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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 56, Issue 4, 2019

Yulia V. Shaposhnikova, Lada V. Shipovalova
Pages 62-77

Imagination in Action
The Case of Historical Epistemology

The intention of this article is to study the role of imagination in science. We are going to examine the communicative role that imagination plays in interdisciplinary scientific interaction. We are referring to that specific kind of interaction in which science is the object of research that is to a complicated situation in the contemporary science studies. We posit that the interaction between different disciplines engaged in the study of science is far from being concordant. This is especially true of the history and philosophy of science. Currently, the situation is such that, on the one hand, the philosophical reference to the historical research of science has proved being constructive in nature. On the other hand, historians remain mostly indifferent to the philosophy of science, seeking no methodological guidance from philosophers. Revealing the reasons for such an asymmetry of interests, and, as a consequence, the failure of the constructive interaction of history and philosophy of science, we analyze one hypothesis which directly refers to the work of imagination in the Kantian sense. Next, we determine that Kant's appeal to imagination opens the way for another interpretation of both the work of imagination and, as a result, the interaction of history and philosophy of science. We demonstrate why the analysis of the role of image, associated primarily with art, becomes relevant in modern research of science. Additionally, we turn to imagination, not just as a transcendental condition of knowledge but as an effective tool to organize specific research practices of interdisciplinary interaction. Therefore, an important component of our research is an appeal to a “successful” example of the synthesis of historical and philosophical research of science, which is the contemporary historical epistemology, in which one can see imagination in action.

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