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Referring to the Whig Party, the former political opponents of the Tories in Great Britain, British historian Herbert Butterfield once coined the term ‘Whiggish’ historiography for any account that looks at the past from the perspective of the present, as if the goal of the past were the achievement of the present. Thus, a ‘Whiggish’ history of science carefully ignores everything of the past that does not suit the idea of a steady growth of science towards the current state. Strangely enough, that approach has been prominent in philosophy too, from Hegel to recent philosophy science, so that we could equally speak of ‘Hegelian historiography’.
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