Skip to main content
  • 496 Accesses

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. 1.

    For the view of The Age of Reason as amateur science, see Agassi 2013.

  2. 2.

    See http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk/prism.php?id=22

References

  • Agassi J (1981) Science and Society: Studies in the Sociology of Science. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 65.

    Google Scholar 

  • Agassi J (2008) Science and Its History. Springer, Dordrecht.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Agassi J (2013) The Very Idea of Modern Science. Springer, Dordrecht.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Bitbol M, Kerszberg P, Petitot J (2009) (eds) Constituting Objectivity: Transcendental Perspectives on Modern Physics. Springer, Dordrecht.

    Google Scholar 

  • 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 

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Buchwald JZ (2013) (ed) A Master of Science History: Essays in Honor of Charles Coulston Gillispie. Springer, Dordrecht.

    Google Scholar 

  • Collingwood RG (1939) An Autobiography. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cohen IB (1954) Review–Discussion: Some Recent Books on the History of Science. Journal of the History of Ideas 15:163–192.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cohen IB (1974) Newton’s Theory vs. Kepler’s Theory and Galileo’s Theory. In Elkana 1974, pp. 299–338.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cohen IB, Clagett M (1966) Alexandre Koyré (1892–1964): Commemoration. Isis 57:157-66.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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 

  • Edie JM (1963) Review of Koyré (1961). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 24:294–295.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elkana Y (1987) Alexandre Koyré: Between the History of Ideas and Sociology of Disembodied Knowledge. History and Technology 4:115–148.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elkana Y (ed) (1974) The Interaction between Science and Philosophy. The Humanities Press, Atlantic Heights NJ.

    Google Scholar 

  • Finocchiaro M (2010) Defending Copernicus and Galileo. The Review of Metaphysics 64:75–103.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fuller S (2000) Internalism versus Externalism. In Hessenbruch, pp. 380–381.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gillispie CC (2008) Entry: Alexandre Koyré. The Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Charles Scribner's Sons. Detroit–Michigan, pp. 482–490.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hessenbruch A (ed) (2000) Reader’s Guide to the History of Science. Routledge, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • 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 

  • Jaki SL (1987) Uneasy Genius: The Life and Work of Pierre Duhem. Nijhoff, Dordrecht.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Koyré A (1939) Études galiléennes: La Loi de la chute des corps. Hermann, Paris.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koyré A (1957) From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe. The Johns Hopkins Univerity Press, Baltimore.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koyré A (1961) Études d'Histoire de la pensée philosophique. Colin, Paris.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koyré A (1968) Metaphysics and Measurement: Essays in the Scientific Revolution. Chapman, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koyré A (1978) Galilean Studies. European Philosophy and the Human Sciences. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koyré A (1998) Present Trends of French Philosophical Thought. Journal of the History of Ideas 59:521–548.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kuhn TS (2000) The Road Since Structure: Philosophical Essays, 1970–1993. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago IL.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mauskofp SH (2013) A Career in the History of Science as Student of Charles Gillispie. In Buchwald 2013, pp. 25–36.

    Google Scholar 

  • 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 

  • Miller DP (2004) Discovering Water: James Watt, Henry Cavendish, and the Nineteenth Century ‘water controversy’. Ashgate, Aldershot–Burlington.

    Google Scholar 

  • Munro J (1890) Pioneers of Electricity, Or, Short Lives of the Great Electricians. The Religious Tracts Society, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ornstein Bronfenbrenner M (1913) The Role of Scientific Societies in the Seventeenth Century. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago IL.

    Google Scholar 

  • Paris JA (1831) The Life of Sir Humphry Davy. Colburn and Bentley, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Popper KR (1961) What is Dialectic? in his Conjectures and Refutations. Routledge, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Snow CP (1961) The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. The Cambridge University Press, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stimson D (1948) Scientists and Amateurs: A History of the Royal Society. Henry Schuman, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stump JB (2001) History of Science through Koyré’s Lenses. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 32:243–263.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whittaker E (1953) A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity, Volume 2: The Modern Theories, 100–1926. Nelson, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wittgenstein L (1922) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Routledge, London.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joseph Agassi .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2018 Springer International Publishing AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Agassi, J. (2018). Alexandre Koyré: His Secret Charm. In: Pisano, R., Agassi, J., Drozdova, D. (eds) Hypotheses and Perspectives in the History and Philosophy of Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-61712-1_1

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-61712-1_1

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-61710-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-61712-1

  • eBook Packages: HistoryHistory (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics