III. Towards Metaphilosophy
The History of Science and the Intellectual Formations The history of science, a relatively new but increasingly popular field, has yet more problems than achievements. It is subject of discussions that touch many vital theoreti- cal issues are being raised. During the last few decades, clear changes have become more evident in the opinions regarding its general conception. In the works of the his- torians, however, these concepts tend to be rather seldom implemented. Many works have been published which speak of the life and work of scientists, of the history of particular discoveries and theories, even whole branches of science, scientific institu- tions, etc. However, only few of them speak about reasons why science took such-and- such shape in a given period of time. Exceptionally only science is associated with what can be called an intellectual formation. This is not to undermine the value of monographs, but as evidenced by the classic work of Koyré, this branch of study ap- pears to have a larger potential. Looking at these discussions, one can notice that they usually concern one main issue that is accounted in different ways, as if on different theoretical levels; therefore, different opposing parties are involved in them. The debates between scientists and philosophers who share differing opinions about science itself eventually turn into de- bates between Platonists and the followers of historical relativism. Ultimately, two positions that differ in the assessment and understanding of rationalism have emerged as the main opponents nowadays. These discussions and their...
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