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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 56, Issue 4, 2019

Angelina V. Baeva
Pages 46-61

Historization of Scientific Observation in Modern Scientific Researches

This article is devoted to historization of scientific practices as one of the central points in problem field of modern science studies. The subject of our article is scientific observation as one of the epistemic practices. Historization of scientific observation in modern scientific studies is possible, because of material practices and social relations begin to problematize in the scientific field. Science is no longer characterized only by a propositional order of representations. It is an assemblage of connections and relations between different agents and network of things, people and practices. This network is complexly arranged and branched, but in the same time it is coordinated in a certain optics and it is producing the visual closure to constructed object. This new optics, that makes visible the material and routine practices, puts in a new way the task to understand, how to work with heterogeneous and historically changeable field of practices and different “ways to do science”. There is a rethinking of the self-evident epistemic categories and particularly scientific observation. As an epistemic genre and scientific practice observation begins to take shape relatively late – only in the XVII century, when there is a complication and multiplication of practices of production of the visual images, that are making concrete from abstract and visible from invisible. To historicize scientific observation is to show how it has become a self-evident epistemic category and an integral scientific function. Scientific observation can be historicized as a set of practices that emerged and spread throughout a particular historical period, on the one hand, as practices of production, coordination, presentation and description of observational data. And on the other hand, it can be historicized as practices of production of “scientific self” as instances of observation. This article attempts to show that observation as a practice and as historically varied object of science is characterized, on the one hand, by the production of “that is visible” and, on the other hand, by “scientific self”.

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