Will the Future Understand Us?

In historiography, a common idea is that we should describe and explain the past in its own terms. People have had different beliefs, values, and problems to be solved, and the social and cultural dynamics surrounding them have been different – not to mention the material realities of the past. We should not expect that […]

Understanding Explanation and Its Relevance for the Future

In this post, I discuss how philosophy of historiography helps us to understand the estimating of futures. More specifically, by focusing on my forthcoming publication, I discuss why we need a philosophical account of historiographical explanation to understand the use of historiography in scenario-work. Soon, my paper “What Should We Require from an Account of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Explaining the Past and Estimating the Future. The Framework

In this last post before August, I sketch a conceptual framework for estimating the future[1] of science. The framework relies on the close connections between explaining the past and estimating the future. My dissertation and the work surrounding it focused on the question of how to understand the development of science. I have argued that […]

Wender Bell, Futures Studies, and the Conception of Foundations of a Science

Are there natural sciences? Surely, there exist what are known as natural sciences, i.e. sciences that study natural phenomena, but my question concerns sciences as phenomena – are some sciences more natural than others? This question may sound weird. Sciences[1] are human creations and therefore they are not natural in the same sense as elephants […]

Ex on the Beach. A Week in the Philosophy of Historiography

I have spent this week writing about philosophy of historiography, a topic I spent time with during my twenties. I wrote a text to the blog of Oulu Centre for Philosophical Studies of History where I discuss the relationship between historiography and science and the connections between philosophy of historiography and philosophy of science. I […]

Duck, You Sucker! Causal Layered Analysis and Philosophy of Science

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] behind surface phenomena” (815). CLA consist […]