On the status and role of instrumental images in contemporary science: some epistemological issues

Autores

  • Hermínio Martins University of Lisbon; Institute of Social Sciences

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1590/S1678-31662014000400002

Resumo

The controversy over imageless thought versus picture thinking (especially via mechanical models), with the recent reconsideration of model-based reasoning in the physical sciences is briefly examined. The main focus of the article is on the role of instrumentally elicited images (scopic instruments, cameras, CCDs) in the sciences, especially in the physical sciences, with special reference to optics, experimental particle physics and observational astronomy, against the background of the civilization of digital images, though to some degree every scientific discipline is implicated. Imaging, today chiefly in the mode of electronic digital visual imaging, reaches into every phase of scientific inquiry, observational, experimental, simulational, even in mathematical research. The combination of algorithms and image-intensive science with the plethora of big data results in an epistemic pattern of "mathematical imagism". The epistemological issues regarding the image-intensiveness as of data-intensiveness of scientific research deserve further probing, in pursuance of the discussions of the ideal of mechanical objectivity in machine vision (an ever greater proportion of scientific visualization) versus trained judgment in the selection and assessment of scientific images: as for now tacitly we depend on conventions regarding what we called "warranted imageability".

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Publicado

2014-01-01

Como Citar

Martins, H. (2014). On the status and role of instrumental images in contemporary science: some epistemological issues . Scientiae Studia, 12(spe), 11-36. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1678-31662014000400002

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