Abstract Scientists and philosophers generally agree that the replication of experiments is a key ingredient of good and successful scientific practice. “One-offs“ are not significant; experiments must be replicable to be considered valid and important. But the term “replication“ has been used in a number of ways, and it is therefore quite difficult to appraise the meaning and significance of replications. I consider how history may help - and has helped - with this task. I propose that: 1) Studies (...) of past scientific episodes in historical context and of recent philosophical contributions to the discussion are heuristic tools for exploring and clarifying the meaning of that concept. 2) The analysis of the development of the methodological imperative of replication sheds light on the significance scientists have attached to it, thereby contributing further to the clarification of the concept. 3) The analysis of the history of philosophical thought about methods and scientific methodology helps understand why philosophers have not paid much attention to the analysis of the concept of replication. (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)
This paper examines critically the current state of affairs in philosophy of science. It focuses on the well-Known puzzle about the relationship between the normative prescriptive methodology of science and positive descriptive history of science. This puzzle has dogged philosophers of science for over a generation and is still controversial. My conclusion is that there is really no escape from it. The best way to characterize it is as follows: "philosophy of science without history of science is (...) empty; history of science without philosophy of science is blind.". (shrink)
This article argues for an unconventional interpretation of Arthur O. Lovejoy’s distinctive approach to method in the history of ideas. It is maintained that the value of the central concept of the ‘unit-idea’ has been misunderstood by friends and foes alike. The commonality of unit-ideas at different times and places is often defined in terms of familial resemblance. But such an approach must necessarily define unit-ideas as being something other than the smallest conceptual unit. It is therefore in tension (...) with Lovejoy’s methodological prescription and, more importantly, disregards a potentially important aspect of intellectual history – the smaller conceptual units themselves. In response to this, an alternative interpretation of unit-ideas as ‘elemental’ – as the smallest identifiable conceptual components – is put forward. Unlike the familial resemblance approach, the elemental approach can provide a plausible explanation for changes in ideas. These are construed as being either the creation of new unit-ideas, the disappearance of existing ones, or alterations in the groups of unit-ideas that compose idea-complexes. The focus on the movement of unit-ideas and idea-complexes through history can also be sensitive to contextual issues, carefully distinguishing the different meanings that single words may have, in much the way that both Lovejoy and his influential critic Quentin Skinner suggest. (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)
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 main arguments currently held for and against the use of self-reports in economics are presented in their relation to well-known events in the history of the discipline: the ?measurement without theory?, the ?full-cost?, and the ?economic expectations? controversies. Doing so, the paper highlights the so far neglected role of George Katona's behavioral economics in these methodological discussions.
I introduce a methodology for doing the history of philosophy called philosophical modeling. I then employ this methodology to give a theory of Kant's distinction between things in themselves and appearances. This theory models Kant's distinction on the distinction between a constituting object and the object it constitutes.
