Historicizing Deduction: Scientific Method, Critical Debate, and the Historian
If ever there were scientific procedures that seemed immune to history, induction and deduction would be them. Their validity seemingly unimpinged by the vicissitudes of history, they appear a proper subject of discussion for philosophers and scientists, but not for historians. Historians pride themselves on demonstrating that the internal logic of theory is historical — a response to particular conditions. Breakdowns in logic present historians with opportune moments for historicization, for showing how theoreticians’ efforts to respond to their situation made them move inconsistently. When it comes to induction and deduction, however, they seem so universal and basic — the logic and methodology of science unthinkable without them — that any effort to demonstrate their historically bound character risks relativizing science and, some would argue, undermine rational exchange. Can the historian participate, qua historian, in the conversation on induction and deduction without unraveling science and undermining rational exchange?
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