The issue of internalism and externalism in historiography of science was intensely debated two decades ago. The conclusions of such debate on the ‘context of science’ appear to be a reinstatement of the positivist view of the ‘content of science’ as comprising only ideas and concepts uninfluenced by extra-scientific factors. The description of the roles of politics, economy, and socio-cultural factors in science was limited only within the ‘context of science’. This article seeks to resituate the ‘content of science’ debate within the historical accounts of the Scientific Revolution to illustrate that their resort to historicism indicates that such content does not emerge from the void. It argues that, though some historicist accounts like Alexandre Koyré’s reinstate the positivist argument on the nature of the ‘content of science’, such historicist internalism greatly differs from positivist internalism, largely due to its acceptance of metaphysics in science. Therefore, as long as historicism is relied on to describe the content of science, a clear-cut distinction of the historicist internalism and externalism will be difficult to establish.
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DOI 10.1080/02698595.2016.1265864
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