Poststructural Toolbox in the Philosophy of Science

In this post, I point towards interesting connections between the “poststructural toolbox” (Inayatullah 2004; 1998) and philosophical analysis of science. The poststructural toolbox consists of deconstruction, genealogy, distance, alternative pasts and futures, reordering knowledge. Next, I show how each element can be found from the philosophy of science and how the insights in the field […]

The Mythic and Metaphoric Level of Philosophy of Science

This post is a continuation from the previous post. Sohail Inayatullah (1998) has formulated a method of futures studies called Causal layered analysis (CLA). This method “is concerned less with predicting a particular future and more with opening up the present and past to create alternative futures” (815). It is a “method that reveals deep worldview committments [sic] […]

Motivating Causal Layered Analysis of Scientific Practices

The philosophy of science has improved our understanding of science, but this understanding has not been developed into future-oriented thinking. However, there are many interesting connections and similarities between the philosophy of science and causal layered analysis. Explicating these connections and similarities makes it possible to open “up the present and past to create alternative […]

Hotel California as History of Metaphysics. A Joke for the Summer

Not too serious. Most references can be found from Wikipedia… “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hairWarm smell of colitas, rising up through the air” A reference to Pre-Socratic philosopher Anaximenes of Miletus (c. 586 – c. 526 BC) who said “Just as our soul… being air holds us together, so pneuma and air encompass […]

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? William Dray on Historical Explanation

In Laws and Explanation in History, William Dray takes a journey through the issue of historiographical explanation. In this post, I will explicate the many different conceptions of historiographical explanation that Dray is able to find. While there are many important arguments in the book, the book is still centered around explicating the problems of […]

Stop Doing Philosophy! Unity, Distinctiveness, and Relevance in Historiography

It is easy to stumble upon conceptual questions and debates in historiography, especially in the historiography of science and knowledge. Historians are often wondering how to define historiographical subfields and their subjects of study. What counts as historiography of science? What is knowledge? Often these questions are centered around the issues of unity and distinctiveness […]

The Ship Is Leaking. Present Knowledge and What-If Thinking

Scientific knowledge changes. In the past, there were different theories and ideas than now. In the future, there will probably be different theories and ideas that may or may not resemble the current ones. In the previous post (here), I noted that this makes it rather difficult to tell what theories there will be in […]

History and Causality. Notorious E. H. Carr

In this post, I will discuss E. H. Carr’s views on historical causality. Although some of his views are infamous, I attempt to defend and make a good case for some of the controversial views. I argue that his discussion about causal patterns, accidental causes, causal hierarchies, values behind causal selection, and future-oriented causal selection […]

Dust in the Wind. The Mechanistic Approach to Explanation in Historiography

In this post, I discuss the mechanistic approach to historical (causal) explanation. I argue that while the approach has many virtues, it does not capture some important aspects of historiographical explanatory practices. — In the paper “Ephemeral Mechanisms and Historical Explanation” (2010), Stuart Glennan argues that historical events are often products of processes that can […]