Thinking through Historical Cases

In this post, I discuss problems that are associated with case studies in the philosophy of science and possible solutions to the problems. I also discuss the relevance of the problems to our thinking about science and future. Preliminary note on methodology Before going any further, we need to notice that the notion of “case […]

Meme: ‘An Age-Old Argument’. The Necessity of Explanatory Power

I have come across the following picture many times. The picture involves a historical argument: There have always been explanation-seeking questions that appeared to refute a theory. Yet, the theory turned out to be successful. Conclusion: We can ignore certain explanation-seeking questions that appear to refute current beliefs. Despite the good intentions, the argument is […]

Understanding Errors. The Role of Mistakes in History and Future

In this post, I discuss what we can infer about the relative epistemic merits of scenario-work from the failures to formulate correct scenarios of the future. I argue that these failures are not qualitatively different from failures in other disciplines. Rather, the difference is in the way that the epistemic commitments become apparent and can […]

How I Left the World behind and Fell in Love with Counterfactuals. A Counterfactual Account of Testing Philosophical Theories of Science

At least since Kuhn, the changing nature of science has become evident. The idea that “all of the concepts we use to discuss science are in constant flux” (Pitt 2001, 381) can be called Heraclitianism (following Bolinska & Martin 2019). The lesson (from historians of science) is that science has taken (sometimes radically) different forms […]

Rational Reconstructions from History to Future

Imre Lakatos (1922-1974) famously argued that we should make the history of science understandable by rationally reconstructing it. We have to formulate normative “methodologies” of science, i.e. accounts that tell how science should proceed in gathering and organizing its knowledge (e.g. inductivism, conventionalism, falsicationism, methodology of research programs), and produce historiographies of science that explain […]

Theoretical-Structural Taxonomies in History and Future

In this post, I discuss the similarities and differences between historiography and futures studies on the basis of David J. Staley’s book History and Future. I also sketch a structural-taxonomical approach to the possible futures. It is one thing to say that our knowledge of the past is necessary for our knowledge of future, but […]