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Objectivity

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Caspar David Friedrich, Sea of Ice, c. 1823-25 , Kunsthalle, Hamburg

True knowledge that is, or should be, value-neutral. Thus, objective knowledge is knowledge of how things really are, as opposed to how they appear to be. Objectivity presupposes that there is a real, external world which is independent of our knowledge of it, and that it is possible to describe this world accurately. On this view of science, scientific methodology aspires to provide the rules whereby reality can be known (a variant of this can be found in positivism). Philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche have criticised this notion. For Nietzsche, there is no knowledge which is not interested knowledge, i.e. which does not have an interest in, and therefore does not presuppose some value with regard to, its subject-matter. Foucault has taken a similar line. The implication of this attitude is that the aspiration to value objectivity above all else in knowledge is itself generated historically and culturally.

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What are the limits of a positivistic view of medicine as a science?