The emergence of objectivity: Fleck, Foucault, Kuhn and Hacking

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88 (1):128-137 (2021)
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Abstract

The analytical notions of ‘thought style’, ‘paradigm’, ‘episteme’ and ‘style of reasoning’ are some of the most popular frameworks in the history and philosophy of science. Although their proponents, Ludwik Fleck, Thomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault, and Ian Hacking, are all part of the same philosophical tradition that closely connects history and philosophy, the extent to which they share similar assumptions and objectives is still under debate. In the first part of the paper, I shall argue that, despite the fact that these four thinkers disagree on certain assumptions, their frameworks have the same explanatory goal – to understand how objectivity is possible. I shall present this goal as a necessary element of a common project -- that of historicising Kant's a priori. In the second part of the paper, I shall make an instrumental use of the insights of these four thinkers to form a new model for studying objectivity. I shall also propose a layered diagram that allows the differences between the frameworks to be mapped, while acknowledging their similarities. This diagram will show that the frameworks of style of reasoning and episteme illuminate conditions of possibility that lie at a deeper level than those considered by thought styles and paradigm

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Luca Sciortino
E Campus University

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