Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 229-243

First online:

Forschungsprogramm und Wissenschaftsentwicklung

Lakatos' ‘Methodologie wissenschaftlicher Forschungsprogramme’ und die Grundlegung der Wissenschaftsforschung
  • Kurt BayertzAffiliated with

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Research programme and development of science


For Imre Lakatos hismethodology of scientific research programmes was not only a philosophical theory of science and scientific change but also the conceptual foundation of empirical and historical studies of science. At least terminologically this view is today widely accepted: The concept of aresearch programme is used in all sorts of literature on science. In the present paper I argue that this concept can lead to serious distortions of empirical and historical studies of science if it is not detached from the Lakatosian philosophical framework. Themethodology of scientific research programmes has three main pitfalls, which may lead to disorientations of empirical and historical studies of science: (1) Contrary to what the term “research programme” may suggest, it offers no perspective on scientific research as an object of analysissui generis; (2) its concept of science is too narrow and covers only minor parts of what counts as science in the real world; (3) it reduces history of science to a mere sequence of research programmes and thereby eliminates the fact that there is an evolution of the structure of research programmes, too.

Key words

Forschung Forschungsprogramm kritischer Rationalismus Imre Lakatos Methodologie wissenschaftlicher Forschungsprogramme Technisierung der Wissenschaft Wissenschaftsforschung