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What do you find more trustworthy, experts or numbers, personal 'know-how' or 'objective facts'? Can science claim special authority based on the objectivity of its methods? Are our ethical decisions always better when we strive to be impartial and unbiased? Why should we value objectivity, and is it achievable anyway? These are a few of the thought-provoking questions Guy Axtell asks in this comprehensive new text book, employing examples from the natural and social sciences as well as philosophy. This unique introduction surveys the key issues in a clear and concise way, assessing the nature of objectivity and value of the demand to be impartial decision-makers. Moving beyond the fundamentals, Axtell explores contemporary feminist and social epistemological attempts to 'reconstruct' the concept of objectivity, explains the implications of the so-called science wars for philosophy and the analytical method, and the ethical consequences of these debates. Objectivity is an excellent introduction to one of the most exciting areas of study in philosophy and science today. Students and scholars alike will value this balanced guide to a hotly contested, and vitally important, topic.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 216 pages
  • 139 x 215 x 19mm | 358g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745662218
  • 9780745662213
  • 1,397,952

Review quote

"A solid, wide ranging, knowledgeable study of objectivity, not only in the natural sciences, but also in the social sciences, history, and ethics." Catherine Elgin, Harvard Graduate School of Education "Axtell has written a wide-ranging, intellectually spirited and engaging treatment of this central philosophical topic." Duncan Pritchard, University of Edinburghshow more

About Guy Axtell

Guy Axtell is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Radford Universityshow more

Table of contents

Contents Acknowledgments Introduction: A Valuable but Contested Concept Part I: The Intelligible World 1. Objectivity and 'First Philosophies' 2. Objectivism, Relativism, and the Cartesian Anxiety Part II: Beyond the 'Science Wars' 3. Objectivity in the Natural Sciences 4. Objectivity in the Human and Behavioral Sciences Part III: Critical Reconstructions of Objectivity 5. Objectivity Rehabilitated 6. Ethics and Objectivity Notes Referencesshow more