Aspects of current history of philosophy of science in the French tradition

Chimisso, Cristina (2010). Aspects of current history of philosophy of science in the French tradition. In: Stadler, Friedrich ed. The Present Situation in the Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 41–56.




There seems to be a general understanding that French philosophy of science is different from ‘mainstream’ philosophy of science; this difference has been made official, as it were, in reference works and Encyclopaedias. In this, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is paradigmatic: it has two entries, one for ‘Philosophy of Science’, and another for ‘French philosophy of science’. Is this distinction correct, and where does it come from? In this paper Cristina Chimisso gives a mixed answer: on the one hand, she argues that there is a distinctive tradition in French philosophy of science, generally called historical epistemology. This tradition has developed thanks to particular institutional and intellectual arrangements that have promoted close links between philosophy and other disciplines, and thanks to the centrality of history in the study of philosophy. On the other hand, she also argues that the reception of French philosophy of science outside France has been, arguably unduly, dominated by this particular, though very important, tradition at the expense of other approaches.

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