Kuhn, Sarton, and the History of Science

Chapter

Abstract

This may possibly be the first work on Kuhn and Sarton despite the importance of the subject, since Sarton was one of the main representatives of the “old” historiography of science, essential to understanding Kuhn’s critical proposal of a “new historiography of science” and the “historiographic revolution”. The theme has not been explored up until now by Kuhn scholars perhaps due to the vastness of Sarton’s work and the inadequate resource of merely citing excerpts out of context. Seeking to circumvent these problems, in a Koyréan way, we focus here on a case study. It is a peculiar case study and convenient for our purposes because, while it is of great importance for Sarton’s conception regarding the history of science and is in fact present throughout his academic career, it is not very extensive and can therefore be addressed in a more complete manner. We refer to Sarton’s treatment of Leonardo da Vinci and a discovery that he did not make: the discovery of blood circulation in the seventeenth century, attributed to William Harvey. Although Kuhn did not write about Leonardo or Harvey, we aim to show that he clearly positioned himself contrary to Sarton, albeit indirectly, with respect to this particular historical episode, as well.

Keywords

Kuhn Sarton Koyré Butterfield History of science Historiographic revolution Leonardo da Vinci William Harvey Galen Blood circulation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Paul Hoyningen-Huene for his comments on an earlier draft of this work and to Anne Kepple for translations and revisions. Research supported by FAPESP – Proc. 2013/20172-0.

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyIFCH, State University of CampinasCampinasBrazil

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