In the course of the history of science, some concepts have forged theoretical foundations, constituting paradigms that hold sway for substantial periods of time. Research on the history of explanations of the action of one body on another is a testament to the periodic revival of one theory in particular, namely, the theory of ether. Even after the foundation of modern Physics, the notion of ether has directly and indirectly withstood the test of time. Through a spontaneous (...) physics philosophical analysis, this article will explore how certain aspects of the concept of ether have appeared in different branches of the history of science. (shrink)
The case often made by scientists (and philosophers) against history and the history of science in particular is clear. Insofar as a field of study is historical as opposed to law-based, it is trivial. Insofar as a field attends to the past of science as opposed to current scientific issues, its efforts are derivative and, by diverting attention from acquiring new knowledge, deplorable. This case would be devastating if true, but it has almost everything almost exactly (...) wrong. The study of history and the study of laws are not mutually exclusive, but unavoidably linked. Neither can be pursued without the other. Much the same can be said of the history of science. The history of science is neither a distraction from "real" science nor even merely a help to science. Rather, the history of science is an essential part of each science. Seeing that this is so requires a broader understanding of both history and science. (shrink)
Before 1950, history of science did not exist as an independent academic branch, but was instead pursued by practitioners across various humanities and scientific disciplines. After professionalization, traces of its prehistory as a cross-disciplinary area of interest bound to an interdisciplinary, educational philosophy have remained. This essay outlines the development of history of science as an interdisciplinary academic field, and argues that it constitutes an obvious choice for inclusion in an interdisciplinary academic program, provided faculty and (...) administrators learn how best to manage its advantages and pitfalls. (shrink)
This article examines the communication networks within and between science and technology studies (STS) and the history of science. In particular, journal relatedness data are used to analyze some of the structural features of their disciplinary identities and relationships. The results first show that, although the history of science is more than half a century older than STS, the size of the STS network is more than twice that of the history of science (...) network. Further, while a majority of the journals in the STS network are connected by weak ties, about half of the history of science network consists of strong ties. The history of science network is thus more cohesive than the STS network. The relatively strong cohesion within the history of science network is associated with comparatively high degrees of intra-disciplinary communication, but comparatively weak ties to only a few related disciplines. The analysis also shows that very few members of the history of science cliques are situated on the shortest path between both specialties. Moreover, given the relatively impermeable nature of the history of science network, the latter partially depends on STS to reach some of the neighboring disciplines. (shrink)
There have been few attempts, so far, to document the history of artificial intelligence. It is argued that the “historical sociology of scientific knowledge” can provide a broad historiographical approach for the history of AI, particularly as it has proved fruitful within the history of science in recent years. The article shows how the sociology of knowledge can inform and enrich four types of project within the history of AI; organizational history; AI viewed as (...) technology; AI viewed as cognitive science and historical biography. In the latter area the historical treatments of Darwin and Turing are compared to warn against the pitfalls of “rational reconstructions” of the past. (shrink)
A companion paper explored the role of intuition in the genesis of an alternative theory for the secretion of pancreatic digestive enzymes, looking through the lens of three philosophers/historians of science. Gerald Holton, the last scholar, proposed that scientific imagination is shaped by a number of thematic presuppositions, which function largely below awareness. They come in pairs of opposites that alternately gain cultural preeminence. The current paper examines three thematic presuppositions inherent to both the generally accepted model for digestive (...) enzyme secretion and most consciousness-centered views of higher-level cognition—discreteness, reduction, and simplicity. Since they often build on each other, together they are referred to as the simplicity worldview . Also considered are the three opposite thematic assumptions inherent to both the alternative model for digestive enzyme secretion and intuition-friendly views of higher-level cognition—the continuum, holism, and complexity—together referred to as the complexity worldview . The article highlights the potential importance to scientific knowledge of this currently less favored worldview. (shrink)
