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History and philosophy of science as an interdisciplinary field of problem transfers

  • Henrik Thorén
  • Susann Wagenknecht
  • Nancy J. Nersessian
  • Hanne Andersen
Publishing year: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 147-159
Publication/Series: Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics
Volume: 21
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Springer International Publishing

Abstract english

The extensive discussions of the relationship between the history of science and the philosophy of science in the mid-20th century provide a long history of grappling with the relevance of empirical research on the practices of science to the philosophical analysis of science. Further, those discussions also touched upon the issue of importing empirical methods into the philosophy of science through the creation of an interdisciplinary field, namely, the history and philosophy of science. In this paper we return to Giere (1973) and his claim that history of science as a discipline cannot contribute to philosophy of science by providing, partial or whole, solutions to philosophical problems. Does this imply that there can be no genuine interdisciplinarity between the two disciplines? In answering this question it is first suggested that connections between disciplines can be formed around the transfer and sharing of problems (as well as solutions); and that this is a viable alternative for how to understand the relationship between history and philosophy of science. Next we argue that this alternative is sufficient for establishing a genuine form of interdisciplinarity between them. An example is presented—Darden’s (1991) book on theory change—that shows how philosophy of science can rely on history of science in this way.


  • Philosophy
  • History and philosophy of science
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Problem feeding
  • Problem transfer


  • ISSN: 21926255
  • ISSN: 21926263
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-18600-9
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-18599-6
Henrik Thorén
E-mail: henrik [dot] thoren [at] fil [dot] lu [dot] se

Visiting research fellow

LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)



Theoretical Philosophy


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Phone: +46(0)46- 222 80 81
info [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se