Narrative and evidence. How can case studies from the history of science support claims in the philosophy of science?

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Abstract
A common method for warranting the historical adequacy of philosophical claims is that of relying on historical case studies. This paper addresses the question as to what evidential support historical case studies can provide to philosophical claims and doctrines. It argues that in order to assess the evidential functions of historical case studies, we first need to understand the methodology involved in producing them. To this end, an account of historical reconstruction that emphasizes the narrative character of historical accounts and the theory-laden character of historical facts is introduced. The main conclusion of this paper is that historical case studies are able to provide philosophical claims with some evidential support, but that, due to theory-ladenness, their evidential import is restricted.
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Archival date: 2017-05-10
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