Occasions for an Empirical History of Philosophy of Science: American Philosophers of Science at Work in the 1950s and 1960s

Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 2 (1):1-20 (2012)
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The text- and argument-focused histories of philosophy that we have are mainly interested in teasing out the details of the positions taken on philosophical issues by individual philosophers. But this is a long way from having a historical explanation of the larger-scale trajectory of philosophical development. An empirical history of philosophy, however, examines the institutionalized places and venues for philosophical work that provide a rich, shared structure for the promotion of particular sorts of work. Mid-twentieth-century philosophers of science such as Herbert Feigl and Philipp Frank knew what they were doing—they were creating the space to promote certain sorts of work in venues such as the Institute for the Unity of Science and the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science and, ultimately, in publication venues such as Daedalus and the Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science. Here the engine of progress is the institution-building activity of committed philosophers making a space within the institutional structures of philosophy for their own projects and other projects aligned with them and transmitting these as live philosophical projects to the next generation.



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Alan Richardson
University of British Columbia

References found in this work

Philosophy of Natural Science.Carl G. Hempel - 1967 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):70-72.
Testability and meaning.Rudolf Carnap - 1936 - Philosophy of Science 3 (4):419-471.
Testability and meaning (part 1).Rudolf Carnap - 1936 - Philosophy of Science 3 (4):420-71.
Testability and meaning (part 2).Rudolf Carnap - 1937 - Philosophy of Science 4 (4):1-40.

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