Narrative and epistemology: Georges Canguilhem's concept of scientific ideology

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:64-73 (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In the late 1960s, Georges Canguilhem introduced the concept of ‘scientific ideology’. This concept had not played any role in his previous work, so why introduce it at all? This is the central question of my paper. Although it may seem a rather modest question, its answer in fact uncovers hidden tensions in the tradition of historical epistemology, in particular between its normative and descriptive aspects. The term ideology suggests the influence of Althusser’s and Foucault’s philosophies. However, I show the differences between Canguilhem’s concept of scientific ideology and Althusser’s and Foucault’s respective concepts of ideology. I argue that Canguilhem was in fact attempting to solve long-standing problems in the tradition of historical epistemology, rather than following the lead of his younger colleagues. I argue that Canguilhem’s ‘refurbishment without rejection’ of Bachelard’s epistemology, which the concept of scientific ideology was aimed to implement, was necessary to justify the historical narratives that Canguilhem had constructed in his own work as a historian of concepts. A strict acceptance of Bachelard’s epistemology would have made it impossible to justify them. Canguilhem’s concept of scientific ideology therefore served as a theoretical justification of his practice as a historian. I maintain that the concept of scientific ideology was needed to reconcile Bachelard’s normative epistemology with Canguilhem’s view of the history of science and its aims, which differed from Bachelard’s more than it is generally acknowledged

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,420

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The tribunal of philosophy and its norms: History and philosophy in Georges Canguilhem's historical epistemology.C. Chimisso - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 34 (2):297-327.
The Relationship between History and Epistemology in Georges Canguilhem and Gaston Bachelard.Enrico Castelli Gattinara - 2018 - Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science 4:14.
Canguilhem’s Concepts.David Marcelo Peña-Guzmán - 2018 - Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science 4:27.
Georges Canguilhem als Medizinhistoriker.Caspar Grond-Ginsbach - 1996 - Berichte Zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 19 (4):235-244.
The Concept in Life and the Life of the Concept: Canguilhem’s Final Reckoning with Bergson.Alex Feldman - 2016 - Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy 24 (2):154-175.

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-09-29

Downloads
31 (#511,864)

6 months
6 (#731,878)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Cristina Chimisso
Open University (UK)

References found in this work

Lenin and philosophy, and other essays.Louis Althusser - 1971 - New York: Monthly Review Press.
The poetics of space.Gaston Bachelard - 1964 - Boston: Beacon Press. Edited by M. Jolas.
More Thoughts on HPS: Another 20 Years Later.Jutta Schickore - 2011 - Perspectives on Science 19 (4):453-481.
Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays.[author unknown] - 1972 - Studies in Soviet Thought 12 (4):402-402.
L'activité rationaliste de la physique contemporaine.Gaston Bachelard - 1951 - Paris,: Presses universitaires de France.

View all 37 references / Add more references