Topics: Henry David Thoreau, Observation, Scientific method Pages: 2 (452 words) Published: February 17, 2013
O“Observation” By Henry David Thoreau
“Observation,” by Henry David Thoreau, is a passage that presents the idea that there is no such thing as pure objective observation, only subjective observation. Written during the Age of Enlightment, philosophes Thoreau stated that observations do not need to be true and accomplish an overall purpose because observations come from the individual and what he or she believes in. Thoreau was able to illustrate this idea in this text through examples like “though all his neighbors pronounce it a Sahara, it will be a paradise to him; for the desert which we see is the result of the barrenness of our experience.” Specifically relating to this example, it demonstrates that observations become significant and interesting if the individual believes it is so. If he or she does not believe it is credible, the observation becomes useless. From this, Thoreau explains that observations tend to be almost inhuman and brick-like. In the current times of the early 1800s, the only observations made were about science and new ideas that were not important to others. This makes the ideas not realistic. Another reason why Thoreau wrote this passage was to prove that observations are made through human experiences. He states that in order to fully understand the thing, idea, place, or person, is experience through the very eyes of that person. Overall, true observations come from each individual and there is no such thing as a true observation.

After reading this passage by Thoreau about observation, I must agree with him. I believe that there is no such thing as a pure objective observation, only subjective because observations become purposeful if the individual is intrigued by the idea. To go along with that idea, I also agree with Thoreau that observations are different for everyone, presenting the idea that there is no truth in observation, only a semi true idea. For instance, mankind is affected by words; though this may be true, there...
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