gether_than_thou (gethrees) wrote in about_science,

Observation and Experience: A Return to the Churchland/Fodor debate

So I'm revisiting Barnes, Bloor and Henry "Scientific Knowledge: A Sociological Analysis" particularly the first few chapters on observation and classification before writing a chapter of my thesis on injury interpretation. Anyway, I'm interested in the sensory aspect of observation, the actual sensory experience of observing a phenomena divorced from an observation statement which is, I'm sure we all agree, theory-laden. My question is, is there anything that the sociologist, historian or any other analyst can actually say about the moment of observation? How does one get access to that kind of data? I understand that BBH wished to examine that point as it enables them to present themselves as realists as opposed to post-modernists, but can we actually make these sorts of claims. As BBH rightly suggest the reporting of an observation (with its inherent interpretation) will impinge upon all later discussions of the moment of observation, so how can we actually get the experiential part of observation? To put it another way, using Hanson's example of Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler looking at a sun-rise, okay, they may view the Universe differently and therefore understand what they are seeing differently but they see the same thing, experientially they view the sun rise in the same way, but what does that buy-us as analysts, they still go off and report the phenomena in different ways.

I suppose what I'm trying to get at here is the question of why should we focus on the moment of observation?

Hope you can make some sense of this blather, any comments or help would be much appreciated.
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