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Introduction: Beyond Disunity and Historicism

Buchwald, Jed Z. and Franklin, Allan (2005) Introduction: Beyond Disunity and Historicism. In: Wrong for the Right Reasons. Archimedes. No.11. Springer , Dordrecht, pp. 1-16. ISBN 978-1-4020-3047-5.

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One of the recent trends in the history of science, or “science studies” in general, has been the tendency to regard science as purely local and contextual. Perhaps this was a needed remedy for the universal claims prevalent in much of the late 20th century. Nevertheless we believe that the pendulum has swung too far. To say that everything in science is local and contextual implicitly downplays the importance of understanding the arguments that scientists use, and have used, to support their hypotheses or experimental results in any manner that breaches locality. It also suggests that we should not look for similarities in method between scientific disciplines or within a single discipline at different times. Many contemporary historians of science think that such attempts are doomed to inevitable failure. There would on this account be no point in investigating, for example, the similarities and differences between the experiments that demonstrated the nonconservation of parity in weak interactions and the experiment that decided between three different proposed mechanisms of DNA replication. Although they were performed at the same time, they were in different scientific fields, which on the recent view have nothing worth remarking in common.

Item Type:Book Section
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Additional Information:© 2005 Springer.
Subject Keywords:ExperIments; Apsidal Line
Series Name:Archimedes
Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200203-150109648
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101088
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Feb 2020 23:05
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:59

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