Introduction: Understanding Objectivity within a Historical Perspective

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


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.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

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