The role of intuition in scientific endeavor is examined through the lens of three philosophers/historians of science—Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and Gerald Holton. All three attribute an important role to imagination/intuition in scientific endeavor. As a case study, the article examines the controversy between the generally accepted Vesicular Sequestration/Exocytosis Model of pancreatic digestive enzyme secretion and an alternative view called the Equilibrium Model. It highlights the intertwining of intuition and reason in the genesis of the Equilibrium Model developed in (...) response to findings that could not readily be explained by the consensus view. It suggests that tacit knowledge/understanding works in conjunction with philosophical and aesthetic presuppositions that function to a greater or lesser extent below awareness. Together they guide judgments about whether falsification has occurred and help frame alternative theories. (shrink)
This paper offers a refutation of J. C. Pinto de Oliveira's recent critique of revisionist Carnap scholarship as giving undue weight to two brief letters to Kuhn expressing his interest in the latter's work. First an argument is provided to show that Carnap and Kuhn are by no means divided by a radical mismatch of their conceptions of the rationality of science as supposedly evidenced by their stance towards the distinction of the contexts of discovery and justification. This is (...) followed by an argument to the effect that the fact that Carnap's own work concentrated on formal aspects of scientific theories does not licence the conclusion that he thought historical investigations and concerns irrelevant for what we nowadays would rightly call "philosophy of science". (shrink)
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, from the central (...) position it used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
History, Philosophy and Science Teaching argues that science teaching and science teacher education can be improved if teachers know something of the history and philosophy of science and if these topics are included in the science curriculum. The history and philosophy of science have important roles in many of the theoretical issues that science educators need to address: the goals of science education; what constitutes an appropriate science curriculum (...) for all students; how science should be taught in traditional cultures; what integrated science is; how scientific literacy can be promoted; and the conflict which can occur between science curriculum and deep-seated religious or cultural values and knowledge. In part, answers to these questions hinge on views about the nature of science, views that are best informed by historical and philosophical study. Outlining the history of liberal, or contextual, approaches to the teaching of science, Michael Matthews elaborates contemporary curriculum developments that explicitly address questions about the nature and the history of science. He provides examples of classroom teaching and develops useful arguments on constructivism, multicultural science education and teacher education. The book will appeal to school and university science teachers, educators of science teachers, and historians and philosophers of science. (shrink)
Hasok Chang (Science & Education 20:317–341, 2011) shows how the recovery of past experimental knowledge, the physical replication of historical experiments, and the extension of recovered knowledge can increase scientific understanding. These activities can also play an important role in both science and history and philosophy of science education. In this paper I describe the implementation of an integrated learning project that I initiated, organized, and structured to complement a course in history and philosophy of (...) the life sciences (HPLS). The project focuses on the study and use of descriptions, observations, experiments, and recording techniques used by early microscopists to classify various species of water flea. The first published illustrations and descriptions of the water flea were included in the Dutch naturalist Jan Swammerdam’s, Historia Insectorum Generalis (1669) (Algemeene verhandeling van de bloedeloose dierkens. t’Utrrecht, Meinardus van Dreunen, ordinaris Drucker van d’Academie). After studying these, we first used the descriptions, techniques, and nomenclature recovered to observe, record, and classify the specimens collected from our university ponds. We then used updated recording techniques and image-based keys to observe and identify the specimens. The implementation of these newer techniques was guided in part by the observations and records that resulted from our use of the recovered historical methods of investigation. The series of HPLS labs constructed as part of this interdisciplinary project provided a space for students to consider and wrestle with the many philosophical issues that arise in the process of identifying an unknown organism and offered unique learning opportunities that engaged students’ curiosity and critical thinking skills. (shrink)