Abstract The limits of ?criterial rationality? (that is, rationality as rule?following) have been extensively explored in the philosophy of science by Kuhn and others. In this paper I attempt to extend this line of enquiry into mathematics by means of a pair of case studies in early algebra. The first case is the Ars Magna (Nuremburg 1545) by Jerome Cardan (1501?1576), in which a then recently?discovered formula for finding the roots of some cubic equations is extended to cover all cubics (...) and proved. The second is the formulation by Albert Girard (1595?1632) of an early version of the fundamental theorem of algebra in his L'invention nouvelle en l'algèbre (Amsterdam, 1629). I conclude that in these cases at least, the questions raised in the philosophy of science debate can also be asked of the history of mathematics, and that a modest methodological anarchism is the appropriate stance. (shrink)
Any reconstruction of a complete narrative of the fall of Samaria must rely on some educated guesswork. The evidence we have is flawed and full of holes, which makes reconstruction very difficult. One can mitigate these problems with scholarly, such as a thorough knowledge of the languages of the primary sources and the history and culture of the Ancient Near East, a broad interdisciplinary approach, and awareness of one's own biases. This paper examines methodologies of using classical sources to (...) reconstruct ancient history. (shrink)
Alternatives in the History of Science. The paper deals with the function of the scientist's subjective activity in the research process. This will be discussed at the background of the discourse between distant action and narrow action theories of electromagnetism in 19th century physics. The analysis shows in which high degree the protagonists of these theories (Weber, Maxwell) regarded this situation consciously as a bifurcation (alternative) in the development of their science. This article describes then how the history (...) of science values the case. The result of this valuation is dependent on the different philosophical points of view. Finally we point out some desiderata for the further discussion on methodology of science that would be the consequence of the acknowledgement of real bifurcations in scientific thought. (shrink)
This paper is an historical study of Tarski's methodology of deductive sciences (in which a logic S is identified with an operator Cn S , called the consequence operator, on a given set of expressions), from its appearance in 1930 to the end of the 1970s, focusing on the work done in the field by Roberto Magari, Piero Mangani and by some of their pupils between 1965 and 1974, and comparing it with the results achieved by Tarski and the (...) Polish school (?o?, Suszko, S?upecki, Pogorzelski, Wójcicki). In the last section of the paper we will then compare these works with some recent developments in algebraic logic: this will lead to a better understanding of the results of the methodology of deductive science, but at the same time will show some intrinsic limits to such an approach to logic. Even if Magari's work on diagonizable algebras and universal algebra and Mangani's axiomatization of MV-algebras and results in model theory are rather famous, the articles on closure operators, published in the 1960s, are almost totally unknown outside Italy (mainly because of a linguistic limitation, the papers we analyse having been written and published in Italian). This paper aims to fill the gap in the literature and to enable the international community to get acquainted with this part of Italian logic. The same applies to some works published in Barcelona (in Catalan) at the end of the 1970s, analysed in the last section. (shrink)
Primarily between 1833 and 1840, Whewell attempted to accomplish what natural philosophers and scientists since at least Galileo had failed to do: to provide a systematic and broad-ranged study of the tides and to attempt to establish a general scientific theory of tidal phenomena. In the essay at hand, I document the close interaction between Whewell’s philosophy of science (especially his methodological views) and his scientific practice as a tidologist. I claim that the intertwinement between Whewell’s methodology and his (...) tidology is more fundamental than has hitherto been documented. (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)
The question of what the nature of history is, is now a key issue for all students of history. It is now recognized by many that the past and history are different phenomena and that the way the past is actively historicized can be highly problematic and contested. Older metaphysical, ontological, epistemological, methodological and ethical assumptions can no longer be taken as read. In this timely collection, key pieces of writing by leading historians are reproduced and evaluated, (...) with an explanation and critique of their character and assumptions, and how they reflect upon the nature of the history project. The authors respond to the view that the nature of history has become so disparate in assumption, approach and practice as to require an informed guide that is both self-reflexive, engaged, critical and innovative. This work seeks to aid a positive re-thinking of history today, and will be of use both to students and to their teachers. (shrink)
Imre Lakatos' conception of the history of science is explicated with the purpose of replying to criticism leveled against it by Thomas Kuhn, Ian Hacking, and others. Kuhn's primary argument is that the historian's internal—external distinction is methodologically superior to Lakatos' because it is "independent" of an analysis of rationality. That distinction, however, appears to be a normative one, harboring an implicit and unarticulated appeal to rationality, despite Kuhn's claims to the contrary. Lakatos' history, by contrast, is clearly (...) the history of a normatively defined discipline; of science and not scientists and their activities. How such history can be written, the historiographic and critical tools available for its construction, and its importance as history, are considered in detail. In an afterword, the prevalence of Lakatos' treatment of history in philosophical discussion is indicated: A related approach is shown to arise in social contract theory. (shrink)
