Continental Philosophy of Science

In Constantin Boundas (ed.), The Edinburgh Companion to the Twentieth Century Philosophies. Edinburgh. University of Edinburgh Press. pp. 545--558 (2007)
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Abstract

Continental philosophies of science tend to exemplify holistic themes connecting order and contingency, questions and answers, writers and readers, speakers and hearers. Such philosophies of science also tend to feature a fundamental emphasis on the historical and cultural situatedness of discourse as significant; relevance of mutual attunement of speaker and hearer; necessity of pre-linguistic cognition based in human engagement with a common socio-cultural historical world; role of narrative and metaphor as explanatory; sustained emphasis on understanding questioning; truth seen as horizonal, aletheic, or perspectival; and a tolerance for paradoxical and complex forms of expression. Continental philosophy of science is thus more comprehensive than philosophy of science in the analytic tradition, including (and as analytic philosophy of science does not tend to include) perspectives on the history of science as well as the social and practical dimensions of scientific discovery. Where analytic philosophy is about reducing or, indeed, eliminating the perennial problems of philosophy, Continental philosophy is all about thinking and that will mean, as both Heidegger and Nietzsche emphasize, making such problems more not less problematic.

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Babette Babich
Fordham University

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