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Inkeri Koskinen (University of Helsinki): Unifying the Notion of Objectivity
23 November, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
In their recent book The Tangle of Science (2022) Cartwright, Hardie, Montuschi, Soleiman, and Thresher argue that objectivity is a Ballung concept: it does not admit of one unique definition. Any attempt to “precisify” the notion will lead to alienation: the result is not an account of the commonly accepted meaning of objectivity, but a new meaning severed from contexts and connotations that the precisification does not cover. In this paper I argue that this is a valid but incomplete criticism if the aim is to come up with an account that would simultaneously be descriptively accurate and tell us when the claim “x is objective” is justified. But it is not a valid criticism if the aim is something else. To clarify what I mean I will discuss three recent attempts to unify the notion; Hoyningen Huene’s (2023), Wilholt’s (2022), and my own (2020, 2021, 2023).
Inkeri Koskinen is a philosopher of science working as an Academy of Finland Research Fellow in Practical philosophy, University of Helsinki. She is a member of the Centre for Philosophy of Social Science (TINT).