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Sarton, Kuhn and the history of science

Grant number: 13/20172-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2014
Effective date (End): April 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Epistemology
Principal Investigator:José Carlos Pinto de Oliveira
Grantee:Amélia de Jesus Oliveira
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


In our recently defended thesis, Duhem and Kuhn: continuism and descontinuism in the history of science (2012), we tried show the impropriety of a prevalent discourse that opposed the new historiography of Kuhn (in which the understanding of scientific revolutions is inherent) with the older historiography (characterised by the omission of scientific revolutions and by cumulative development, in which Duhem is presented as representative). In our critique of what we consider to be a misguided dischotomy, a key question confronts us: from what basis can we maintain a certain distinction between the old and new historiographies, while avoiding the assumptions made by other historians and critics of the historiography of science? Is it possible to identify a representative of ancient historiography that would allow us, in contrast, understand better the new historiography? Following indications by Kuhn himself, we turn to an investigation of the work of George Sarton. Although still invariably cited as a tireless worker in the creation and development of the discipline of History of Science, in the last five decades Sarton has received little attention in analyzes devoted exclusively to his work. References to his role in the history of science seem to reiterate the common criticisms made of traditional historiography, that stem from the new historiographers of science. We propose to investigate the historical conceptions of George Sarton and Thomas Kuhn, by exploring their confluences and divergences. By doing so, we seek to shed some new light on the so-called "historiographic revolution", whose scholars have increasingly disqualified Sarton's work as a historian, presumably as a result of the conceptions of Kuhn.

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
AMÉLIA DE JESUS OLIVEIRA. A Obra Científica de Leonardo da Vinci: Controvérsias na Historiografia da Ciência. Trans/Form/Ação, v. 39, n. 2, p. 53-86, Jun. 2016.

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