History and Theory 50 (3):390-413 (2011)

ABSTRACTRheinberger's brief history brings into sharp profile the importance of history of science for a philosophical understanding of historical practice. Rheinberger presents thought about the nature of science by leading scientists and their interpreters over the course of the twentieth century as emphasizing increasingly the local and developmental character of their learning practices, thus making the conception of knowledge dependent upon historical experience, “historicizing epistemology.” Linking his account of thought about science to his own work on “experimental systems,” I draw extensive parallels with other work in the local history of science and consider the epistemological implications both for the relation between history and philosophy of science and between history and theory more broadly. In doing so, I suggest that the long‐standing gap between the natural sciences and history as a “human science” has been significantly bridged by the insistence upon the local, mediated, indeed “historicized epistemology” of actual science
Keywords history of science  historicity  experimental systems  epistemology  the practice of history  science as practice
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-2303.2011.00592.x
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