History and philosophy complement and overlap each other in subject matter, but the two disciplines exhibit conflict over methodology. Since Hempel's challenge to historians that they should adopt the covering law model of explanation, the methodological conflict has revolved around the respective roles of the general and the particular in each discipline. In recent years, the revival of narrativism in history, coupled with the trend in philosophy of science to rely upon case studies, joins the methodological conflict (...) anew. So long as contemporary philosophy of science relies upon history's methodology to construct its case studies, it subjects itself to a paradoxical situation: the better the history, the worse the philosophy. An example of the methodological conflict is presented in the case of Antoine Lavoisier. This example also serves our ultimateconclusion, which is that distinctively philosophical methods of case-study design promise enhanced prescriptive powers for philosophy of science. (shrink)
Abstract This paper argues that history of economics has a fruitful, underappreciated role to play in the development of economics, especially when understood as a policy science. This goes against the grain of the last half century during which economics, which has undergone a formal revolution, has distanced itself from its `literary' past and practices precisely with the aim to be a more successful policy science. The paper motivates the thesis by identifying and distinguishing four kinds of (...) reflexivity in economics. The main thesis of this paper is that because these forms of reflexivity are not eliminable, the history of economics must play a constitutive role in economics (and graduate education within economics). An assumption that I clarify in this paper is that the history of economics ought to be part of the subject matter studied by economics when they are interested in policy science. Even if one does not accept the conclusion, the fourfold classification of reflexivity might hold independent interest. The paper is divided in two parts. First, by reflecting on the writings of George Stigler, Paul Samuelson, George and Milton Friedman, I offer a stylized historical introduction to and conceptualization of the themes of this paper. In particular, I identify various historically influential arguments and strategies that reduced the role of history of economics within the economics discipline. In it I also canvass six arguments that try to capture the cost to economics (understood as a science) for sidelining the history of economics from within the discipline. A sub-text of the introduction is that for contingent reasons, post World War II economics evolved into a policy science. Second, by drawing on the work of Kenneth Boulding, in particular, George Soros, Thomas Merton, Gordon Tullock, I distinguish between four species of reflexivity. These are used to then strengthen the argument for the constitutive role of the history of economics within the economics profession. In particular, I argue that so-called Kuhn-losses are especially pernicious when faced with policy choices under so-called Knightian uncertainty. (shrink)
Traditionally the domain of scientists, the history of science became an independent field of inquiry only in the twentieth century and mostly after the Second World War. This process of emancipation was accompanied by a historiographical departure from previous, 'scientistic' practices, a transformation often attributed to influences from sociology, philosophy and history. Similarly, the liberal humanists who controlled the Cambridge History of Science Committee after 1945 emphasized that their contribution lay in the special expertise they, (...) as trained historians, brought to the venture. However, the scientists who had founded the Committee in the 1930s had already advocated a sophisticated contextual approach: innovation in the history of science thus clearly came also from within the ranks of scientists who practised in the field. Moreover, unlike their scientist predecessors on the Cambridge Committee, the liberal humanists supported a positivistic protocol that has since been criticized for its failure to properly contextualize early modern science. Lastly, while celebrating the rise of modern science as an international achievement, the liberal humanists also emphasized the peculiar Englishness of the phenomenon. In this respect, too, their outlook had much in common with the practices from which they attempted to distance their project. (shrink)
At issue in this paper is the question of the appropriate relationship between the philosophy and history of science. The discussion starts with a brief sketch of Kuhn's approach, followed by an analysis of the so-called 'testing-theories-of-scientific-change programme'. This programme is an attempt at a more rigorous approach to the historical philosophy of science. Since my conclusion is that, by and large, this attempt has failed, I proceed to examine some more promising approaches. First, I deal with (...) Hacking's recent views on the issues in question, particularly his notion of a 'style of reasoning'. Next, Nickle's reconstructionist interpretation of the development of science and his views on Whig history are addressed. Finally, I propose an account of philosophy as a theoretical, an interpretative and explanatory, enterprise. Thus, three alternatives to the Kuhnian paradigm are discussed, alternatives that share a recognition of the relative autonomy of philosophy from history. Hence, they assume a less tight relationship between philosophy and history of science than is the case within the Kuhnian paradigm. (shrink)
