Helen Longino believes science achieves objectivity, thephilosophical idea that something is deemed true regardless of how humansperceive it, using the scientific method. The two main notions of objectivityare positivism and traditional empiricism, according to Logino’s view of socialepistemology. Positivist believe humans influence objectivity subjectively viathe formation of hypotheses based on their individual experiences.
Positivistjustify what is considered true science by only studying what can be observed inthe natural world. Although subjectivityis held through the formulation of hypotheses and natural observation,positivists objectively define what science is. Empiricists also believescience is based on subjective observations, but hold that objectivity is basedon whatever paradigm is occurring within the scientific community at the time.Empiricists argue that theories are only relevant until a paradigm shiftoccurs, and new ideas emerge. Longinobelieves that the way we chose to study science influences the way we acquireknowledge. Therefore, it is important that science and the scientific method holdsubjective and objective values in relation to human experience. Pureobjectivity would lead to the lack of human subjectivity and pure subjectivitywould lead to bias.
Longino describes that diversity is important within ascientific community to ensure that the ideas are not contextually influencedby the environment. Therefore, the more people and the more diversity within ascientific community ensures objectivity and truth. Thoughtsand beliefs can be influenced by political power, which can shift the ideas of scientificcommunities and lead to cognitive bias. For example, Hitler influenced thebeliefs of his nation because he held power. Although individuals may believetheir ideas are original and authentic, social construct and social norms havean impact on the ideas individuals articulate.
The environment has an impact onbeliefs, which is why scientific theories must be reviewed thoroughly. Criticismand peer review are important methods used to examine if we are influencing theoutcomes based on the design of the experiment. Longino argues that all aspectsand methods of acquiring knowledge should be investigated to ensure that thepublic is receiving the truth.
Factors such as bias, political power, paradigmshifts, and social context have an impact on science, which is why objectivityand subjectivity must hold a balance in the philosophy of science. Helen’s overarching point is that socialinteraction has a subjective impact on how we study science and perceive thescientific world, but objectivity should be used to ensure validity and consistencyAnargument that can be made about Helen’s viewpoint deals with the notion of individualityand generalization. Although I believe social construct and environment can influencea person’s ideas and beliefs, context does not encompass everything about them.For example, a state may be labeled as holding a certain political orphilosophical belief, but within the state is an imbalance of power betweenthose beliefs and ideas.
Paradigm shifts of power and ideas can dramatically altera nation at any given time and impact the scientific community. Although wholegroups of people are represented by a local philosophical idea, each personstill maintains individual beliefs separate of the generalized group.Overall,I agree with the positivist view that science must hold subjective andobjective values to ensure we are studying science formulated by individualexperiences that must be justified by critics to ensure we are perceiving thetruth. The lack of objectivity can result in the emergence of dangerousphilosophies and beliefs that have no justification. Objectivity and diversityare methods we can use to differentiate illusion from truth.