Fleck's Contribution to Epistemology
Ludwik Fleck opposed the two most prominant schools of the philosophy of science of his time: the Logical Positivism of Carnap, Schlick and others of the Vienna Circle, and the Historicism of Durkheim, Levy-Bruhl, Jerusalem and the sociologists of knowledge. Fleck objected to two of the fundamental principles of Logical Positivism: (1) the strict separation it imposed between scientific fact (expressed by sentences in a purely observational language) and both logic and theory; and (2) the dogmatizing of extensional logic as the unique and normative logic for scientific theory construction. In contrast, he stated the inner dependence of fact, theory and logic, and the dependence of both on a historical socially-conditioned process. Fleck objected to the strict separation made by Historicism between the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaft en) and the social sciences (Geisteswissenschaften), stemming from the assumed fixity or objectivity of established scientific facts in the natural sciences and the assumption that in contrast `social facts' were the changing product of conventional and historical Weltanschauungen that leave the facts of natural science, however, unchanged. He stated that the descriptive frameworks of scientific facts in the natural sciences were themselves the product of intentional processes that were both culturally conditioned and historical; they were not, however, mere conventions, but the products of a hermeneutics of experimental experience.
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