History of Science

Taking the History of Science Really Seriously

From the publisher:

The scientific revolution is a many-faceted realization of Kuhn’s phylogenic tree, whose trunk is ancient astronomy with ramifications into terrestrial physics (Galileo, Descartes, Huygens, Newton) and biology and medicine (Aristotle, Galen, Vesalius, Harvey, Descartes, Steno, Linnaeus, Darwin, Fisher, Morgan, Mayr, Rapp). “Revolutions” of the sort documented in Kuhn’s Structure are pervasive in the history of science, both physical and biological. Some of these are analyzed in this book, but continuity within a tradtion is sought. As Kuhn argues in The Copernican Revolution (1959), scientific change is gradual with overlapping concepts and ideals, so discovery can be the rational pursuit of an ideal recognized as yet unfulfilled.

This book is intended to offer a historical, conceptual and methodological analysis of selected iconic shifts (revolutions) in scientific belief and practice. Part I is a reexamination of The Copernican Revolution in the light of philosophical thinking about the history of science that has emerged in the last 60 years since its publication in 1959 (Kuhn I). The philosophy and historiography drawn from Part I is then sought and compared with that evident in the history of evolutionary inquiries (Part II) and genetics (Part III).