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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
Machine generated contents note: 1 Aims and Purposes -- 2 The Beginnings of Historical Consciousness -- 3 Historical Consciousness in the Modern Age -- 4 Philosophy of History: Speculative Approaches -- 5 Philosophy of History: Analytical Approaches -- 6 Reading, Writing, and Research -- 7 Professional History in Recent Times -- Postscript: Culture Wars and Postmodernism.
Willie Thompson offers a clear, jargon-free introduction to postmodernist theory and its significant impact on the study of history. This is a hotly-debated topic, and much of the literature is both polemical and inaccessible to the novice. Thompson, however, presents key ideas in a straightforward way, making these debates relevant to students' own work.
This book offers great advice to writers, such as: • how much research is necessary? • when should you start writing? • should you structure your work chronologically or thematically? • how do you write a compelling narrative?
Imre Lakatos' philosophical and scientific papers are published here in two volumes. Volume I brings together his very influential but scattered papers on the philosophy of the physical sciences, and includes one important unpublished essay on the effect of Newton's scientific achievement. Volume II presents his work on the philosophy of mathematics (much of it unpublished), together with some critical essays on contemporary philosophers of science and some famous polemical writings on political and educational issues. Imre Lakatos had an influence (...) out of all proportion to the length of his philosophical career. This collection exhibits and confirms the originality, range and the essential unity of his work. It demonstrates too the force and spirit he brought to every issue with which he engaged, from his most abstract mathematical work to his passionate 'Letter to the director of the LSE'. Lakatos' ideas are now the focus of widespread and increasing interest, and these volumes should make possible for the first time their study as a whole and their proper assessment. (shrink)
This volume collects 17 case studies that characterize the various kinds of translations of the European culture of the last two and a half millennia from ancient Greece to Rome, from the medieval world to the Renaissance up to the ...
Analytic and Continental philosophy have become increasingly specialised and differentiated fields of endeavour. This important collection of essays details some of the more significant methodological and philosophical differences that have separated the two traditions, as well as examining the manner in which received understandings of the divide are being challenged by certain thinkers whose work might best be described as post-analytic and meta-continental. -/- Together these essays offer a well-defined sense of the field, of its once dominant distinctions and of (...) some of the most productive new areas generating influential ideas and controversy. In an attempt to get to the bottom of precisely what it is that separates the analytic and continental traditions, the essays in this volume compare and contrast them on certain issues, including truth, time and subjectivity. The book engages with a range of key thinkers from phenomenology, post-structuralism, analytic philosophy and post-analytic philosophy, examines the strengths and weaknesses of each tradition, and ultimately encourages enhanced understanding, dialogue and even rapprochement between these sometimes antagonistic adversaries. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer both a brief study of Collingwood's conception of historical explanation and epistemological historicity, and an examination of the influence of Collingwood's work on the historical methodology of Quentin Skinner and on Gadamer's hermeneutic philosophy. Collingwood's work on the philosophy of history manifests a tension between the realist implications of the doctrine of reenactment and the logic of question and answer on the one hand, and, on the other, the constructionist tendency of the rest (...) of his work on the logic of historical inquiry and on the hermeneutic character of his more general conception of human historicity. This tension is displayed in the divergent interpretations of Collingwood by Quentin Skinner and Hans-Georg Gadamer, and in the inherent difficulties of each man's philosophy of history. I argue that the weaknesses of Skinner's methodological historicism are present already in his reading of Collingwood and reflect the difficulties inherent in understanding Collingwood as offering primarily a methodology of history. I also claim that Gadamer's hermeneutic philosophy, while presenting a more plausible reading of Collingwood, suffers from tensions similar to those within Collingwood's work between the logic of explanation and the logic of practical recommendation, and between the character of historical explanation and the character of philosophical understanding. (shrink)
