Should we conceive science historically?

Publication Type:


Transliteration of original Title: 
Stoit li nauku myslit' istoricheski?
Lada Shipovalova
Saint Petersburg State University
Issue number: 
No.1 (Vol.51)

In the article I describe the difficulties of  contemporary historical epistemology which are associated with its disciplinary uncertainty and the ambiguity in the understanding of its meaning for the historical interpretation of science. It’s argued that some of modes of such interpretation lead researchers to the dangerous relativism. The author emphasizes the removal of the opposition between external and internal history of science, the inclusion «non-humans» to the objectness of the historical thinking, going beyond presentism as the way of describing of the history of science, as well as the approval of variability of the fundamental concepts of scientific activity. The thesis is that, in spite of this, we should conceive science historically, readily meeting all relativistic consequences of this thinking. Also we should understand relativism as the necessary reason of the epistemologist studies. In conclusion, I discuss the importance of this historical thinking about science in the epistemic, disciplinary and socio-political contexts. 

historical epistemology, relativism, history and philosophy of science, «ruthless historicism»

Arabaztis T. Towards a Historical Ontology? In: Studies in History and Philosophy of science, 2003, no, 34, pp. 431-442.

Bloor D. Knowledge and Social Imagery. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1976. 156 p.

Boghossian P. A. Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism. N. Y.: Oxford University Press, 2006. 160 p.

Daston L. The coming into Being of Scientific Objects. Introduction. In: L. Daston (ed.).  Biographies of Scientific Objects. Chicago & L.: The University of Chicago Press, 2000, pp. 1-14.

Dmitriev I.S. Iskushenie svyatogo Kopernika: nenauchnye korni nauchnoi revolyutsii. [The Temptation of Saint Copernicus: Non-Scientific Roots of the Scientific Revolution]. SPb.: SPbSU, 2006. 278 p. (In Russian)

Feest U., Sturm T. What (Good) Is Historical Epistemology? In: Erkenntnis, 2011, vol. 75, no 3, pp. 285–302.

Gaidenko P.P. Nauchnaya ratsional'nost' i filosofskii razum. [Scientific rationality and philosophical reason]. Moscow: Progress-Traditsiya, 2003. 528 p. (In Russian)

Galison P. Ten Problems in History and Philosophy of Science. In: Isis, 2008, vol. 99, no. 1, pp. 111-125.

Gingras Y. Naming without necessity: On the genealogy and uses of the label «historical epistemology». In: Revue de Synthese. 2010, no. 131, pp. 439–454.

Kasavin I.T. Epistemologiya i istoricheskoe soznanie [Epistemology and historical consciousness] In: Epistemology & philosophy of science, 2005, vol.5, no. 1, pp.. 5-14. (In Russian)

Kasavin I.T. Traditsii i interpretatsii: fragmenty istoricheskoi epistemologii. [Traditions and interpretations: Fragments of historical epistemology]. SPb.: RCHI, 2000. 320 p. (In Russian)

Kmita J. Problems in Historical Epistemology. Warsaw: Springer, 1988. 185 p.

Kusch M.  Reflexivity, Relativism, Microhistory: Three Desiderata for Historical Epistemologies. In: Erkenntnis, 2011, vol. 75, no. 3, pp. 483-489.

Kuukkanen J.-M. Historicism and the Failure of HPS. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 2016,  no. 55, pp. 3-11.

Kuznetsova N.I.  Prezentizm i antikvarizm — dve kartiny proshlogo [Presentism and antikvarizm - two pictures of the past]. In: Arbor Mundi, 2009, no. 15, pp. 164-196. (In Russian)

Latour B. Novogo vremeni ne bylo. Esse po simmetrichnoj antropologii [We Have Never Been Modern]. SPb.: EU in SPb, 2006. 240 p. (In Russian)

Latour B. Peresborka social'nogo. Vvedenie v aktorno-setevuju teoriju. [Reassembling the Social. An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory]. Moscow: HSE, 2014. 384 p. (In Russian)

Lecourt D. Marxism and epistemology: Bachelard, Canguilhem, and Foucault. London: NLB, 1975.  223 p.

Ludwig D. Overlapping ontologies and Indigenous knowledge. From integration to ontological self-determination. In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 2016, no, 59, pp. 36-45.

Mamchur E. A. Obrazy nauki v sovremennoj kul'ture [Science images in modern culture]. Moscow: Kanon+, 2008. 400 p. (In Russian)

Mikeshina L.A., Rozov M.A., Nikifofov A.L. i. dr. Relyativizm kak epistemologicheskaya problema. Panel'naja diskussija [Relativism as an epistemological problem. Panel discussion]. In: Epistemology & philosophy of science, 2004, vol. 1, no.1, pp.53-83. (In Russian)

Riesch H. Philosophy, History and Sociology of Science: Interdisciplinary.In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 2014, no. 48, pp. 30-37. 

Shipovalova L.V. Bezzhalostnyj istorizm. Ili kak vozmozhen sud razuma nad istoriej nauki [Ruthless historicism, or how can history of science be judged by reason]. In: Vestnik LGU– Herald of LSU, 2013, vol.2, no 3, pp. 164-173. (In Russian)

Stoljarova O.E. Istoricheskij kontekst nauki: material'naja kul'tura i ontologii [The historical context of science: material culture and ontologies]. In: Epistemology & philosophy of science, 2011, vol.30, no. 4, pp. 32-50. (In Russian)

Wartofsky M. Modeli. Reprezentaciya i nauchnoe ponimanie [Models: representation and scientific explanation]. Moscow: Progress, 1988. 507 p. (In Russian)

DOI: 10.5840/eps20175112
Full Text: