity. In P. Machamer & G. Wolters (Eds.), Science, values and objectivity (pp. 1–13). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  36. McComas, W. F., Clough, M. P., & Almazroa, H. (1998). The role and character of the nature of science in science education. In W. F. McComas (Ed.), The nature of science in science education: rationales and strategies (pp. 3–40). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  37. Medawar, P. B. (1969). Induction and intuition in scientific thought. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.Google Scholar
  38. Nagel, E. (1961). The structure of science: problems in the logic of scientific explanation. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc..Google Scholar
  39. National Research Council, NRC. (2013). Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Washington: National Academies Press. (http://www.nextgenscience.org).Google Scholar
  40. Niaz, M. (2009). Critical appraisal of physical science as a human enterprise: dynamics of scientific progress. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  41. Niaz, M. (2012). From ‘Science in the Making’ to understanding the nature of science: an overview for science educators. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Niaz, M. (2016). Chemistry education and contributions from history and philosophy of science. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Phillips, D. C., & Burbules, N. C. (2000). Postpositivism and educational research. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  44. Resnik, D. B. (2010). Ethics of science. In S. Psillos & M. Curd (Eds.), The Routledge companion to philosophy of science (pp. 149–158). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  45. Schwab, J. J. (1974). The concept of the structure of a discipline. In E. W. Eisner & E. Vallance (Eds.), Conflicting conceptions of curriculum (pp. 162–175). Berkeley: McCutchan Publishing Corp..Google Scholar
  46. Shapin, S. (1996). The scientific revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Smith, M. U., & Scharmann, L. C. (2008). A multi-year program developing an explicit reflective pedagogy for teaching pre-service teachers the nature of science by ostention. Science & Education, 17, 219–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Smith, M. U., Siegel, H., & McInerney, J. D. (1995). Foundational issues in evolution education. Science & Education, 4(1), 23–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Smolicz, J. J., & Nunan, E. E. (1975). The philosophical and sociological foundations of science education: the demythologizing of school science. Studies in Science Education, 2, 101–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tsou, J. Y., Richardson, A., & Padovani, F. (2015). Introduction. In F. Padovani, A. Richardson & J. Y. Tsou (Eds.), Objectivity in science. Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  51. Vesterinen, V.-M., & Aksela, M. (2013). Design of chemistry teacher education course on nature of science. Science & Education, 22(9), 2193–2225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wong, S. L., & Hodson, D. (2009). From the horse’s mouth: what scientists say about scientific investigation and scientific knowledge. Science Education, 93, 109–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ziman, J. (2000). Real science: what it is, and what it means. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Epistemology of Science Group, Department of ChemistryUniversidad de OrienteCumanáVenezuela

Personalised recommendations