Re: Serious thoughts about objectivity

Deus Ex Machina (x8h1@MUSIC.STLAWU.EDU)
Sun, 6 Oct 1996 18:18:22 -0400

>In message <> Andrew Petto writes:
>> [...] the famous work of the French anatomist Broca, who used comparative
>> studies of male and female brains to answer the question, "Why are women less
>> intelligent than men?" A social construction/composition of observations
>> that we fully recognize now, but that was invisible to scientists and
>> in his time.
Ron Kephart writes:

>Another example is the recurring furor over "race" and "IQ" both of which are
>social constructions/compositions masquerading as scientifically objectifiable
>"things" in the real world. Another one of those "big ideas" we should be
>working to get across.

I must say that "race" certainly is a construction, however I don't think
the same can be said of IQ. Intelligence can certainly be measured. The
disagreement rests primarily on whether or not intelligence can be
described in one number. How exacting we are in measurements of
intelligence is another question. Then again science is indeed socially
influenced anyway.

In terms of objectivity, it seems to me, that the biggest mistakes are made
simply because we are ignorant of our biases and assumptions specifically
in the questions we ask, as the Broca example shows clearly. Indeed, in a
way its the answers that are innocent the questions are not.


Matthew D. Joanis '98
St. Lawrence University
"Ipsa scientia potestas est"