Alexandre Koyre was one of the most prominent historians of science of the twentieth century. The standard interpretation of Koyre is that he falls squarely within the internalist camp of historians of science-that he focuses on the history of the ideas themselves, eschewing cultural and sociological interpretations regarding the influence of ideologies and institutions on the development of science. When we read what Koyre has to say about his historical studies (and most of what others have (...) said about them), we find him embracing and championing this Platonic view of his work. Ultimately I think this interpretation of Koyre's history of science is lopsided and in need of correction. I claim, rather, that a careful reading of Koyre's work suggests that a tension exists between internal and external methodological considerations. The external considerations stem from Koyre's commitment to the unity of human thought and the influence he admits that the 'transscientifiques' (philosophy, metaphysics, religion) have on the development of science. I suggest in conclusion then, that if we are to put a philosophical label on his work, rather than 'Platonist', as has been the custom, 'Hegelian' makes a better fit. (shrink)
This paper defends the right of historians to make use of their knowledge of the remote consequences of past actions. In particular, it is argued that the disciplinary cohesion of the history of science relies crucially upon our ability to target, for further investigation, those past activities ancestral to modern science. The history of science is not limited to the study of those activities but it is structured around them. In this sense, the discipline is (...) inherently 'present-centred': its boundaries are determined, in part, by judgements inaccessible to the historical actors. Present-centredness of this sort, it is urged, should not be regarded as a problem; its methodological consequences are minimal. (shrink)
In this article, I examine the historiographical ideas of the historian of chemistry Helene Metzger (1886-1944) against the background of the ideas of the members of the groups and institutions in which she worked, including Alexandre Koyre, Gaston Bachelard, Abel Rey, Henri Berr and Lucien Febrve. This article is on two interdependent levels: that of particular institutions and groups in which she worked (the Centre de Synthese, the International Committee for History of Science, the Institut d'Histoire des Sciences (...) et Techniques (Sorbonne) and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes) and that of historiographical ideas. I individuate two particular theoretical aspirations pursued by the historians in Metzger's milieu: the ideal of total history and the study of the human mind. These two objectives were seen by Metzger and many others as implicating each other. Moreover, Metzger and other historians wanted to integrate the practice of commentary of texts in the realisations of those ideals. I argue, however, that these objectives proved very difficult to realise at the same time. One tradition which stemmed out of these discussions, exemplified by Bachelard, Canguilhem and Foucault, focused on the mind and knowledge, and renounced commentary of texts and total history as it was understood by the historians of the Centre de Synthese. The latter, however, did not really pursue the study of the mind. Moreover, historians like Metzger and Koyre who practised an attentive analysis of texts could not realise total history. (shrink)
The paper examines Wesley Salmon's claim that the primary role of plausibility arguments in the history of science is to impose constraints on the prior probability of hypotheses (in the language of Bayesian confirmation theory). A detailed look at Copernicanism and Darwinism and, more briefly, Rutherford's discovery of the atomic nucleus reveals a further and arguably more important role of plausibility arguments. It resides in the consideration of likelihoods, which state how likely a given hypothesis makes a given (...) piece of evidence. In each case the likelihoods raise the probability of one of the competing hypotheses and diminish the credibility of its rival, and this may happen either on the basis of 'old' or 'new' evidence. (shrink)
Forty-two essays by authors from five continents and many disciplines provide a synthetic account of the history of the social sciences-including behavioral and economic sciences since the late eighteenth century. The authors emphasize the cultural and intellectual preconditions of social science, and its contested but important role in the history of the modern world. While there are many historical books on particular disciplines, there are very few about the social sciences generally, and none that deal with so (...) much of the world over so long a timespan. (shrink)
