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Steve Fuller:

Philosophy of Science as Tory History of Science 

Tirsdag, den 18. marts 2003, kl. 19.45
i auditorium 10 på H. C. Ørsted Instituttet,
Universitetsparken 5, København


One of the peculiar features of the history of the philosophy of science is that the people primarily regarded as philosophers today were on the losing side of the major scientific battles of their time, sometimes even being forced into philosophy because of their failure to find acceptance in the scientific community. I consider this phenomenon as evidence for a 'Tory history of science', which complements the usually condemned 'Whig history of science'. If Whigs write history from the standpoint of the winners, Tories do so from the standpoint of the losers. In effect, the Tories draw attention to history's unrealised potential, which then becomes the subject matter of philosophy. This then often becomes a standpoint from which to criticize contemporary scientific practice. I shall discuss the emergence of Tory historiography, which helps to explain some of the peculiar attitudes toward history that philosophers sometimes have had. I also distinguish it from other types of historiography, such as that of the professional historian of science and that of 'subaltern' groups traditionally excluded from history altogether (e.g. women, minorities).

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