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The reading of Ludwig Fleck sources and context

by Hedfors, Eva

Abstract (Summary)
The present thesis is based on a scientifically informed reading of Fleck. In addition to the monograph, the material includes his additional philosophical writings and also his internationally published scientific articles. The sources provided by Fleck have been traced back to the time of their origin. Based on the above material, it is argued that rather than relativizing science, and thereby deeply influencing Kuhn, Fleck, attempting to participate in the current debates, is an ardent proponent of science, offering an internal account of its pursuit that accords with his often-contested epistemic concepts. The exposure of his description of the Wassermann reaction discloses a highly selected reading of the, at the time, available sources, but also its relation to the current debate on Einzelwissenschaften, or the standing of new emerging disciplines versus age-old ones, all occasioned by the remarkable progress of science that also affected philosophy. The divide between philosophers and scientists on the philosophical implications of modern physics is exposed as well as Fleckā€™s heuristic use of the latter topic in his epistemology. A more realistic account of his scientific accomplishment is provided that includes the unfeasibility of the manufacturing of an anti-typhus vaccine based on urine. It is finally argued that the modern interpretation, or the received humanist view of Fleck, is based on the, at the time of the rediscovery of the monograph, already endorsed program of STS writers opposing a scientifically informed reading of his texts.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; History and philosophy subjects; Philosophy subjects; Ludwig Fleck; Wassermann reaction; thought style; Denkstil

ISBN:91-7178-158-7

Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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