Authors
Gregory Radick
University of Leeds
Abstract
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 into the controversy over Mendelism in the early twentieth century, this address reports and reflects on a novel teaching experiment conducted in order to find out what biology and its students might be like now had the controversy gone differently. The results suggest a number of new options: for the collection of evidence about the counterfactual scientific past; for the development of collaborations between historians of science and scientific educators; for the cultivation of more productive relationships between scientists and their forebears; and for a new seriousness and self-awareness about the curiously counterfactual business of being historical
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DOI 10.1017/s0007087416000339
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References found in this work BETA

State of the Field: Are the Results of Science Contingent or Inevitable?Katherina Kinzel - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 52:55-66.
Physics in the Galtonian Sciences of Heredity.Gregory Radick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):129-138.
The Dimensions of Scientific Controversy: The Biometric—Mendelian Debate.Robert Olby - 1989 - British Journal for the History of Science 22 (3):299-320.

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Citations of this work BETA

Genetic Determinism in the Genetics Curriculum.Annie Jamieson & Gregory Radick - 2017 - Science & Education 26 (10):1261-1290.
A Translation of the Linnaean Dissertation The Invisible World.Janis Antonovics & Jacobus Kritzinger - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Science 49 (3):353-382.

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