As we enter a truly global epoch we need a historical awareness to match the times. This book offers a new scholarly perspective, a new historical consciousness, and a new sub-field of history—global history—that will have a major impact on the way we write history and make policy in the future. The need for a new approach can be seen everywhere: in environmental problems that ignore national boundaries, in nuclear threats that have no territorial limitations; in the (...) rapid increase in multi-national economic activity; and in advances in space exploration and communication satellites that link peoples to a degree hitherto unimagined. The contributors to this book offer both a theoretical treatment and a number of examples of what global history is and how it might be written.It is recognized that global history is not the only history that can or should be written, and that globalism is often matched by increased localism, thus requiring a keen sense of the dialectic involved. New actors need to be identified and studied on the historical stage, other than the nation state. Though global history is a form of contemporary history, starting from our present moment it must look backward, with the range depending on the problem. Thus, global history seeks to be methodologically sophisticated while pioneering a new way of thinking about history in the coming millenium. (shrink)
The Truth of History questions how modern historians, confined by the concepts of their own cultures, can still discover truths about the past. Through an examination of the constraints of history, accounts of causation and causal interpretations, C. Behan McCullagh argues that although historical descriptions do not mirror the past, they can correlate with it in a regular and definable way. Far from debating only in the abstract and philosophical, the author constructs his argument in numerous concrete historical (...) examples and explores a new position between believing that history perfectly represents the past and that history can tell us nothing true of the past. (shrink)
The analytic tradition is sometimes criticized as being narrowly focused on language, logic or conceptual analysis to the detriment of deeper investigations into ontological, metaphysical or moral questions.1 More specifically, analytic philosophy has been associated with a positivist attitude which favored replacing the philosophy’s traditional focus on fundamental questions with an obsequiously deferential relationship to mathematics and the natural sciences. While this line of criticism obscures the historical reality and contemporary diversity of the analytic tradition, it is certainly true that (...) analytic philosophers have generated severe criticisms of traditional metaphysics. (shrink)
In these learned essays, Joseph M. Levine shows how the idea and method of modern history first began to develop during the Renaissance, when a clear distinction between history and fiction was first proposed. The new claims for history were met by a new skepticism in a debate that still echoes today. Levine's first three essays discuss Thomas More's preoccupation with the distinction between history and fiction Erasmus's biblical criticism and the contribution of Renaissance philology to (...) critical method and the way in which Renaissance rhetoric, as in Thomas Elyot's Book of the Governor, continued to inhibit the autonomy of history. He then shows how these issues persisted into the eighteenth century, even as critical method developed. He concludes with a close description of the great controversy that culminated in Edward Gibbon's day over the authenticity of a biblical text that had been used for centuries to defend the Trinity but which turned out to be a forgery. Levine shows how by then all sides were ready to concede the autonomy of history. (shrink)
Cassandra Pinnick and George Gale (Journal for General Phisophy of Science 31, 109–125) examined the post-Lakatos period of historical cum philosophical case studies and concluded that a new methodology is required. Lakatos' proposed ‘history2’ (the theory- and value-laden reconstruction of history1, the set of historical events) was criticised. Recently a group of scholars have been pursuing a methodology which could be described as history 3, a history1 account of the interaction between the significant scientific papers published during (...) the time period in question and their scientific audience. (shrink)
Series Copy Oxford's celebrated Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Each volume provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject developed in its own right and how it influenced (...) society. Whatever the area of study one deems important or appealing, whatever topic fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introduction series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable. (shrink)
Possibilities haunt history. The force of our explanations of events turns on the alternative possibilities those explanations suggest. It is these possible worlds that give us our understanding; and in human affairs, we decide them by practical rather than theoretical judgment. In this widely acclaimed account of the role of counterfactuals in explanation, Geoffrey Hawthorn deploys extended examples to defend his argument. His conclusions cast doubt on existing assumptions about the nature and place of theory, and indeed of the (...) possibility of knowledge itself, in the human sciences. (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.