In The Advancement of Science (1993) Philip Kitcher develops what he calls the 'Compromise Model' of the closure of scientific debates. The model is designed to acknowledge significant elements from 'Rationalist' and 'Antirationalist' accounts of science, without succumbing to the one-sidedness of either. As part of an ambitious naturalistic account of scientific progress, Kitcher's model succeeds to the extent that transitions in the history of science satisfy its several conditions. I critically evaluate the Compromise Model by (...) identifying its crucial assumptions and by attempting to apply the model to a major transition in the history of biology: the rejection of 'naive group selectionism' in the 1960s. I argue that the weaknesses and limitations of Kitcher's model exemplify general problems facing philosophical models of scientific change, and that recognition of these problems supports a more modest vision of the relationship between historical and philosophical accounts of science. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is an extension of the idealizational theory of science in order to explicate intuitions of historians and philosophers of history about unpredictability and contingency of history. The author identifies two types of essential structures: the first kind dominated by the main factor and the second kind which is dominated by a class of secondary factors. In an essential structure dominated by the main factor, the power of influence it exerts is greater than (...) the sum of the power of influence of secondary factors. In an essential structure dominated by secondary factors, their total influence is greater than the influence exerted by the main factor, although the power of the latter influence is greater than the power of influence of each secondary factor taken separately. In the latter kind of essential structure the so-called cascade effect can occur which means that at certain moment the power of influence of secondary factors can be greater than influence of main factor. In the further part of this paper, the author examines consequences of cascade effect for construction of scientific theory and historical narrative. (shrink)
The very idea of a general philosophy of science relies on the assumption that there is this thing called science—as opposed to the various individual sciences. In this programmatic piece I make a case for the claim that general philosophy of science is the philosophy of science in general or science as such. Part of my narrative makes use of history, for two reasons. First, general philosophy of science is itself characterised by an (...) intellectual tradition which aimed to develop a coherent philosophical view of science, qua a part of culture with distinctive epistemic features and a distinctive relation to reality. But, second, this tradition went through some important conceptual shifts which re-oriented it and made it more sensitive to the actual development of science itself. The historical narrative focuses on three such moments: the defining moment, associated with Aristotle, and two major conceptual turns, related to Kant and Duhem. The pressures on the very idea of a general philosophy of science that followed the collapse of the macro-models of science that became popular in the 1960s, the pressures that lay all of the emphasis on fragmentation and not on integration, can be dealt with by a new synthesis within general philosophy of science of the constitutive and the historical, in light of the intellectual tradition that has defined it. (shrink)
This essay is a case study of the self-destruction that occurs in the work of a social-constructionist historian of science who embraces a radical philosophy of science. It focuses on Thomas Laqueur's Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud in arguing that a history of science committed to the social construction of science and to the central theses of Kuhnian, Duhemian, and Quinean philosophy of science is incoherent through self-reference. Laqueur's text (...) is examined in detail in order to make the main point; a similar phenomenon in the work of the feminist historian of science Evelyn Fox Keller is then briefly discussed. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the claim that the Left Vienna Circle (LVC) offers a theoretical and historical precedent for a politically engaged philosophy of science today. I describe the model for a political philosophy of science advanced by LVC historians. They offer this model as a moderate, properly philosophical approach to political philosophy of science that is rooted in the analytic tradition. This disciplinary-historical framing leads to weaknesses in LVC scholars' conception of the history of the LVC (...) and its contemporary relevance. In this light, I examine the claim that there are productive enrichments to be gained from the engagement of feminist philosophy of science with the LVC, finding this claim ill-formulated. The case of LVC historiography and feminist philosophy of science presents a revealing study in the uses and ethics of disciplinary history, showing how feminist and other perspectives are misconceived and marginalized by forms of disciplinary self-narrativizing. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
This article critical examines Mirowski's recent article in SHPS. I argue that his externalist history of the philosophy of science is unacceptable to philosophers' own understanding of their field and practice.
