Chapter ID: CBB001500246

Beyond Case-Studies: History as Philosophy (2012)


Dissatisfaction with hasty philosophical generalizations from a small number of conveniently chosen case-studies has contributed significantly to a widespread disillusionment with the whole enterprise of integrated history and philosophy of science. The history-philosophy relationship should be seen as one between the concrete and the abstract, not between the particular and the general. An abstract framework is necessary for telling any concrete stories at all. If historians do not find appropriate philosophical concepts with which to frame their episodes, then they ought to create fresh ones. Thus history-writing can serve an effective method of generating new philosophical insights. I illustrate these claims with two episodes from my own recent work. First, an inability to make sense of the original development of thermometry led me to craft a new philosophical framework of “epistemic iteration”, which involves accepting an unjustified starting-point for a process of self-correction and refinement. Second, a puzzle about the apparently insufficient reasons for the switch to Lavoisier’s new paradigm resulted in a move to a more commodious philosophical framework of analysis, in which theory-choice is understood as a pluralistic process of interaction between systems of scientific practice.

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Book Mauskopf, Seymour; Schmaltz, Tad (2012) Integrating History and Philosophy of Science: Problems and Prospects. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
De Grandis, Giovanni
Velasco, Joel D.
Zammito, John H.
Sturm, Thomas
Stump, David J.
Smith, George E.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Science and Education
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Philosophy of science, as a discipline
History of science, as a discipline
History of philosophy of science
Philosophy of science
Theories of heat
Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent
Kuhn, Thomas S.
Kirwan, Richard
Reisch, George A.
Laplace, Pierre Simon
Hook, Sidney
Time Periods
18th century
20th century, late
21st century
20th century, early
20th century
19th century
United States

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