Concepts, Methods, and the History of Historical Epistemology

Concepts, Methods, and the History of Historical Epistemology

Jürgen Renn, Olaf Engler

Other involved Scholars: 

See activities covered by this project

Cooperation Partners: 

Center for Logic, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Rostock and Institute Vienna Circle, University of Vienna


Participants of the 8th International Congress of Philosophy in Prague (September 2–7, 1934). Front row: Gaston Bachelard (7th from left), Hans Driesch (8th from left), and Moritz Schlick (9th from left). Back row: Hans Reichenbach (2nd from right) and Rudolf Carnap (8th from right) © George Moritz H. van de Velde-Schlick

In addition to the main research lines focusing on the long-term development and the global dissemination of knowledge, concepts and methods of a historico-developmental theory of knowledge are being designed and explored.

Within this framework research activities are dedicated to the genesis and development of the relation between the history and philosophy of science in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In a group of studies, source materials on the history of this relationship are analyzed. Of special interest is the period of scientific philosophy, extending approximately from 1850 to 1930. This period is characterized by the fruitful interaction of the revolutionary transformations of physics with philosophical perspectives on science, but also with developments in experimental psychology and biology. 

In the course of this development, radically different perspectives on science emerged, amounting to what one might call “a split of scientific rationality” which shapes the debate to this day. In this context, the project specifically investigates the conflicts between the history, philosophy, and sociology of science as a result of this split of rationality, but also their integration into the concepts and methods of a historical epistemology.