Volume 4, Issue 2, 2007
Metaphysics and Ideologies in Science
What counts as scientific ideology for Canguilhem and Kuhn is functionally distinct. However, in this article I argue that metaphysical and other non-scientific
beliefs brought about by scientists into their research traditions and that Kuhn sees as generating scientific change coincide closely with Canguilhem’s conception of scientific ideology. Kuhn failed to describe clearly those ideological and metaphysical elements influencing the work of science. He chose to focus on psychological factors intrinsic to paradigms and present in paradigm shifts and in scientific revolutions and also in the internal mechanisms of science itself such as the discovery process. Canguilhem triangulated scientific ideologies with the traditional demarcation criterion between science and non-science and with the intertwining of practice, theory, and external (social) beliefs in scientific thought while distancing himself from the psychological dynamic in science characteristic in Kuhn’s work. Their views are complementary.