Article ID: CBB242994383

Scale Tricks and God Tricks, or The Power of Scale in Powers of Ten (2020)


As scale has been increasingly highlighted in cultural analysis and STS, it has not been made sufficiently clear how scale is produced, why it generates such powerful effects, and what relationship it has to science and representation. In response, this article proposes a definition of scale: scale is the systematic accounting for significant shifts in a measured range of observation. I argue that the full implications of scale have been obscured by a critical resistance to its basic parameters, as can be demonstrated in the frequent invocations of Donna Haraway's god trick in relation to scalar depictions and in critiques of the Eames's Powers of Ten. This article thus unfolds this definition of scale through a critique of critiques of Powers of Ten in order to clarify the power of scale. It then applies this discussion of scale to recent invocations of scale by (post)humanists in order to delineate the contours of scale critique.

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Authors & Contributors
Haustein, Heinz-Dieter
Williams, N. H.
Bolton, H. C.
Moulinier, Laurence
Sallmann, Line
Verna, Catherine
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Historical Records of Australian Science
Journal of American Culture
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Walter de Gruyter
Presses Universitaires de Vincennes
St. Martin's Press
Weights and measures
Scales (weights and measures)
Technoscience; science and technology studies
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Haraway, Donna Jeanne
Plumwood, Val
Mendeleev, Dmitri Ivanovich
Blumbahs, Fricis
Stengers, Isabelle
Latour, Bruno
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
21st century
20th century, late
16th century
Hellenistic world
Latvian Academy of Sciences

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