CamPoS: Cambridge Philosophy of Science

History of the Philosophy of Science

Cambridge has a long tradition, going back to William Whewell, of critical studies of the changing goals and methods of the sciences. The founding father of History and Philosophy of Science in Cambridge, Gerd Buchdahl, was a historian of the philosophy of science. Buchdahl strongly maintained that critical understanding and pursuit of current issues in the philosophy of science requires a grasp of their origins; and, moreover, that historical inquiries into past sciences should proceed hand-in-hand with studies of past philosophical reflections on those sciences.

Over the years, Cambridge scholars such Mary Hesse, Ian Hacking, Geoffrey Lloyd, Myles Burnyeat, Edward Craig, David Sedley, Martin Kusch, Onora O’Neill, Peter Lipton, and their PhD students have variously explored the Ancient, Humean, Kantian, phenomenological, positivist, conventionalist, and pragmatist traditions. Many of the present participants in CamPoS are concerned with the long-standing links between philosophical reflections and the practices of the sciences; and Buchdahl’s Kantian legacy lives on in the lively, interdepartmental Kant Reading Group.

Marina Frasca-Spada and Nick Jardine
March 2013.