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Locke's Pineapple and the History of Taste

Locke's Pineapple and the History of Taste Sean R. Silver University of California, Los Angeles The problem with empiricism, the argument goes, is that it doesn't know that it is an ideology. Its mistake is to assume that the objects of sensation can be isolated from the cultural background of experience, that the matters of fact produced by the methods of empirical inquiry can be isolated from the ideological positions that those methods imply. On the contrary, one might object, matters are more than simply matters of fact; the empirical view of the object is far from being objective. As Bruno Latour puts it, "reality is not defined by matters of fact. Matters of fact are not all that is given in experience. Matters of fact are only very partial . . . very polemical, very political renderings of matters of concern and only a subset of what could also be called states of affairs."1 The contours of the fact, one might say, and even the qualities of the objectivity which it implies, are shaped by the demands and pressures of its historical context. Nor is this claim very surprising for one who is familiar either with the major themes of Latour's career, or, indeed, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Eighteenth Century University of Pennsylvania Press

Locke's Pineapple and the History of Taste

The Eighteenth Century , Volume 49 (1) – Apr 26, 2008

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Texas Tech University Press
ISSN
1935-0201
Publisher site
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Abstract

Sean R. Silver University of California, Los Angeles The problem with empiricism, the argument goes, is that it doesn't know that it is an ideology. Its mistake is to assume that the objects of sensation can be isolated from the cultural background of experience, that the matters of fact produced by the methods of empirical inquiry can be isolated from the ideological positions that those methods imply. On the contrary, one might object, matters are more than simply matters of fact; the empirical view of the object is far from being objective. As Bruno Latour puts it, "reality is not defined by matters of fact. Matters of fact are not all that is given in experience. Matters of fact are only very partial . . . very polemical, very political renderings of matters of concern and only a subset of what could also be called states of affairs."1 The contours of the fact, one might say, and even the qualities of the objectivity which it implies, are shaped by the demands and pressures of its historical context. Nor is this claim very surprising for one who is familiar either with the major themes of Latour's career, or, indeed,

Journal

The Eighteenth CenturyUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Apr 26, 2008

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