By J. F. Scott
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Additional resources for A History of Mathematics: From Antiquity to the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century
Viewed in this generic sense, "requirement" reflects the normative and risky dimension of dependence on a milieu, that is, on what may or may not fulfill needs and demands. Any practice or living being depends simultaneously on diverse milieus. A physician depends on the answers of the sick body she addresses as well as on society, together with the series of institutions that make it possible for her to provide care. " The term "obligation" also reflects a principle of nonequivalence, but CONSTRAINTS 55 lliis time one that affects the "typical behaviors" orways of proceeding of the practitioner herself, or the difference between that which, in her own practice and that of her colleagues, will excite, satisfy, disappoint, or be rejected as unacceptable.
We are obligated by, or are obligated to—with, CONSTRAINTS 53 iii some cases—the dimension of gratitude that the Portuguese language emphasizes. " However, it would be rash to use the example of experimentation to assimilate an "outside" or "material at risk" that may or may not satisfy certain requirements to the field of phenomena, and an "inside" to the specialists who investigate it. For each practice, it is on the basis of the definition of what is designated as "reality" and what will be asserted as "value" that the scope, implications, and problems of requirements and obligations can be specified.
The contrast I proposed between a raw, empirical, neutral fact and an experimental fact, a factishistic fabrication no matter how fully inhabited by human histories and, as such, capable of differentiating between the interpretations that are suggested for it, can be repeated in terms of obligations. A real "raw" fact, independent of us, like an earthquake or a tree falling on a passerby, is associated with no obligation involving the meaning it must be given: it is available for any interpretation, 56- CONSTRAINTS any creation of meaning, including the one that invokes some stoically endured accident.