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

Publication Type:


Yulia V. Shaposhnikova
Saint Petersburg State University
Lada V. Shipovalova
Saint Petersburg State University
Issue number: 
No.1 (Vol.55)

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.

history of science, epistemology, cultural identity, exclusion, inclusion

Alvargonzalez, D. “Is The History of Science Essentially Whiggish?”, History of Science, 2013, vol. 51, no. 1: pp. 85-99.

Bacon, F. The New Organon or True Directions concerning the interpretation of Nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 292 p.

Butterfield, H. The Origins of Modern Science 1300-1800. New York: The Free Press, 1965. 256 pp.

Butterfield, H. The Whig Interpretation of History. London, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1965. 144 p.

Cohen, I. B. “The Eighteenth-Century Origins of the Concept of Scientific Revolution”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 1976, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 257–288.

Collins, H. M., Evans, R. “The Third Wave of Science Studies: Studies of Expertise and Experience”, Social Studies of Science, 2002, vol. 32, no. 2. pp. 235–296.

Crowther, P. “Cultural Exclusion, Normativity and the Definition of Art”, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 2003, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 121-131.

Daston, L., Galison, P. Objectivity. New York: Zone Books, 2007. 501 p.

Dear P. “From Truth to Disinterestedness in Seventeenth Century”, Social Studies of Science, 1992, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 619-631.

Dear, P. Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and Its Ambitions, 1500-1700. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 216 p.

Duhem, P.M.M. La Théorie Physique : Son Objet, sa Structure. Paris: Vrin, 2007. 480 p.

Einstein, A. “Remarks to the Essays, Appearing in this Collective Volume”, in: Schilpp, P.A. (ed.). Albert Einstein: Philosopher — Scientist. New York: MJF Books, 1998. pp. 663-688.

Feyerabend, P. Against Method. London, New York: Verso, 2010. 336 p.

Galison, P. “Trading with the enemy”, in: Gorman, M.E. (ed.). Trading zones and interactional expertise: creating new kinds of collaboration. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2010. 312 p.

Gavrilenko S.M. “Istoricheskaya epistemologiya: zona neopredelennosti i prostranstvo teoreticheskogo voobrazheniya” [Historical Epistemology: Zone of Uncertainty and Space for Theoretical Imagination], Epistemology & Philosophy of Science, 2017, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 20–28. (In Russian).

Ginsburg, C. “Style as Inclusion, Style as Exclusion”, in: Jones, C.A., Galison, P. (eds.), Picturing Science, Producing Art. New York, London: Routledge, 1998. pp. 27-54.

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

Kasavin, I.T. “Zony obmena kak predmet sotsial'noy filosofii nauki” [Trading Zones as a Subject-matter of Social Philosophy o Sciense], Epistemology & philosophy of science, 2017. vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 8–17. (in Russian).

Koyre, A. From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1957. 234 p.

Kuznetsova, N.I. “Istoricheskaya epistemologiya v poiskakh simvolicheskogo statusa” [Historical Epistemology in Search of Symbolical Status], Epistemology & Philosophy of Science, 2017, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 29–32. (In Russian).

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

Lindberg, D.C. The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, Prehistory to A.D. 1450. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007. 488 p.

Ludwig, D. “Overlapping ontologies and Indigenous knowledge. From integration to ontological self-determination”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 2016, vol. 59, pp. 36-45.

Marconi, D. “Other Than Whom?”, Rivista di estetica, 2014, no. 56. [Online]. [; accessed on 10.02.2017]. DOI: 10.4000/estetica.791

Nasim, O. Was ist historische Epistemologie? In: Hagner M., Hirschi C. (eds.). Nach Feierabend. Zurich, Berlin: Diaphanes, 2013, pp. 123–144.

Oberheim, E. “Rediscovering Einstein’s legacy: How Einstein anticipates Kuhn and Feyerabend on the nature of science”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 2016, vol. 57, pp. 17-26.

Rheinberger, H.J. Towards a History of Epistemic Things. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997. 326 p.

Rawal, N. “Social Inclusion and Exclusion: A Review”, Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, 2008, vol. 2, pp.161-180.

Schuster, J. Descartes-Agonistes. Physico-mathematics, Method & Corpuscular-Mechanism: 1618 1633. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013. 632 p.

Seiler, F. “The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, Prehistory to A.D. 1450. Book Review”, The Objective Standard, 2010, vol. 5. no. 2. pp. 102-107.

Sokolova, T.D. “Zachem tak uslozhnyat'” [Why so Complicated], Epistemology & Philosophy of Science, 2017, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 47–51. (In Russian).

Stäheli, U., Stichweh, R. Inclusion/Exclusion and Socio-Cultural Identities. Taschenbuch – 1. Oldenbourg: De Gruyter, 2002. 158 p.

Stolyarova O.E. “Sotsiologiya nauki i filosofiya nauki: za predelami deskriptivizma i normativizma” [Sociology of Science and Philosophy of Science: beyond Descriptivism and Normativism], Voprosy filosofii, 2014, no. 4, pp. 168-177. (In Russian).

Vetter, J. “Introduction: Lay Participation in the History of Scientific Observation”, Science in Context, 2011, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 127-14.

Wootton, D. The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution. New York, London: Harper Perennial, 2015. 784 p.

Wynne, B. “May the Sheep Safely Graze? A Reflexive View of the Expert-Lay Knowledge Divide”, in: Lash S., Szerszynski B., and Wynne B. (eds.). Risk, Environment and Modernity. Towards a New Ecology. London: Sage, 1996, pp. 44-83.