David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 34 (4):475-498 (1991)
The problem of how to handle interesting but ignored thinkers of the past is discussed through an analysis of the case of Ludwik Fleck. Fleck was totally ignored in the ?30s and declared an important thinker in the 70s and ?80s. In the first case fashion ignored him and in the second it praised him. The praise has been as poor as the silence was unjust. We may do such thinkers more justice if we recognize that intellectual society is fickle, that we cannot make amends in many cases, but that we can do such thinkers justice by treating them critically ? even if this means explaining away any impact they might have had. If we wish to be autonomous and independent of fashion, we must abandon efforts to use the making of amends the occasion for making intellectual society seem fairer than it is.
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