The demarcation problem in the history of science, or what historical epistemology has to say about cultural identification

Publication Type:

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Author(s): 
Yulia V. Shaposhnikova
Saint Petersburg State University
Lada V. Shipovalova
Saint Petersburg State University
Issue number: 
No.1 (Vol.55)
Pages: 
52-66
Abstract: 

This article discusses mechanisms of demarcation in science, as a case of establishing identity — one of the topical problems of contemporary cultural studies. Evidently, the quality of cultural interaction depends on the status of the other in relation to one’s identity. Contemporary cultural studies distinguish two types of this interaction: exclusion, i.e. suppression of the other as a condition for the formation of one’s identity; and inclusion, a retrieval of the excluded, leading to the transformation of one’s identity. This article claims that the historical epistemology, as a special approach to the history of science, has elaborated a number of strategies regulating the relationship of science and non-science in the form of an attitude of present science towards its past. The article examines four of these strategies — three of them construct the identity of science through establishing boundaries and by excluding the other; the fourth presupposes acknowledging the other and endowing it with actuality. The last strategy demonstrates the dialogue between science and its other in action and, more importantly, identifies the necessary condition for the successful interaction — the destruction of a homogeneous scientific identity and allowance of self-identification to continue without end. Consequently, studying the types of interaction between scientific and non-scientific views in the field of historical epistemology allows one to conceptualize the general procedure of establishing cultural identification.

Keywords: 
history of science, epistemology, cultural identity, exclusion, inclusion
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DOI: 
10.5840/eps20185518