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 background of technology is worried, providing a entire and demanding overview via description and review of vital historiographical viewpoints. Incorporating dialogue of key difficulties regularly old writing, with examples drawn from various disciplines, this non-elementary advent bridges the space among basic background and historical past of technology. Following a assessment of the early improvement of the heritage of technology, the idea of heritage as utilized to technology heritage is brought, interpreting the elemental difficulties which this generates, together with difficulties of periodisation, ideological capabilities, and the clash among diachronical and anachronical historiography. ultimately, the ebook considers the severe use, and research, of ancient resources, and the potential for the experiemental reconstruction of heritage. Aimed basically at scholars, the book's huge scope and integration of ancient, philosophical and medical concerns will curiosity philosophers, sociologists and normal historians, for whom there's no substitute advent to the topic at this point.

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When it can be done depends largely on the topic being treated and the perspective of the study. 9 Whatever its focus, history of science deals with science in its historical dimension. But which occurrences can reasonably be counted as both 'scientific' and 'historical' and hence be included in the history of science? To search for a definition of 'science' or 'scientist' is hardly profitable in a historical context. Demarcation criteria, such as those to be found in philosophy of science, are mostly based on reflections on modern physical science and would be unsuited to historical use.

But, the positivist will assert, it is necessary and also possible to identify Gilbert's immediate observations as facts that are independent of his theory, and it is on these reconstructed facts that history of science must be based. This sharp separation of facts from 'theory' is a fiction, however, according to modern theory of science. 6 The idea widely accepted today about the dependence of observations on theory implies, therefore, that it may be impossible to isolate the empirical 44 Introduction to historiography of science facts of the past, in the sense of true statements about nature, uninfluenced by theory.

In chapter 10 we shall discuss the ideological role that history of science may play in connection with scientific disciplines and institutions. I. It is sometimes asserted that history of science, when properly conducted, can have a beneficial influence on the science of today. In its most primitive form it is suggested that the practising scientist may profitably make direct use of the history of his science; that by studying the works of earlier scientists he may receive inspiration for a solution he is looking for or even find out that the solution had already been discovered by a predecessor in the discipline.

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