May the Reinforcement Be with You: On the Reconstruction of Scientific Episodes

In: Journal of the Philosophy of History

Abstract

Like theories, reconstructions of episodes in the history of science can possess, or lack, certain virtues such that, when we face two or more different reconstructions of the same episode, we assume that we should choose the most “virtuous one”. However, we will argue that, with dissimilar reconstructions of the same episode, it is not always necessary to separate the “good ones” from the “wrong ones”, and that, as a matter of fact, each reconstruction could provide different but perhaps equally relevant data about the episode, about science in general, and about particular philosophical theses. In order to help us to identify these benefits, we will present a criterion that guides the search for historiographical reinforcement of philosophical theses and we will use it to evaluate three different reconstructions of the same scientific episode.

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