Axiomathes 29 (6):639-652 (2019)

Abstract
The essay, based also on unpublished writings, analytically reconstructs the Italian debate concerning the problem of historical epistemology and of the different relationships that can be established between epistemological reflection and the history of science. We start from awareness, à la Lakatos, that a “history of science without philosophy of science is blind, while a philosophy of science without the history of science is empty”. However, during the twentieth century Italian different theoretical positions emerged. Giulio Preti began by underlining how the history of science should be understood as the history of scientific thought. This position was close to that expressed by Giovanni Gentile for whom the history of science had to be reduced to the history of philosophy. Against this neo-realist claim, an epistemologist like Ludovico Geymonat reacted by underlining how science has its own history as a science. The critical debate between Preti and Geymonat has finally led the first to underline how the history of science must then be articulated in different conceptual traditions, while the latter ended up sharing the need to study the history of science as a history of scientific thought.
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DOI 10.1007/s10516-019-09437-y
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