Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nagal and the Air Pump

Hi everyone,

I was just thinking about Nagal's essay on objectivity and it reminded me a lot of The Leviathan and the Air Pump. The whole idea that subjective is being replaced by objective is I think one of the major issues addressed in The Leviathan and the Air Pump because Boyle's objective experiments triumph over Hobbes's subjective logic (well subjective to the modern reader anyways).
I personally think that some things do need to progress towards a more objective view such as the physical sciences. Biology, physics, and chemistry wouldn't be very useful subjects to study if one could make a subjective theory and have it be assumed to be correct without any evidence. Other subjects such as the social sciences and the arts thrive off of subjective thought. These subjects use the ideas of individuals and new ideas are what renew it and keep it alive. If these subjects were to become objective they would die out because everything would be written to a certain guideline and form. These were some of the connections I made between those two different works.
I just wanted to add that Moore's poetry as a whole seems to not follow any set structure too me. There are similarities between each poem but as to how the poems are structures they all seem so different. "Poetry" is very very short, "The Octopus" is really long, "In Days of Prismatic Color" has set stanzas that strictly adhere to a structure but between all of the poems we read I'm having difficulty making connections. Could someone maybe help me out? Point me in the right direction?


  1. Nagal's essay also reminded me of The Leviathan and the Air Pump because of the whole "matters of fact" issue. Knowing matters of fact is a big part of being objective. I agree that to some things do need to progress to be able to look at them more objectively.
    I think that you are right in thinking that Moore's poetry does not follow a certain structure, but she does use the same type of descriptive tone in all her poems.

  2. The comparison between Leviathan and the Air-Pump and The View from Nowhere is a good one; both are concerned with objectivity.

    Let's try to be as careful with the term "objectivity" as Shapin, Schaffer, and Nagel are, however. We're used to using it in a casual sense as if it were equivalent to (a) scientificity, (b) reality, (c) truth. But both Leviathan and the Air-Pump and The View from Nowhere complicate that picture by using more precise definitions of objectivity. So, for example, for Shapin and Schaffer, matters of fact don't exist independently. They come into being as a result of particular ("objective") behaviors by groups of people.


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