Alexandre Koyré: His Secret Charm

Chapter

Abstract

There are no classics in the natural sciences akin to those in the humanities; Koyré paved the way to getting some connoisseurs to read some old science texts the way they read old classics in the humanities. Historians of science can help that project by debunking the myth that to be a good historian of science one has to be professional. Indeed, it is hard to say whether as a professional Koyré was a historian of science or of religious thought, or simply of culture. The historiographical innovation of Koyré is the idea that (contrary to the traditional view that science is infallible) historians of science should better not ignore their heroes’ errors. Hence, viewing him as a Platonist is highly misleading: whereas Plato deemed science perfect, Koyré used the analysis of scientific mistakes as a tool for understanding the research process in its diverse manifestations. Unfortunately, Koyré did not place sufficient emphasis on scientific controversies, even though, differing from other historians, and opposing Duhem’s views, he did not suppress them and he emphasized the role of metaphysics and of theology as their background, thus recognizing the proper place of metaphysics and of theology in research that Duhem had barred from science so as to exclude controversy from science. Thus, Koyré was an internalist not in the positivist sense but in the sense that he studied the problem situations of researchers, for his greatest charm was that he was consistently problem oriented.

Keywords

Scientific classics Historiography of science Scientific controversies Koyré Popper 

References

  1. Agassi J (1981) Science and Society: Studies in the Sociology of Science. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 65.Google Scholar
  2. Agassi J (2008) Science and Its History. Springer, Dordrecht.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agassi J (2013) The Very Idea of Modern Science. Springer, Dordrecht.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bitbol M, Kerszberg P, Petitot J (2009) (eds) Constituting Objectivity: Transcendental Perspectives on Modern Physics. Springer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  5. Bonnet Ch, de Calan R (2009) Moritz Schlick: Between Synthetic a Priori Judgment and Conventionalism. In Bitbol, Kerszberg and Petitot 2009, pp. 117–126.Google Scholar
  6. Born M (1954) A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity. The Modern Theories 1900–1926. By Sir Edmund Whittaker. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 5:261–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buchwald JZ (2013) (ed) A Master of Science History: Essays in Honor of Charles Coulston Gillispie. Springer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  8. Collingwood RG (1939) An Autobiography. Oxford, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cohen IB (1954) Review–Discussion: Some Recent Books on the History of Science. Journal of the History of Ideas 15:163–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cohen IB (1974) Newton’s Theory vs. Kepler’s Theory and Galileo’s Theory. In Elkana 1974, pp. 299–338.Google Scholar
  11. Cohen IB, Clagett M (1966) Alexandre Koyré (1892–1964): Commemoration. Isis 57:157-66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Drozdova D (2012) Alexandre Koyré, učenik Èmilja Meyersona: neizmennost' i istoričnost' čelovečeskogo razuma [Alexandre Koyré, disciple of Emile Meyerson: on immutability and historicity of human reason]. Epistemologia & Filosofia nauki 31/1:192–206.Google Scholar
  13. Edie JM (1963) Review of Koyré (1961). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 24:294–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Elkana Y (1987) Alexandre Koyré: Between the History of Ideas and Sociology of Disembodied Knowledge. History and Technology 4:115–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Elkana Y (ed) (1974) The Interaction between Science and Philosophy. The Humanities Press, Atlantic Heights NJ.Google Scholar
  16. Finocchiaro M (2010) Defending Copernicus and Galileo. The Review of Metaphysics 64:75–103.Google Scholar
  17. Fuller S (2000) Internalism versus Externalism. In Hessenbruch, pp. 380–381.Google Scholar
  18. Gillispie CC (2008) Entry: Alexandre Koyré. The Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Charles Scribner's Sons. Detroit–Michigan, pp. 482–490.Google Scholar
  19. Hessenbruch A (ed) (2000) Reader’s Guide to the History of Science. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  20. Hyppolite J (1974) Genesis and Structure of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Translated by Cherniak S, Heckman J. The Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL.Google Scholar
  21. Jaki SL (1987) Uneasy Genius: The Life and Work of Pierre Duhem. Nijhoff, Dordrecht.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Koyré A (1939) Études galiléennes: La Loi de la chute des corps. Hermann, Paris.Google Scholar
  23. Koyré A (1957) From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe. The Johns Hopkins Univerity Press, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  24. Koyré A (1961) Études d'Histoire de la pensée philosophique. Colin, Paris.Google Scholar
  25. Koyré A (1968) Metaphysics and Measurement: Essays in the Scientific Revolution. Chapman, London.Google Scholar
  26. Koyré A (1978) Galilean Studies. European Philosophy and the Human Sciences. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  27. Koyré A (1998) Present Trends of French Philosophical Thought. Journal of the History of Ideas 59:521–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kuhn TS (2000) The Road Since Structure: Philosophical Essays, 1970–1993. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago IL.Google Scholar
  29. Mauskofp SH (2013) A Career in the History of Science as Student of Charles Gillispie. In Buchwald 2013, pp. 25–36.Google Scholar
  30. McMullin E (1994) Scientific Classics and Their Fates. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:2, 266–274.Google Scholar
  31. Miller DP (2004) Discovering Water: James Watt, Henry Cavendish, and the Nineteenth Century ‘water controversy’. Ashgate, Aldershot–Burlington.Google Scholar
  32. Munro J (1890) Pioneers of Electricity, Or, Short Lives of the Great Electricians. The Religious Tracts Society, London.Google Scholar
  33. Ornstein Bronfenbrenner M (1913) The Role of Scientific Societies in the Seventeenth Century. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago IL.Google Scholar
  34. Paris JA (1831) The Life of Sir Humphry Davy. Colburn and Bentley, London.Google Scholar
  35. Popper KR (1961) What is Dialectic? in his Conjectures and Refutations. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  36. Snow CP (1961) The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. The Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  37. Stimson D (1948) Scientists and Amateurs: A History of the Royal Society. Henry Schuman, New York.Google Scholar
  38. Stump JB (2001) History of Science through Koyré’s Lenses. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 32:243–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Whittaker E (1953) A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity, Volume 2: The Modern Theories, 100–1926. Nelson, London.Google Scholar
  40. Wittgenstein L (1922) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Routledge, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

Personalised recommendations