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Histories of Scientific Observation

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ISBN-10: 0226136787

ISBN-13: 9780226136783

Edition: 2011

Authors: Lorraine Daston, Elizabeth Lunbeck

List price: $34.00
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Description:

Observation is the most pervasive and fundamental practice of all the modern sciences, both natural and human. Its instruments include not only the naked senses but also tools such as the telescope and microscope, the questionnaire, the photographic plate, the notebook, the glassed-in beehive, and myriad other ingenious inventions designed to make the invisible visible, the evanescent permanent, the abstract concrete. Yet observation has almost never been considered as an object of historical inquiry in itself. This wide-ranging collection offers the first examination of the history of scientific observation in its own right, as both epistemic category and scientific practice. Histories of Scientific Observationfeatures engaging episodes drawn from across the spectrum of the natural and human sciences, ranging from meteorology, medicine, and natural history to economics, astronomy, and psychology. The contributions spotlight how observers have scrutinized everythingfrom seaweed to X-ray radiation, household budgets to the emotionswith ingenuity, curiosity, and perseverance verging on obsession. This book makes a compelling case for the significance of the long, surprising, and epistemologically significant history of scientific observation, a history full of innovations that have enlarged the possibilities of perception, judgment, and reason.
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Book details

List price: $34.00
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 2/1/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 480
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.386
Language: English

Lorraine Daston is director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and honorary professor at the Humboldt-Universit�t, Berlin.Gregg Mitman is William Coleman Professor of the History of Science and professor of medical history and science and technology studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Introduction: Observation Observed
Framing the History of Scientific Observation, 500-1800
Introduction
Observation in the Margins, 500-1500
Observation Rising: Birth of an Epistemic Genre, 1500-1650
The Empire of Observation, 1600 -1800
Observing and Believing: Evidence
Introduction
The Color of Blood: Between Sensory Experience and Epistemic Significance
Seeing Is Believing: Professor Vagner's Wonderful World
A Visual History of Jean Perrin's Brownian Motion Curves
Observing in New Ways: Techniques
Introduction
Frogs on the Mantelpiece: The Practice of Observation in Daily Life
Sorting Things Out: The Economist as an Armchair Observer
"A Number of Scenes in a Badly Cut Film": Observation in the Age of Strobe
Empathy as a Psychoanalytic Mode of Observation: Between Sentiment and Science
Observing New Things: Objects
Introduction
Reforming Vision: The Engineer Le Play Learns to Observe Society Sagely
Seeking Parts, Looking for Wholes
Seeing the Blush: Feeling Emotions
Visualizing Radiation: The Photographs of Henri Becquerel
Observing Together: Communities
Introduction
The Geography of Observation: Distance and Visibility in Eighteenth-Century Botanical Travel
The World on a Page: Making a General Observation in the Eighteenth Century
Coming to Attention: A Commonwealth of Observers during the Napoleonic Wars
List of Contributors
Index