On Historicizing Epistemology: An Essay

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Stanford University Press, Mar 9, 2010 - Philosophy - 128 pages

Epistemology, as generally understood by philosophers of science, is rather remote from the history of science and from historical concerns in general. Rheinberger shows that, from the late nineteenth through the late twentieth century, a parallel, alternative discourse sought to come to terms with the rather fundamental experience of the thoroughgoing scientific changes brought on by the revolution in physics. Philosophers of science and historians of science alike contributed their share to what this essay describes as an ongoing quest to historicize epistemology. Historical epistemology, in this sense, is not so concerned with the knowing subject and its mental capacities. Rather, it envisages science as an ongoing cultural endeavor and tries to assess the conditions under which the sciences in all their diversity take shape and change over time.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Fin de Siècle
5
2 Between the WarsI
19
3 Between the WarsII
35
4 After 1945
51
5 The 1960s in France
65
6 Recent Developments
79
Conclusion
89
Notes
93
Bibliography
101
Index of Names
107
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Hans-Jörg Rheinberger is Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He is the author of Toward a History of Epistemic Things: Synthesizing Proteins in the Test Tube (Stanford, 1997).

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