Agnes Bolinska
University of South Carolina
We have previously argued that historical cases must be rendered canonical before they can plausibly serve as evidence for philosophical claims, where canonicity is established through a process of negotiation among historians and philosophers of science (Bolinska and Martin, 2020). Here, we extend this proposal by exploring how that negotiation might take place in practice. The working stock of historical examples that philosophers tend to employ has long been established informally, and, as a result, somewhat haphazardly. The composition of the historical canon of philosophy of science is therefore path dependent, and cases often become stock examples for reasons tangential to their appropriateness for the purposes at hand. We show how the lack of rigor around the canonization of case studies has muddied the waters in selected philosophical debates. This, in turn, lays the groundwork for proposing ways in which they can be improved.
Keywords Canon formation  Case studies  Confrontation model  Integrated history and philosophy of science  Path dependence
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2021.07.008
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