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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 57, Issue 3, 2020

Natalia I. Kuznetsova
Pages 87-104

History of Science: Projects and Realities

The article analyzes the key methodological problems of the contemporary research in the field of the history of science. It is shown that in the 18th and 19th centuries works on the history of science demonstrated the difficult paths of scientists to the heights of scientific discoveries. The positivism of the 19th century has opened the field of the philosophy of science, emphasizing the crucial role of scientific knowledge for the development of civilization. The history of science is fundamental for the justification of this thesis. However, in the 20th century, the history of science has solved mainly applied problems. It was necessary as a cursory review of the main achievements of various scientific disciplines arranged in chronological order. In fact, the history of science was based on the cumulative concept of the development of science. The criticism of cumulatism and the fight against anti-historical stereotypes emerged thanks to T. Kuhn. Later, the criticism of presentism in the community of science historians has become the main methodology for reconstructing the development of cognition. It is shown in the paper that the history of science was closely connected with the philosophy of science. However, genuine cooperation between philosophers and historians of science had not yet occurred. The situation has changed with the advent of a new philosophical discipline – historical epistemology.

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