In a beautiful recent essay, the philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong explains the reasons for his departure from evangelical Christianity, the religious culture in which he was brought up. Sinnot-Armstrong contrasts the interpretive methods used by good philosophers and fundamentalist believers: Good philosophers face objections and uncertainties. They follow where arguments lead, even when their conclusions are surprising and disturbing. Intellectual honesty is also required of scholars who interpret philosophical texts. If I had distorted Kant’s view to make him reach a conclusion (...) that I preferred, then my philosophy professor would have failed me. The contrast with religious reasoning is stark. My Christian friends seemed happy to hide serious problems in the Bible and in their arguments. They preferred comfort to intellectual honesty. I couldn’t. To what extent can we, historians of philosophy, claim the virtue of intellectual honesty? Speaking frankly, I do not find the practice criticized by Sinnot-Armstrong’s philosophy professor rare or unusual at all. We very frequently distort the views of past philosophers in order to reach the conclusions we prefer. We just call it “Charitable Interpretation.” In this essay, I discuss and criticize the logic behind so-called charitable interpretations in the history of philosophy. This phenomenon is ubiquitous and is not at all restricted to a particular philosophical strand or ideology. Analytic philosophers and post-modernists, Marxists, liberals, secularists, and fundamentalists, we all engage in the very same domestication project. Even more disturbing than the sheer ideological pervasiveness of this phenomenon is the fact that, on many occasions, superb philosophers and historians take part in this fairly childish endeavor. In the first part of this essay, I discuss the general logic of charitable interpretations in the history of philosophy, mostly by addressing discussions in metaphysics and epistemology. In the second part, I focus on the somewhat less noticed use of charitable interpretations in the study of political philosophy, and point out the quintessential role ideology plays in these discussions. In both parts, I concentrate mostly on the interpretation of Spinoza’s thought. I do so not because I have special fondness for Spinoza (“guilty as charged,” I admit), but because Spinoza is such a beast (and may I add, an enchanting beast) and attracts a disproportionate share of the domestication efforts from historians and philosophers of all creeds and persuasions. In the third and final part of the paper, I will begin to outline an alternative methodology, which suggests that past philosophers can be most relevant to our current philosophical discussion, to the extent that they provide us with well-motivated challenges to our common-sense beliefs. Such challenges have the invaluable virtue of being able to undermine our most fundamental and secure beliefs, and force us to engage with the most fundamental questions. What more can we expect from good philosophy? (shrink)
Exploring Aristotle's philosophical method and the merits of his conclusions, Irwin here shows how Aristotle defends dialectic against the objection that it cannot justify a metaphysical realist's claims. He focuses particularly on Aristotle's metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and ethics, stressing the connections between doctrines that are often discussed separately.
What does it mean to think of philosophy in the condition of modernism, in which its relation to its past and future has become a relevant problem? This book argues that the writings of Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Kierkegaard are best understood as responsive (each in their own way) to such questions. Through detailed analysis of these authors' most influential texts, Stephen Mulhall reorients our sense of the philosophical work each text aims to accomplish, engendering a critical dialogue between them from (...) which the elements of a new conception of philosophy might emerge. (shrink)
Method in Ancient Philosophy brings together fifteen new, specially written essays by leading scholars on a broad subject of central importance. The ancient Greeks recognized that different forms of human activity are guided by different methods of reasoning; examination of how they reasoned, and how they thought about their own reasoning, helps us to see how they came to hold the views they did, and how our own methods of enquiry have developed under their influence. Contributors include Terence Irwin, Patricia (...) Curd, Ian Mueller, Robert Bolton, A.A. Long, Gail Fine, Constance C. Meinwald, Lesley Brown, Gisela Striker, C.D.C. Reeve, Charlotte Witt, Richard Kraut, Sarah Broadie, James Allen, and G.E.R. Lloyd. (shrink)
The Cartesian method, construed as a way of organizing domains of knowledge according to the "order of reasons," was a powerful reductive tool. Descartes made significant strides in mathematics, physics, and metaphysics by relating certain complex items and problems back to more simple elements that served as starting points for his inquiries. But his reductive method also impoverished these domains in important ways, for it tended to restrict geometry to the study of straight line segments, physics to the study of (...) ambiguously constituted bits of matter in motion, and metaphysics to the study of the isolated, incorporeal knower. This book examines in detail the negative and positive impact of Descartes's method on his scientific and philosophical enterprises, exemplified by the Geometry, the Principles, the Treatise of Man, and the Meditations. (shrink)
Aristotle attaches particular significance to the homomyny of many of the central concepts in philosophy and science: that is, to the diversity of ways of being that are denoted by a single concept. Shields here investigates and evaluates Aristotle's approach to questions about homonymy, characterizing the metaphysical and semantic commitments necessary to establish the homonymy of a given concept. Then, in a series of case studies, he examines in detail some of Aristotle's principal applications of homonymy--to the body, sameness and (...) and oneness, life, goodness, and being. This first full-length study of a central aspect of Aristotle's thought will interest philosophers working in a number of areas. (shrink)
Doing Greek Philosophy conveys a vivid sense of dynamism and continuity of the Greek philosophical tradition and illustrates how interaction between Greek philosophers creates and sustains that tradition. It concentrates on a set of inter-related challenges and problems that emerged early in the tradition and moves on to the subsequent reactions to them.
