Continental Philosophy | History of Philosophy | Medicine and Health | Philosophy | Philosophy of Science | Sociology | Sociology of Culture


This article argues that the limited influence of Ludwik Fleck’s ideas on philosophy of science is due not only to their indirect dissemination by way of Thomas Kuhn, but also to an incommensurability between the standard conceptual framework of history and philosophy of science and Fleck’s own more integratedly historico-social and praxis-oriented approach to understanding the evolution of scientific discovery. What Kuhn named “paradigm” offers a periphrastic rendering or oblique translation of Fleck’s Denkstil/Denkkollektiv, a derivation that may also account for the lability of the term “paradigm”. This was due not to Kuhn’s unwillingness to credit Fleck but rather to the cold war political circumstances surrounding the writing of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Following a discussion of Fleck’s anatomical allusions, I include a brief discussion of Aristotle (on menstruation and darkened mirrors) and conclude with a reference to the productivity of error in Mach and Nietzsche.



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