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Review: HISTORY/PHILOSOPHY/SCIENCE: SOME LESSONS FOR PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY: On Historicizing Epistemology: An Essay by Hans-Jörg Rheinberger; David Fernbach

Reviewed Work: On Historicizing Epistemology: An Essay by Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, David Fernbach
Review by: John H. Zammito
History and Theory
Vol. 50, No. 3 (October 2011), pp. 390-413
Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41300102
Page Count: 24
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HISTORY/PHILOSOPHY/SCIENCE: SOME LESSONS FOR PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY
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Abstract

Rheinberger's brief history brings into sharp profile the importance of history of science for a philosophical understanding of historical practice. Rheinberger presents thought about the nature of science by leading scientists and their interpreters over the course of the twentieth century as emphasizing increasingly the local and developmental character of their learning practices, thus making the conception of knowledge dependent upon historical experience, "historicizing epistemology." Linking his account of thought about science to his own work on "experimental systems," I draw extensive parallels with other work in the local history of science (the ideas of Latour, Pickering, Rouse, and others) and consider the epistemological implications both for the relation between history and philosophy of science and between history and theory more broadly. In doing so, I suggest that the long-standing gap between the natural sciences and history as a "human science" has been significantly bridged by the insistence upon the local, mediated, indeed "historicized epistemology" of actual science.

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