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Daston L., Lunbeck E. (eds.) Histories of Scientific Observation

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Daston L., Lunbeck E. (eds.) Histories of Scientific Observation
University of Chicago Press, 2011. — 460 p.
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 Observation features 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 everything—from seaweed to X-ray radiation, household budgets to the emotions—with 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.
Contents:
Introduction: Observation Observed (by Loraine Daston and Elizabeth Lunbeck).
Framing the History of Scientific Observation, 500–1800
Introduction.
Observation in the Margins, 500–1500 (by Katharine Park).
Observation Rising: Birth of an Epistemic Genre, 1500–1650 (by Gianna Pomata).
The Empire of Observation, 1600 –1800 (by Lorraine Daston).
Observing and Believing: Evidence
Introduction.
The Color of Blood: Between Sensory Experience and Epistemic Significance (by Domenico Bertoloni Meli).
Seeing Is Believing: Professor Vagner’s Wonderful World (by Michael D. Gordin).
A Visual History of Jean Perrin’s Brownian Motion Curves (by Charlotte Bigg).
Observing in New Ways: Techniques
Introduction.
Frogs on the Mantelpiece: The Practice of Observation in Daily Life (by Mary Terrall).
Sorting Things Out: The Economist as an Armchair Observer (by Harro Maas).
A Number of Scenes in a Badly Cut Film: Observation in the Age of Strobe (by Jimena Canales).
Empathy as a Psychoanalytic Mode of Observation: Between Sentiment and Science (by Elizabeth Lunbeck).
Observing New Things: Objects
Introduction.
Reforming Vision: The Engineer Le Play Learns to Observe Society Sagely (by Theodore M. Porter).
Seeking Parts, Looking for Wholes (by Mary S. Morgan).
Seeing the Blush: Feeling Emotions (by Otniel E. Dror).
Visualizing Radiation: The Photographs of Henri Becquerel (by Kelley Wilder).
Observing Together: Communities
Introduction.
The Geography of Observation: Distance and Visibility in Eighteenth-Century Botanical Travel (by Daniela Bleichmar).
The World on a Page: Making a General Observation in the Eighteenth Century (by J. Andrew Mendelsohn).
Coming to Attention: A Commonwealth of Observers during the Napoleonic Wars (by Anne Secord).
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