The Persistence of Epistemic Objects Through Scientific Change

Erkenntnis 75 (3):413-429 (2011)
Abstract
Why do some epistemic objects persist despite undergoing serious changes, while others go extinct in similar situations? Scientists have often been careless in deciding which epistemic objects to retain and which ones to eliminate; historians and philosophers of science have been on the whole much too unreflective in accepting the scientists’ decisions in this regard. Through a re-examination of the history of oxygen and phlogiston, I will illustrate the benefits to be gained from challenging and disturbing the commonly accepted continuities and discontinuities in the lives of epistemic objects. I will also outline two key consequences of such re-thinking. First, a fresh view on the (dis)continuities in key epistemic objects is apt to lead to informative revisions in recognized periods and trends in the history of science. Second, recognizing sources of continuity leads to a sympathetic view on extinct objects, which in turn problematizes the common monistic tendency in science and philosophy; this epistemological reorientation allows room for more pluralism in scientific practice itself
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-011-9340-9
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References found in this work BETA
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
Thomas Kuhn and the Chemical Revolution.Paul Hoyningen-Huene - 2008 - Foundations of Chemistry 10 (2):101-115.

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Citations of this work BETA
Scientific Pluralism and the Chemical Revolution.Martin Kusch - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 49:69-79.
Hysteria, Race, and Phlogiston. A Model of Ontological Elimination in the Human Sciences.David Ludwig - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45:68-77.
Kuhn on Incommensurability and Theory Choice.Alex Stewart Davies - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 44 (4):571-579.

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