Course: The History and Epistemology of the Scientific Visualisations

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Course title The History and Epistemology of the Scientific Visualisations
Course code KFI/HVVD
Organizational form of instruction Lecture
Level of course Doctoral
Year of study not specified
Semester Winter and summer
Number of ECTS credits 5
Language of instruction Czech
Status of course Compulsory-optional
Form of instruction Face-to-face
Work placements This is not an internship
Recommended optional programme components None
  • Demjančuk Nikolaj, Doc. PhDr. CSc.
  • Dvořák Tomáš, Mgr. Ph.D.
Course content
Epistemology and semiotics of diagrams; Visualizations of time in the late 1700s; Nineteenth-century graphic instruments; É.-J- Marey's graphic and chronophotogaphic methods; O. Neurath's Isotype; Computer graphics in the sciences; Big data diagrams; Database; Geographical information systems. Topics for exam: 1. Diagram as a cognitive artefact 2. Visualisation of time and natural history 3. The graphical apparatuses of the 19th century 4. The genesis of statistical diagrams 5. É.-J. Marey (the graphical and chronophotographic method) 6. O. Neurath (Isotype) 7. Computer graphics in the sciences 8. Diagrams, databases, big data

Learning activities and teaching methods
Lecture supplemented with a discussion, Group discussion, Self-study of literature
  • Contact hours - 26 hours per semester
  • Individual project (40) - 40 hours per semester
  • Preparation for an examination (30-60) - 64 hours per semester
professional knowledge
Course requires no special prior knowledge and skills.
learning outcomes
Students will become able to analyze historical forms of technical and computer-generated data visualizations and to distinguish their various applications in natural and social sciences. They will be able to evaluate both primary and secondary literature, to analyze particular examples of visualizations and to identify and evaluate epistemological effects of scientific diagrams.
teaching methods
Lecture supplemented with a discussion
Group discussion
Self-study of literature
assessment methods
Oral exam
Recommended literature
  • Anderson, M. (ed.). Diagramatic Representation and Reasoning. Wien, 2002.
  • Bender, J. - Marrinan, M. The Culture of Diagram. Stanford, 2010.
  • Bertin, Jacques. Semiology of graphics : diagrams, networks, maps. 1st ed. Redlands : ESRI Press, 2011. ISBN 978-1-58948-261-6.
  • Daston, L. J.; Galison, Peter Louis. Objectivity. New York : Zone Books, 2010. ISBN 978-1-890951-79-5.
  • Dvořák, Tomáš. Kapitoly z dějin a teorie médií. Vyd. 1. Praha : Akademie výtvarných umění v Praze, Vědecko-výzkumné pracoviště, 2010. ISBN 978-80-87108-16-1.
  • Jones, Caroline A.; Galison, Peter Louis. Picturing science, producing art. New York : Routledge, 1998. ISBN 0-415-91912-6.
  • Lima, M. Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information. New York : Princeton Architectural Press, 2011.
  • Lynch, M. - Woolgar, S. Representation in Scientific Practice. Cambridge : MIT Press, 1990.
  • Marey, É.-J. La Méthode Graphique dans les Sciences Expérimentales et Principalement en Physiologie et en Médicine. Paris : G. Masson, 1885.
  • Moktefi, A. Visual Reasoning with Diagrams. Birkhäuser, 2013.
  • Neurath, O. Modern Man in the Making. New York, 1939.
  • Reder, C. (ed.). Kartographisches Denken. Wien : Springer, 2012.
  • Stjernfelt, F. Diagrammatology: An Investigation on the Borderlines of Phenomenology, Ontology, and Semiotics. Dordrecht : Springer, 2007.
  • Tufte, E. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Graphics Press, 1983.
  • Tufte, Edward R. Envisioning Information. Graphics Pr, 2009. ISBN 978-0961392116.
  • Tufte, Edward R. Visual explanations : images and quantities, evidence and narrative. Cheshire : Graphics Press, 1997. ISBN 0-9613921-2-6.
  • Vossoughian, N. Otto Neurath: The Language of Global Polis. Rotterdam : NAi Publishers, 2011.

Study plans that include the course
Faculty Study plan (Version) Branch of study Category Recommended year of study Recommended semester
Faculty of Philosophy and Arts Theory and History of Science and Technology (11-1,2,3,4) Philosophy, theology 1 -
Faculty of Philosophy and Arts Theory and History of Science and Technology (11-1,2,3,4) Philosophy, theology 1 -