Crossing the Boundaries: Reassessing Historical Epistemology between Science and Philosophy


Valentina Bossini University of Turin
Giorgio Castiglione University of Turin
Gabriele Vissio University of Turin


The notion of historical epistemology arose within the field of Althusserian scholarship on
Bachelard’s thought, aimed at identifying some common traits of the French epistemological and structuralist approaches to philosophical and historical problems in the study of science. During the 60s and the 70s the term épistémologie historique came to denote a specific group of authors responsible for the development of a distinctive “ style français en épistémologie” (Braunstein2002). Recent historiography, though, showed that the peculiar interaction between science and philosophy, deemed typical of this tradition, was not only a general tendency of French philosophy of sciences already with previous thinkers the likes of Meyerson, Brunschvicg, Rey and Metzger, but had also been subject to a partial and belated rediscovery by other endeavours to integrate the two domains: from Anglo-Saxon post-positivist epistemology to that of the German-speaking countries. Still nowadays, new forms of historical epistemology and the so-called “Integrated History and Philosophy of Science” (Stadler 2017) reveal a long-standing interest, both theoretical and historical, for a research program that strives to be increasingly more interdisciplinary.
Therefore, a novel assessment of this strand of thought is needed. It should reconstruct at greater length its origins and evolution, thoroughly framing contacts, relations and influences among its different representatives and movements. The aim of the conference is thus to reassess historical epistemology in its historical context and value. To this end, we seek to bring together the best contemporary young and senior scholars in this field.

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