Using as a case study the forensic comparison of images for purposes of identification, this essay considers how the history, philosophy and sociology of science might help courts to improve their responses to scientific and technical forms of expert opinion evidence in ways that are more consistent with legal system goals and values. It places an emphasis on the need for more sophisticated models of science and expertise that are capable of helping judges to identify sufficiently reliable (...) types of expert evidence and to reflexively incorporate the weakness of trial safeguards and personnel into their admissibility decision making. (shrink)
Wolf's study represents an incredible work of scholarship. A full and detailed account of three centuries of innovation, these two volumes provide a complete portrait of the foundations of modern science and philosophy. Tracing the origins and development of the achievements of the modern age, it is the story of the birth and growth of the modern mind. A thoroughly comprehensive sourcebook, it deals with all the important developments in science and many of the innovations in the social (...) sciences, British and Continental philosophy and psychology. Wolf's exposition is clear and accessible. As well as its comprehensive treatment of the practical innovations, it includes a wealth of biographical information to give a human aspect to the extensive canvas. A mine of useful information that will be repeatedly used for reference, it is also lavishishly illustrated throughout. These two volumes, published together for the first time, present in one invaluable source the history, methods and principles that form the foundations of science and philosophy. --covers both the major and minor figures in the history of science and philosophy --accessible to the general reader --provides all necessary information on the period immediately before and after the dates covered --both volumes are fully indexed --lavishly illustrated with over 660 portraits, diagrams of scientific apparatus and instruments, frontispieces, B&W photographs Abraham Wolf (1877-1948) other works include: The Oldest Biography of Spinoza (1927), The Philosophy of Nietzsche (1915). (shrink)
The report gives a survey of the Hungarian philosophy of science after 1973. The report throws some light on the history of Hungarian philosophy in the context of the political circumstances of the late sixties and seventies. It starts with the not so well-known history of 'persecution of philosophers' in 1973. Then it treats the emergence of the philosophy of science focussing on the most significant representatives of this branch of philosophy, which was up to that (...) time almost unknown in Hungary. Due to the fact that the important results in Hungarian philosophy of science run parallel with the reception and translation of the significant products of Western philosophy, such as Wittgenstein's, Popper's, Kuhn's, or Polanyi's works, the report gives relatively significant room to treat these achievements. The last part of the report presents a survey of the younger generation of the philosophers of science, concentrating on the most important insights. (shrink)
The International Union of History and Philosophy of Science organizing the 10th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science is at its cross-road: the alternative is mass-performance or creative exchange of ideas. The program is criticized because the thematic center in History and Philosophy of Science has been shifted too far into the realm of micro-fields of Logic and the time reduction for presentation and discussion of papers to 20 minutes should be reconsidered. (...) Several outstanding papers are shortly discussed: Martin-Löw on "Formalized Tarski-Semantics of Type Theory", Hoyningen-Huene on "Feyerabend and Kuhn", Leroux on "Helmholtz and Hertz", and Muller on "Bell meets Dirac". Finally the visiting-program is gratefully appreciated. (shrink)
Over the past decade or so a number of historians of science and historical geographers, alert to the situated nature of scientific knowledge production and reception and to the migratory patterns of science on the move, have called for more explicit treatment of the geographies of past scientific knowledge. Closely linked to work in the sociology of scientific knowledge and science studies and connected with a heightened interest in spatiality evident across the humanities and social sciences this (...) 'spatial turn' has informed a wide-ranging body of work on the history of science. This discussion essay revisits some of the theoretical props supporting this turn to space and provides a number of worked examples from the history of the life sciences that demonstrate the different ways in which the spaces of science have been comprehended. (shrink)
The author in terms of idealizational theory of science explicates two approaches to history represented by positivism (Hempel) and narrativism (White). According to positivism, history is branch of science, according to narrativism, history is closer to literature. In the second part of this paper, the author paraphrases some paradoxes of historical narrative elaborated by mentioned-above representatives of these standpoints what is argument for unity of scientific methods presupposed by idealizational theory of science.
Science at the Frontiers brings new voices to the study of the history and philosophy of science. it supplements current literature on these fields, highlighting sciences that are overlooked by the current literature and viewing classic problems in the field from new perspectives.
