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The tribunal of philosophy and its norms: History and philosophy in Georges Canguilhem's historical epistemology

Chimisso, Cristina (2003). The tribunal of philosophy and its norms: History and philosophy in Georges Canguilhem's historical epistemology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 34(2) pp. 297–327.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1369-8486(03)00027-X
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Abstract

In this article I assess Georges Canguilhem's historical epistemology with both theoretical and historical questions in mind. From a theoretical point of view, I am concerned with the role that history can play in the understanding and evaluation of philosophical concepts. From a historical point of view, I regard historical epistemology, as developed by Gaston Bachelard and Georges Canguilhem, as a conception and practice which came out of the project, elaborated in France from the 1920s to the 1940s, of combining history of science and philosophy. I analyse in particular Canguilhem's epistemology in his theory and practive of history of science. What he called 'normative history' is the focus of my analysis. I evaluate the question of the nature and provenience of the norm employed in normative history, and I compare it with the norm as discussed by Canguilhem in _Le normal et le pathologique_. While I am critical of Canguilhem's treatment of history, I conclude that his philosophical suggestion to analyse the formation of scientific concepts 'from below' represents a useful model for history and philosophy of science, and that it can be very profitably extended to philosophical concepts.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 1369-8486
Keywords: Canguilhem; Bachelard; Koyre; Historiography; Normativity; Historical epistemology.
Academic Unit/Department: Arts > Philosophy
Item ID: 3295
Depositing User: Cristina Chimisso
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2014 11:25
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/3295
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