More than a marriage of convenience: On the inextricability of history and philosophy of science

Philosophy of Science 44 (1):1-42 (1977)
Abstract
History of science, it has been argued, has benefited philosophers of science primarily by forcing them into greater contact with "real science." In this paper I argue that additional major benefits arise from the importance of specifically historical considerations within philosophy of science. Loci for specifically historical investigations include: (1) making and evaluating rational reconstructions of particular theories and explanations, (2) estimating the degree of support earned by particular theories and theoretical claims, and (3) evaluating proposed philosophical norms for the evaluation of the degree of support for theories and the worth of explanations. More generally, I argue that theories develop and change structure with time, that (like biological species) they are historical entities. Accordingly, both the identification and the evaluation of theories are essentially historical in character
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