This article sheds new light on Bruno Latour’s sociology of science and technology by looking at his early study of the French writer, philosopher and editor Charles Péguy (1873–1914). In the early 1970s, Latour engaged in a comparative study of Péguy’s Clio and the four gospels of the New Testament. His 1973 contribution to a Péguy colloquium (published in 1977) offers rich insights into his interest in questions of time, history, tradition and translation. Inspired by Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy (...) of difference, Latour reads Clio as spelling out and illustrating the following argument: ‘Repetition is a machine to produce differences with identity’. However, in contrast to Deleuze’s work (together with Félix Guattari) on the materiality of machines, or assemblages [agencements], Latour emphasizes the semiotic aspects of the repetition/difference process. As in Péguy, the main model for this process is the Roman Catholic tradition of religious events. The article argues that it is this reading of Péguy and Latour’s early interest in biblical exegesis that inspired much of Latour’s later work. In Laboratory Life (Latour and Woolgar, 1979) and The Pasteurization of France (1988) in particular, problems of exegesis and tradition provide important stimuli for the analysis of scientific texts. In this context, Latour gradually transforms the question of tradition into the problem of reference. In a first step, he shifts the event that is transmitted and translated from the temporal dimension (i.e. the past) to the spatial (i.e. from one part of the laboratory to another). It is only in a second step that Latour resituates scientific events in time. As facts they are ‘constructed’ but nevertheless ‘irreducible’. They result, according to Latour, from the tradition of the future. As a consequence, the Latourian approach to science distances itself from the materialism of Deleuze and other innovative theoreticians. (shrink)
The emergence and development of 'national sciences' in Latin American countries were not, until very recently, part of the agenda of historians of science because the 'traditional' history of sciences was not interested in the scientific activity of peripheral areas. The history of science is a recent discipline in Mexican historiographic studies. The methodological interest in the history of science, the creation of schools and institutes that deal with it, the establishment of particular chairs, (...) the organization of national societies, and the publication of books and periodicals are all very recent. It is important to carry out studies in the history of science that examine the development of Mexican science introducing the 'local' context, and study how this development has influenced the formation of scientific societies and the development of scientific disciplines in the country. We want to explore the introduction of genetics in Mexico as applied to agriculture between 1930 and 1960. This matter has not been investigated in Mexico and therefore this work would represent one of the first studies of this subject and one of the first studies in the general field of Mexican scientific history. (shrink)
Abstract Science and technology studies (STS) has perhaps provided the most ambitious set of challenges to the boundary separating history and philosophy of science since the 19th century idealists and positivists. STS is normally associated with `social constructivism', which when applied to history of science highlights the malleability of the modal structure of reality. Specifically, changes to what is (e.g. by the addition or removal of ideas or things) implies changes to what has been, can (...) be and might be. Latour's account of Pasteur's scientific achievement is a case in point. Two polar attitudes towards the world's modal malleability are identified: over - and under - determination, which correspond, respectively, to a belief in the inevitability and the precariousness of science as a form of knowledge. The distinctness of these positions reflects a cordon sanitaire between the history and the philosophy of science. Consequently, historical agents are not given full voice as constructors of reality: They are either quarantined to a foreign realm called `the past' by the historian or selectively assimilated to an imperial present by the philosopher. The second half of the essay explores what it might mean to restore a robust sense of reality construction to the historical agents. My case in point here is that of the 13th century Franciscan friar, Roger Bacon, who has been alternatively seen as a mad medieval or a proto-modernist. To give Bacon full voice would involve taking the future that he envisaged as a normative benchmark for judging our own world. (shrink)
The Philosophy of R.G. Collingwood W. J. Van Der Dussen. Collingwood's conclusion is that " ... science, even at its best, always falls short of understanding the facts as they really are"88. Only history is able to realize this. It is another ...
This paper surveys recent trends in the history of science, using quotations from works published in the last decade. It suggests that philosophers of science have not yet come to terms with those changes, indicates which might or might not lead to productive interchange, and concludes that history and philosophy of science are now further apart than at any time since the early 1960's.
