The Black-Boxed Body of the Scientist

A quote from Karin Knorr Cetina, Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge

p. 94. “According to historian (Kutschmann 1986), the scientist’s body is no longer a relevant tool in the conduct of research. While the fact that scientists have a body may be granted to be a precondition for doing experiments (Merleau-Ponty 1962), few believe that this body still plays a role as instrument of inquiery (for feminist questions about the body, see Martin 1991, 1992a,b; Schiebinger 1993). Two factors aided in the ‘disembodiment’ of science. Of is the inclusion, into research, of technical instruments that outperformed, and replaced, sensory bodily functions. The other is the derogatory attitude important scientists developed toward the sensory body. For Galileo, Bacon, and other seventeenth-century experimentalists, who promoted the nuova scienzia, it was wrong to believe that our senses were the measure of all things.”

Kutschmann, W. 1986. Der Wissenschaftler und sein Körper.

Merleau-Ponty, M. 1962. Phenomenology of Perception.

Martin, E. 1991. “The egg and the sperm: how science has constructed a romance based on stereotypical male-female roles.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Science, 16(3): 485-501.

Martin, E. 1992a. The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysys of Reproduction.

Martin, E. 1992b. “The end of the body?” American Ethnologist, 19(1): 121-140.


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