Neoplatonism is a term used to designate the form of Platonic philosophy that developed in the Roman Empire from the third to the fifth century AD and that based itself on the corpus of Plato's dialogues. Sara Rappe's challenging and innovative study is the first book to analyse Neoplatonic texts themselves using contemporary philosophy of language. It covers the whole tradition of Neoplatonic writing from Plotinus through Proclus to Damascius. Addressing the strain of mysticism in these works from a fresh (...) perspective the author shows how these texts reflect actual meditational practices, methods of concentrating the mind, and other mental disciplines that informed the tradition as a whole. In providing the broadest available survey of Neoplatonic writing the book will appeal to classical philosophers, classicists, as well as students of religious studies. (shrink)
The five hundred years from 300 B.C. to A.D. 200 were a period during which Greek science made spectacular advances and Greek philosophy underwent dramatic changes. How much did the scientists take note of the philosophical issues bearing on their pursuits? What progress did the philosophers make with methodological and theoretical issues arising out of developments in science? What influence did philosophical criticism or philosophical ideas have on specific theories in medicine or mechanics, mathematics or astronomy? These are some of (...) the questions discussed in this series of papers by the distinguished scholars who took part in the Confe;rence Hellenistique in Paris in 1980. The result is a broad-ranging and pioneering volume which will be of importance to scholars in the history and philosophy of science and to those whose interests lie in classical philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophers are often asked for their views on the "meaning of the times." But how should philosophy deal with world events? And what makes a philosopher more qualified than anyone else to editorialize in the daily paper? In this book, Descombes's intention is not to offer his own reading of the signs of the times, but to interrogate modern philosophers about how they come up with the barometers they use to tell us about modern reason and the spirit of the (...) times. For Descombes, a "philosophical discourse of modernity" should be rejected, for the true subject of modernity belongs not to philosophers, but to writers, moralists, and sociologists of individualism. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. The trouble with theory; 2. The total record; 3. Formation theory; 4. Materialized culture; 5. Archaeological entities; 6. Archaeological interventions; 7. A 'new' social archaeology?
Ludwik Fleck, Edmund Husserl : on the historicity of scientific knowledge -- Gaston Bachelard : the concept of "phenomenotechnique" -- Georges Canguilhem : epistemological history -- Pisum : Carl Correns's experiments on Xenia, 1896-99 -- Eudorina : Max Hartmann's experiments on biological regulation in protozoa, 1914-21 -- Ephestia : Alfred Kähn's experimental design for a developmental physiological -- Genetics, 1924-45 -- Tobacco mosaic virus : virus research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes for Biochemistry and Biology, 1937-45 -- The concept (...) of the gene : molecular biological perspectives -- The liquid scintillation counter : traces of radioactivity -- The concept of information : the writings of François Jacob -- Intersections -- Preparations -- The economy of the scribble. (shrink)
Totally revised and updated, written especially for students, the third edition of Geography – History and Concepts is the definitive undergraduate introduction to the history, philosophy and methodology of Human Geography. Accessible and comprehensive, the work comprises five sections: - What is Geography?: a historical overview of the discipline and an explanation of its organization - The Foundations of Geography: examines Geography from Antiquity to the early modern period; the discussion includes detailed explanations of environmental determinism; the (...) French School; landscape; and regional studies - Paradigms and Revolutions: includes an analysis of Kuhn’s paradigm of scientific knowledge that introduces the discussion of the quantitative revolution in the late sixties – this section examines the new human geography, as well as reviewing criticisms of quantification - Positivism and its Critics: defines positivism and empiricism and offers a comprehensive expostion of humanist and structuralist criticisms of these methodologies; concludes with a critical discussion of structuration theory, realism and postmodernism - Processes in Place and Space: an introduction to core themes and concepts in current geographical though: including space, place, and feminism. Illustrated throughout, with summaries, notes for further reading and a concept glossary of Geography – History and Concepts will be essential reading for undergraduates in Geography. (shrink)
