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Section VII Reflections on Epistemology and Historiography

Chair: Paul Hoyningen-Huene (University of Hanover)

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Mary Tiles (University of Hawaii, Manoa): Is Historical Epistemology Part of the „Modernist Settlement“?

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Summary

Bruno Latour, as part of his advocacy of science studies urges us to move beyond what he calls “the modernist settlement” that, among other things, separated science from politics and subject from object.  As part of this project he has frequently called for the abolition of epistemology, including quite specifically the historical epistemology/epistemological history of Bachelard and Canguilhem.
Pierre Bourdieu, on the other hand, deploys the resources of historical epistemology, to dismiss Latour’s science studies. At issue here are two competing sociological accounts of contemporary scientific knowledge and the conditions of its production. They agree in their concern over the deleterious effects of the current socio-political positioning of science but differ sharply in their analyses. A comparison of their positions may at least serve to help us understand why historical epistemology is assessed both as an obstacle and an asset by different protagonists in the politics of nature.

Discussion

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Martin Kusch (University of Cambridge): Reflexivity, Relativism, Microhistory: Desiderata for Historical Epistemologies

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Summary

The label "historical epistemology" has been used to characterise a wide variety of different historical and philosophical projects. One common denominator of several of these projects is that they count Ian Hacking's theory of "styles of (scientific) reasoning" as a key influence or model. This paper will be a critical discussion of Hacking's theory. I shall relate some of my observations to a recent key text in historical epistemology: Lorraine Daston's and Peter Galison's *Objectivity*.

Discussion

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Barry Stroud (University of California, Berkeley): The Value of a Historically Oriented Epistemology

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Summary

A brief discussion of the ways in which awareness of and sensitivity to the history of philosophy can contribute to epistemology even if epistemology is understood as a distinctively philosophical and not primarily historical enterprise.

Commentator: Catherine Wilson (City University of New York)

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Discussion

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General Discussion

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