The historical science studies gained their modern form during the long 20th century. The aim of this workshop is to explore the history of this scientific discipline. We use the term “modern historical science studies” to indicate a difference to the traditional history of science of the 19th century. We want to concentrate on four historical periods:
1. The 1920s and 1930s, when scientists and scholars such as Ludwik Fleck, Robert K. Merton, Boris Hessen, George Sarton, Gaston Bachelard, Alexandre Koyré, Edgar Zilsel or Henryk Grossmann started to investigate the epistemological, technical, social, political, and economic conditions for the production of scientific knowledge. On the one hand, this development was connected with the “crisis of reality” in the sciences and humanities addressed by Fleck, which emerged in the context of the development of quantum mechanics and of the theory of relativity. On the other hand, the experiences of total destruction in the course of World War I provoked a fundamental critical reinvestigation of the conditions for the emergence of scientific knowledge.
2. The second period started in Germany in 1933 and in Austria in 1938. Numerous Jewish, liberal, and leftist scholars in historical science studies lost their jobs, emigrated to other countries, or were incarcerated in concentration camps by the Nazis. The result of this development was a profound shift of the centers of historical science studies from Europe to, first and foremost, the United States. In the early Cold War, historical science studies remained important for the US and its Western allies because politicians considered scientific knowledge to be crucial for the race for world dominance with the Soviet Union. For Western science policy, it was central to gain historical knowledge about the conditions under which scientific research could be optimized.
3. The period from the early 1960s to the late 1970s started with the publication of Thomas S. Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1962. In this crucial book, Kuhn denied a teleological development of science and scientific knowledge and introduced his concept of … READ MORE