Most recent work on the nature of experiment in physics has focused on "big science"--the large-scale research addressed in Andrew Pickering's Constructing Quarks and Peter Galison's How Experiments End. This book examines small-scale experiment in physics, in particular the relation between theory and practice. The contributors focus on interactions among the people, materials, and ideas involved in experiments--factors that have been relatively neglected in science studies. The first half of the book is primarily philosophical, with contributions from Andrew Pickering, (...)Peter Galison, Hans Radder, Brian Baigrie, and Yves Gingras. Among the issues they address are the resources deployed by theoreticians and experimenters, the boundaries that constrain theory and practice, the limits of objectivity, the reproducibility of results, and the intentions of researchers. The second half is devoted to historical case studies in the practice of physics from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth century. These chapters address failed as well as successful experimental work ranging from Victorian astronomy through Hertz's investigation of cathode rays to Trouton's attempt to harness the ether. Contributors to this section are Jed Z. Buchwald, Giora Hon, Margaret Morrison, Simon Schaffer, and Andrew Warwick. With a lucid introduction by Ian Hacking, and original articles by noted scholars in the history and philosophy of science, this book is poised to become a significant source on the nature of small-scale experiment in physics. (shrink)
In this engaging sequel to Rethinking History , Keith Jenkins argues for a re-figuration of historical study. At the core of his survey lies the realization that objective and disinterested histories as well as historical 'truth' are unachievable. The past and questions about the nature of history remain interminably open to new and disobedient approaches. Jenkins reassesses conventional history in a bold fashion. His committed and radical study presents new ways of 'thinking history', a new (...) class='Hi'>methodology and philosophy and their impact on historical practice. This volume is written for students and teachers of history, illuminating and changing the core of their discipline. (shrink)
Are historians storytellers? Is it possible to tell true stories about the past? These are just a couple of the questions raised in this comprehensive collection of texts about philosophy, theory, and methodology of writing history. Drawing together seminal texts from philosophers and historians, this volume presents the great debate over the narrative character of history from the 1960s onwards. The History and Narrative Reader combines theory with practice to offer a unique overview of this debate (...) and illuminates the practical implications of these philosophical debates for the writing of history. The editor's introduction offers a succinct survey of the subject to support the readings, which explore the role of narrative in everything from historical understanding and human action to linguistics and the practice of history. Including the work of F. R. Ankersmit, David Carr, Hayden White, W. H. Dray, and Frederick Olafson; a detailed bibliography; and a glossary of key concepts, this collection will prove an invaluable resource for students of historical theory and methodology. (shrink)
Lakatos, I. History of science and its rational reconstructions.--Clark, P. Atomism vs. thermodynamics.--Worrall, J. Thomas Young and the "rufutation" of Newtonian optics.--Musgrave, A. Why did oxygen supplant phlogiston?--Zahar, E. Why did Einstein's programme supersede Lorentz's?--Frické, M. The rejection of Avogadro's hypotheses.--Feyerabend, P. On the critique of scientific reason.
Professor Jack Goody builds on his own previous work to extend further his highly influential critique of what he sees as the pervasive eurocentric or occidentalist biases of so much western historical writing. Goody also examines the consequent 'theft' by the West of the achievements of other cultures in the invention of (notably) democracy, capitalism, individualism, and love. The Theft of History discusses a number of theorists in detail, including Marx, Weber and Norbert Elias, and engages with critical admiration (...) western historians like Fernand Braudel, Moses Finlay and Perry Anderson. Major questions of method are raised, and Goody proposes a new comparative methodology for cross-cultural analysis, one that gives a much more sophisticated basis for assessing divergent historical outcomes, and replaces outmoded simple differences between East and West. The Theft of History will be read by an unusually wide audience of historians, anthropologists and social theorists. (shrink)
Much of the history of physics at the beginning of the twentieth century has been written with a sharp focus on a few key figures and a handful of notable events. Einstein’s Generation offers a distinctive new approach to the origins of modern physics by exploring both the material culture that stimulated relativity and the reaction of Einstein’s colleagues to his pioneering work. Richard Staley weaves together the diverse strands of experimental and theoretical physics, commercial instrument making, and the (...) sociology of physics around 1900 to present a complete view of the collective efforts of a group whose work helped set the stage for Einstein’s revolutionary theories and the transition from classical to modern physics that followed. Collecting papers, talks, catalogues, conferences, and correspondence, Staley juxtaposes scientists’ views of relativity at the time to modern understandings of its history. Ultimately, Einstein’s Generation tells the story of a group of individuals whose work engendered some of the most significant advances of the twentieth century—and challenges our celebration of Einstein’s era above all others. (shrink)
