Evolution of science

Publication Type:

Language:

Transliteration of original Title: 
Evolyutsiya nauki
Author(s): 
Niklas Luhmann
Issue number: 
No.2 (Vol.52)
Pages: 
215-233
Abstract: 

The paper reconstructs the evolution process of scientific knowledge. The evolution theory has been applied hitherto exclusively to the famous reference problem. It the eye would be incapable seeing something really available it could not establish itself it the reality as such evolutional achievement. Contrary to this view the author states that the cognitive apparatus could survive not due to their achievements in the representations of the external world but rather due to their self-reproductive capabilities. By extrapolation of this view on the level of the epistemology it means that the knowledge itself selects that it can know on the base of that it already knows. The author suggests the principles of such cognitive evolution – the mechanisms of variety, selection and re-stabilization. The mechanism of variety concerns exclusively some particular operations (i.e. the communicative occurrences). Something innovative (unexpected, out of the ordinary) which has been recently created would occasionally be uttered, suggested, described, and probably printed under sole condition that it is apprehensible and writable. The selection is always based on some structures i.e. on the expectations of some reproductive use of some meaning attitudes. Only the structures can be marked out symbolically: applied to the science it means that they are marked as the true or the false ones. Finely, the stabilization level consists in the continuality of the autopoesis of the scientific communication. 

Keywords: 
Luhmann, evolutionary approach, representation, epistemology, changeability, communication, science
References: 

Bauer, E., Kornwachs, K. „Randzonen im System der Wissenschaft: Bemerkungen zur Rezeptionsdynamik unorthodoxer Wissenschaft“, in: K. Kornwachs (Hrsg.). Offenheit – Zeitlichkeit – Komplexität: Zur Theorie der Offenen Systeme. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1984, pp. 322–364.

Bayertz, K. „Wissenschaftsentwicklung als Evolution? Evolutionäre Konzeptionen wissenschaftlichen Wandels bei Ernst Mach, Karl Popper und Stephen Toulmin“, Zeitschrift für allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie, 1987, No. 18, pp. 61–91.

Boon, L. “Variation and Seiection: Scientific Progress Without Rationality”, in: Ed. by W. Callebaut, R. Pinxten (eds.). Evolutionary Epistemology: A Multiparadigm Approach. Boston: Dordrecht, 1987, pp. 159–177.

Campbell, D. “Blind Variation and Selective Retention in Creative Thougth as in Other Knowledge Processes”, Psychological Review, 1960, No. 67, pp. 380–400.

Gieryn, T., Hirsch, F. “Marginality and Innovation in Science”, Social Studies of Science, 1983, Vol. 13, pp. 87–106.

Gordon, M. “How Socially Distinctive is Cognitive Deviance in an Emergent Science: The Case of Parapsychology”, Social Studies of Science,1982, Vol. 12, pp. 151–165.

Keller, A. Societal Evolution: A Study of the Evolutionary Basis of the Science of Society. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1931. 338 pp.

Knorr Cetina, K. “Evolutionary Epistemology and Sociology of Science”, in: W. Callebaut, R. Pinxten (eds.). Evolutionary Epistemology: A Multiparadigm Approach. Boston: Dordrecht, 1987, pp. 179–201.

Lamb, D., Easton, S. Multiple Discovery: The Pattern of Scientific Progress. London: Avebury, 1984. 248 pp.

Löfgren, L. “Knowledge of Evolution and Evolution of Knowledge”, in: Erich Jantsch (ed.). The Evolutionary Vision: Toward a Unifying Paradigm of Physical, Biological, and Sociocultural Evolution. Bouider, Colorado: Westview Press, 1991, pp. 129–151.

Merton, R. K. “Priorities in Scientific Discovery: A Chapter in the Sociology of Science”, American Sociological Review, 1957, Vol. 22, pp. 654–659.

Schaffer, S. “Scientific Discoveries and the End of Natural Philosophy”, Social Studies of Science, 1986, Vol. 16, pp. 387–420.

Toulmin, S. „Die evolutionäre Entwicklung der Naturwissenschaft“, in: Theorien der Wissenschaftsgeschichte: Beiträge zur diachronen Wissenschaftstheorie. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1974, pp. 249–275.

Van Parijs, P. Evolutionary Explanation in the Social Sciences: An Emerging Paradigm. London: Tavistock, 1981. 483 pp.

DOI: 
10.5840/eps201752240
Full Text: