An Introduction to the Historiography of Science by Helge S. Kragh

By Helge S. Kragh

This booklet introduces the methodological and philosophical issues of which glossy heritage of technological know-how is worried, providing a complete and demanding overview via description and overview of important historiographical viewpoints. Incorporating dialogue of key difficulties often old writing, with examples drawn from a number disciplines, this non-elementary creation bridges the space among common historical past and historical past of technology. Following a assessment of the early improvement of the background of technological know-how, the speculation of background as utilized to technological know-how background is brought, analyzing the elemental difficulties which this generates, together with difficulties of periodisation, ideological capabilities, and the clash among diachronical and anachronical historiography. ultimately, the booklet considers the serious use, and research, of historic resources, and the potential for the experiemental reconstruction of background. Aimed basically at scholars, the book's vast scope and integration of ancient, philosophical and medical concerns will curiosity philosophers, sociologists and normal historians, for whom there's no replacement creation to the topic at this point.

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Reference to known historical courses can give us information about which aspects of science are 'natural' or inherent parts of science per se; and, more to the point, information about which aspects are not but are culturally determined and therefore part of the social context of contemporary science. It is history of science in particular which has taught us that the positivist belief in a value-free, culturally independent science is a myth. And it is history of science, more than anything else, philosophy included, that has taught us that the scientific method, perceived as an absolute, canonized doctrine, is an artefact.

But not all teaching on history of science will play this part and certainly not automatically. History of science can be used just as well to support dogmas and to strengthen scientific authority. 13 V. 14 He wanted to remind the scientific specialists of their connections and shared roots with the humanities and to remind the humanists that science and the humanities are merely two facets of the same human endeavour. The gap between science and humanist culture is undoubtedly Objectives and justification 37 a deep one.

This is what happens in those cases where previously unnoticed scientific contributions are 'rediscovered'; a classic example is Mendel's discovery of the genetic laws, to be discussed in chapter 9 and chapter 17. Conversely, historical facts can lose their privileged status and fall back into historical oblivion as mere facts about the past. Many discoveries, once considered to be milestones in the progress of science, have turned out to be trivial or erroneous and then, as a result, lost their position in history of science.

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