French Neo-positivism and the Logic, Psychology and Sociology of Scientific Discovery

Krist Vaesen (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article is concerned with one of the notable but forgotten research strands that developed out of French nineteenth-century positivism, a strand that turned attention to the study of scientific discovery and was actively pursued by French epistemologists around the turn of the nineteenth century. I first sketch the context in which this research program emerged. I show that the program was a natural offshoot of French neoposi-tivism; the latter was a current of twentieth-century thought that, even if implicitly, challenged the positivism of first-generation positivists such as Comte. I then survey what French epistemologists—including Ernest Naville, Élie Rabier, Pierre Duhem, Édouard Le Roy, Abel Rey, André Lalande, Théodule-Armand Ribot, Edmond Goblot, and Jacques Picard, among others—had to say about the logic, psychology, and sociology of discovery. My story demonstrates the inaccuracy of existing historical accounts of the philosophical study of scientific discovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-200
Number of pages18
JournalHOPOS
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

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