Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 129–140 | Cite as

Carnap and Kuhn: On the Relation between the Logic of Science and the History of Science



This paper offers a refutation of J. C. Pinto de Oliveira’s recent critique of revisionist Carnap scholarship as giving undue weight to two brief letters to Kuhn expressing his interest in the latter’s work. First an argument is provided to show that Carnap and Kuhn are by no means divided by a radical mismatch of their conceptions of the rationality of science as supposedly evidenced by their stance towards the distinction of the contexts of discovery and justification. This is followed by an argument to the effect that the fact that Carnap’s own work concentrated on formal aspects of scientific theories does not licence the conclusion that he thought historical investigations and concerns irrelevant for what we nowadays would rightly call “philosophy of science”.


Rudolf Carnap Distinction of contexts of discovery and justification History of science Thomas Kuhn Logical empiricism 



The author wishes to thank André Carus, William Demopoulos and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticisms.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy, School of Social SciencesThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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