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  1. Counterfactual Histories of Science and the Contingency Thesis.Luca Tambolo - 2016 - In Lorenzo Magnani & Claudia Casadio (eds.), Model Based Reasoning in Science and Technology. Logical, Epistemological, and Cognitive Issues. Springer Verlag. pp. 619-637.
    Within the debate on the inevitability versus contingency of science for which Hacking’s writings have provided the basic terminology, the devising of counterfactual histories of science is widely assumed by champions of the contingency thesis to be an effective way to challenge the inevitability thesis. However, relatively little attention has been devoted to the problem of how to defend counterfactual history of science against the criticism that it is too speculative an endeavor to be worth bothering with—the same critique traditionally (...)
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  • Presidential Address: Experimenting with the Scientific Past.Gregory Radick - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Science 49 (2):153-172.
    When it comes to knowing about the scientific pasts that might have been – the so-called ‘counterfactual’ history of science – historians can either debate its possibility or get on with the job. The latter course offers opportunities for engaging with some of the most general questions about the nature of science, history and knowledge. It can also yield fresh insights into why particular episodes in the history of science unfolded as they did and not otherwise. Drawing on recent research (...)
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  • So close no matter how far: counterfactuals in history of science and the inevitability/contingency controversy.Luca Tambolo - 2020 - Synthese 197 (5):2111-2141.
    This paper has a twofold purpose. First, it aims at highlighting one difference in how counterfactuals work in general history, on the one hand, and in history of the natural sciences, on the other hand. As we show, both in general history and in history of science good counterfactual narratives need to be plausible, where plausibility is construed as appropriate continuity of both the antecedent and the consequent of the counterfactual with what we know about the world. However, in general (...)
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