Reading fleck: Questions on philosophy and science
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
The present thesis is based on a scientifically-informed, contextualized and historicized reading of Ludwik Fleck. In addition to his monograph, the material studied includes his additional philosophical writings, his internationally-published scientific articles and two, thus-far-unstudied postwar Polish papers related to his Buchenwald experiences. 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 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 oft-contested epistemic concepts, e.g., Denkzwang, Sinnsehen and Kopplungen. The exposure of his description of the Wassermann reaction discloses a highly selective reading of the sources available at the time, but also reveals 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 has also affected philosophy. The divide between philosophers and scientists on the philosophical implications of modern physics is exposed, as is Fleck’s heuristic use of the latter topic in his epistemology. A more realistic account of his often-valued scientific accomplishments is provided. It is argued that the modern interpretation or received humanist view of Fleck is based on the opposition, at the time Fleck’s monograph was rediscovered, of STS writers to a scientifically-informed reading of his texts. An additional corrective to the received view of Fleck is found in some of his postwar Polish papers related his Buchenwald experiences. The latter might also provide an answer to some of the contradictions inherent in the modern mythology surrounding Fleck. In amply exposing the precarious situation of the time, and the complexity of the ethical issues at stake, Fleck’s papers in fact generate age-old philosophical questions still worth contemplating.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2006. , 26 p.
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831
Ludwik Fleck, Wassermann reaction, Informed consent, Buchenwald studies, Human experimentation
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4250ISBN: 91-7178-471-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4250DiVA: diva2:11461
2007-01-15, Sal F3, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00
Hesslow, Germund, Professor
Hansson, Sven Ove
QC 201008262006-12-222006-12-222010-08-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers