On Historicizing Epistemology: An Essay (Cultural Memory in by Hans-Jörg Rheinberger

By Hans-Jörg Rheinberger

Epistemology, as often understood via philosophers of technology, is quite distant from the background of technology and from historic matters in most cases. Rheinberger indicates that, from the past due 19th throughout the overdue 20th century, a parallel, replacement discourse sought to come back to phrases with the particularly basic event of the thoroughgoing medical adjustments attributable to the revolution in physics. Philosophers of technology and historians of technological know-how alike contributed their percentage to what this essay describes as an ongoing quest to historicize epistemology. old epistemology, during this feel, isn't really so serious about the realizing topic and its psychological capacities. fairly, it envisages technological know-how as an ongoing cultural activity and attempts to evaluate the stipulations lower than which the sciences in all their variety take form and alter over the years.

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His history of syphilis research, despite the eponym of the serum reaction that stands at the center of his analysis—the Wassermann reaction— is not concerned with big names. It gives a greater place to the working communities that strove with more or less success to bring a complex biological process into laboratory form. 51 • • • In ways that sometimes differ in degree, but not in principle, both Bachelard and Fleck worked for an epistemology that emphasized the social constitution of science as well as a specific historicity inherent in its pace.

It was better first of all to examine precisely what went on in actual laboratories, and the procedures followed there. It was not the task of philosophers of science to dictate to scientists the conditions of possibility and the norms of their knowledge; they should rather familiarize themselves with the laboratories and workshops of science, and especially with the history of science as the epistemological laboratory par excellence. “Sooner or later, scientific thought will itself become the central object of philosophical reflection.

In Popper’s epistemology, it is replaced by the question of how existing knowledge—however hypothetically it might have arisen—can be eliminated. Second, this involves a considerable impoverishment of the concept of experiment, which is reduced to an instance of testing hypotheses. An essential dimension of experiment is thus removed: its function  Between the Wars—II in the exploration of new fields of knowledge; and its constructive role in the presentation of phenomena is bracketed out. Every next step on the path of knowledge is initiated by a bold hypothesis, which must be sufficiently explicit so that it can be tested.

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