What’s in It for the Historian of Science? Reflections on the Value of Philosophy of Science for History of Science

In this article, I explore the value of philosophy of science for history of science. I start by introducing a distinction between two ways of integrating history and philosophy of science: historical philosophy of science and philosophical history of science. I then offer a critical discussion of Imre Lakatos’s project to bring philosophy of science to bear on historical interpretation. I point out certain flaws in Lakatos’s project, which I consider indicative of what went wrong with PHS in the past. Finally, I put forward my own attempt to bring out the historiographical potential of philosophy of science. Starting from Norwood Russell Hanson’s insight that historical studies of science involve metascientific concepts, I argue that philosophical reflection on those concepts can be historiographically fruitful. I focus on four issues and discuss their significance and utility for historiographical practice.
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DOI 10.1080/02698595.2017.1370924
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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
Is Water H2O? Evidence, Realism and Pluralism.Hasok Chang - 2012 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):287-297.

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