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Zeligs, M.A. (1970). Science and Subjectivity: By Israel Scheffler. New York: Bobbs Merrill Co., Inc., 1967. 132 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 39:645-647.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 39:645-647

Science and Subjectivity: By Israel Scheffler. New York: Bobbs Merrill Co., Inc., 1967. 132 pp.

Review by:
Meyer A. Zeligs

In May, 1965, Oberlin College invited Professor Scheffler of Harvard University to deliver the Mead-Swing Lectures on the theme of science and subjectivity. These original four lectures, elaborated by the author during a sabbatical year at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard, plus a final chapter and index, comprise the present volume. The final result is a consecutive series of closely reasoned, highly polished professorial discourses on the nature, vicissitudes, and fate of objectivity in the changing world of science. A slight, soft-bound, handy volume, it is, however, heavily weighted with the dialectics and rationalisms characteristic of discourses in modern 'scientific' philosophy. The author takes for granted that his readers are well grounded in nineteenth century scholastic philosophy. In a short preface, he states his thesis:

… the ideal of objectivity [in science] is beyond question. The philosophical task is to assess and interpret this ideal; to ask how, if at all, objectivity is possible… The notion of a fixed observational given, of a constant descriptive language, of a shared methodology of investigation, of a rational community advancing its knowledge of the real world—all have been subjected to severe and mounting criticism from a variety of directions.

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