The frequency of historical materialist explanations in evolutionary social sciences is very low even though historical materialism and evolutionism have great many shared aims towards explaining the long term social change. David Laibman in his Deep History (2007) picks up some of the standard questions of evolutionary social theory and aims at advancing the conception of historical materialism so as to develop a Marxist theory of history from an evolutionary point of view. The contribution of Laibman’s work is (...) to show that historical and materialist explanations are present both in Marxian and evolutionary interpretations of history, and moreover, the traditional borders of historical materialism can be enlarged so as to embrace evolutionary methodology in explaining social change. The unbalanced research methodology of Laibman’s work, however, reduces the evolutionary depth of his contribution. The two main shortcomings of Laibman’s work are discussed under the titles of “The Audience Problem” and “The Evolutionary Problem”. (shrink)
The book reveals different dimensions of modeling in the historical sciences. Papers collected in the first part (Ontology of the Historical Process) consider different models of historical reality and discuss their status. The second part (Modeling in the Methodology of History) presents various forms of idealization in historiographic research. The papers in the third part (Modeling in the Research Practice) present various models of past reality (e.g. of Poland, Central Europe and the general history of the feudal (...) system) put forward by historians. Other papers consider the status of scientific laws and historical generalizations. The volume will be of interest to those who study analytical philosophy of history, methodology of history and social sciences, social philosophy as well as theory and history of historiography. (shrink)
The paper deals with an intellectual and historical approach to the changing meanings of the term “model” in life sciences. The author 1st tries to understand how modeling has gradually spread over life sciences then he particularly focus on the birth of mathematical modeling in this field. This quite new practice offers new insights on the old debate concerning the mathematization of life sciences. Nowadays, through computers, mathematics not only analyze or quantify but model things: what does it mean? The (...) question turns out to be dramatic as far as digital simulation is concerned. That is the reason why he choosed to study a particular case: the history of the individual plant mathematical modeling. On this case, one may discern various epistemological standpoints that caused various reactions to the emergence of computer simulation, from the 50s to the 90s. The author shows that philosophical views often play a role in the history of sciences, especially in the choice of supposed proper mathematical formalisms. This will indicate that contemporary discourses tend to echo each other. That is the reason why he feels authorized to address the Foucault’s concept—épistémè—to denote these convergences between the scientific and the philosophical discourses. Finally, it is suggested that this épistémè gradually is changing because one can currently observe the emergence of a “graphical” thought through these simulation experiments, which tends to replace a more functionalist thought. (shrink)
Introduction -- Methodology : an approach to philosophical analysis -- Fukuyama I : the concept of a history with universal direction and end point -- Fukuyama II : why does history end in liberal democracy? -- Postmodern perspectives on the flow of time -- Questioning the universality of human nature -- The myth of the individual : how "I" is constructed and gives an account of itself -- A theory of a history which ends in liberal (...) democracy through a reading of Fukuyama and postmodernism. (shrink)
The results, conclusions and claims of science are often taken to be reliable because they arise from the use of a distinctive method. Yet today, there is widespread skepticism as to whether we can validly talk of method in modern science. This outstanding survey explains how this controversy has developed since the 17th century, and explores its philosophical basis.
This paper discusses the prospect of the "new social history" guided by the recent work of Charles Tilly on the methodology of social and historical explanation. Tilly advocates explanation by mechanisms as the alternative to the covering law explanation. Tilly's proposals are considered to be the attempt to reshape the practices of social and historical explanation following the example set by the explanatory practices of molecular biology, neurobiology, and other recent "success stories" in the life sciences. Recent work (...) in the philosophy of science on these practices by Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, Carl Craver and others is used as the foil to disclose the difficulties of Tilly's project. Most important among them is the dilemma of specification: if diagrams (standard forms of the representation of mechanisms) are intended as representations of robust causal processes, they cannot be specific enough to provide complete mechanism schemata, and are bound to remain mechanism sketches. If mechanism sketches are elaborated in detail by tracing particular causal processes, they provide representations of fragile causal processes, which cannot be considered as mechanisms comparable to those in advanced life and other special sciences. Tilly's work on the explanation of mechanisms can be considered as symptomatic for the recent trend to visualize the forms of historical representation. As far as diagrams seem to be able to communicate stories in a direct way (without narrative discourse), this trend is a challenge for the theory of historical representation. The new theories of scientific explanation focusing on the explanatory practices of the life sciences can provide examples and be the source of inspiration for the work on the theory of historical and social explanation, going beyond the confines of the received framework of the covering law model of explanation. (shrink)