This is one of a group of essays (collected in this issue of the journal) about methodological considerations that have arisen for the project on the “Sanskrit knowledge systems on the eve of colonialism.” For the history of the exact sciences in Sanskrit, or Jyotiḥśāstra, in the early modern period, there are special problems. These have to do with the historically anomalous status of the exact sciences among the śāstras or Sanskrit knowledge systems, and with the predominantly “internalist” method (...) by which most recent research on Jyotiḥśāstra has been carried out. The essay considers the usefulness for tackling these problems of recent writing elsewhere in the history and philosophy of science, especially the work of Hacking. (shrink)
Philosophers have started to use the history of science to address some of their philosophical concerns. In this paper I point out some aspects of contemporary practice that require further consideration in order to achieve a more fruitful integration of history and philosophy: one, the limitations of using case studies; two, the need to articulate how we should use history as evidence. Specifically, I argue that to make progress in the debate about realism we will have (...) to pay more attention to the role of historical evidence. (shrink)
Summary Historians of science in Britain lack a firm institutional base. They are to be found scattered around in various departments in universities, polytechnics and museums. Their history over the last thirty-five years can be seen as a series of flirtations with those in more-established disciplines. Beginning with scientists, they then turned to philosophers, moving on to historians and then to sociologists: from each of these affairs something was learned, and the current interest determined which aspects of the (...)history of science were seen as most interesting. At first it was settling who really discovered what; then an interest in concepts, methods and case-studies; then understanding the broader historical context of science; and after that seeing science in its social context, with special emphasis on institutions and professionalization. Where we shall go next is unclear: these vagaries may be no more than examples of intellectual fashion, but we may hope that they represent a zig-zag route towards deeper understanding. (shrink)
There is a common (although not universal) claim among historians and philosophers that Copernican theory predicted the phases of Venus. This claim ignores a prominant feature of the writings of, among others, Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler-the possibility that Venus might be self illuminating or translucent. I propose that such over-simplifications of the history of science emerges from "psychological predictivism", the tendency to infer from "E is good evidence for H" to "H predicts E." If this explanation is correct, (...) then in cases where evidence is less blatant the history of science (and philosophies of science that rely on it) has probably been seriously distorted in a predictivist direction. (shrink)
Naukovedenie (literarily meaning ‘science studies’), was first institutionalized in the Soviet Union in the twenties, then resurfaced and was widely publicized in the sixties, as a new mode of reflection on science, its history, its intellectual foundations, and its management, after which it dominated Soviet historiography of science until perestroika . Tracing the history of meta-studies of science in the USSR from its early institutionalization in the twenties when various political, theoretical and institutional struggles (...) set the stage for the development of the field, to the sixties when the field resurfaced within the particular political context of the Cold War, and using the history of Moscow Institute for the History of Science and Technology as a case-study, I situate Soviet naukovedenie project within the culture of late-socialism in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, asking what this discourse meant for its creators and practitioners, as well as for the high-ranked Soviet officials who provided the authoritative support for this field. (shrink)
During the past hundred years or so, those scholars studying science have isolated themselves as much as possible from scientists as well as from workers in other disciplines who study science. The result of this effort is history of science, philosophy of science and sociology of science as separate disciplines. I argue in this paper that now is the time for these disciplinary boundaries to be lowered or at least made more permeable so that (...) a unified discipline of Science Studies might emerge. I discuss representative problems that stand in the way of such an integration. These problems may seem so formidable in the abstract that no one in their right mind would waste their time trying to bring about a unified field of Science Studies. However, those of us who limit ourselves to the study of the biological sciences have already formed a society in which workers from all disciplines can share their expertise -- the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science. (shrink)
The content of Boscovich’s Theoria philosophiae naturalis was well-known to his contemporaries, but both scientists and philosophers chiefly discussed it during the 19th century. The observations that Boscovich presented in this text, and that he himself defined as “philosophicas metitationes”, soon showed their being a good programme for the forthcoming atomic physics, and contributed to get rid of the mechanistic paradigm in science. In this paper I’ll go back to some meaningful moments of the history of Boscovich’s reception (...) in the era of contemporary philosophy, by referring to what authors such as Popper, Cassirer, Nietzsche and Fechner wrote about him. These thinkers, indeed, particularly stressed the importance of the Theoria in the history of Western thought, and showed that it can easily be evaluated beyond the plane of a pure scientific investigation. (shrink)
Starting from the assumption that the history of science is, in some significant sense, rational and thus that historical episodes may serve as evidence in choosing between competing normative methodologies of science, the question arises: "Just what is this history-methodology evidential relation?" After examining the proposals of Laudan, a more plausible account is proposed.