The Status of the Lines of Force in Michael Faraday’s Thought: History and Philosophy of Science in the Classroom

  • Sonia Maria DionEmail author
Part of the Science: Philosophy, History and Education book series (SPHE)


Using primary sources, the work presents a study on the change in the ontological status of the lines of force in the thought of Michael Faraday (1791–1867), who moves from an instrumentalist to a realist view on this subject. This historical case is then further examined to show the context surrounding his ideas and his reasons justifying them. From this point on, the chapter suggests a reading approach for introducing a philosophical question in the teaching of physics. To this end, it establishes some connections between Faraday’s ideas and students’ views about lines of force, without turning into the criticized parallelism between ontogenesis and phylogenesis. Results from literature, interpreted in the light of Gaston Bachelard’s ideas, indicate the existence of a widespread realist perspective among students. The author suggests that this realism identified in the historical and pedagogical contexts might work as the communication link between reader and text considering the given differences between their contexts.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySão Judas UniversitySão PauloBrazil

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