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Nature and History Towards a Hermeneutic Philosophy of Historiography of Science

Nature and History, Towards a Hermeneutic Philospohy of Historiography of Science

Jeroen Bouterse
25 February 2016
Full text in Leiden University Repository



This thesis investigates the role of the natural world – the things studied by natural scientists – in historical accounts of science. It does so through the concepts of contingency and inevitability: it discusses the possibility that the world renders the final development of science inevitable, as well as several theoretical alternatives offered to this possibility. Notable among these alternatives are the Strong Programme in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK), Bruno Latour’s Actor Network Theory (ANT), and the naturalistic, evolutionary invisible hand model proposed by David Hull. This discussion culminates in a proposal for a hermeneutic perspective on history of science and on the role of the world in it.