Models pp 154-174 | Cite as

From Praxis to Logos: Genetic Epistemology and Physics

  • Marx W. Wartofsky
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 48)


Let me begin with a claim: Genetic epistemology is exactly what it claims to be. It is not developmental psychology. Genetic epistemology is a theory (or the domain of theories) about the growth of knowledge. Its theoretical claim is that developmental psychology is relevant to the study of the growth of knowledge, and in this respect, it is a radical theory. It is a standard view in the history and philosophy of science that the psychology of concept formation, or of theory formation, in the sciences is to be sharply distinguished from the epistemological analysis of theory and theory change; that, whereas the psychological study of the genesis of concepts and theories may give us insight into the mind or the behavior of scientists, it is ultimately irrelevant to the objective question of the epistemological status of such concepts and theories as knowledge or truth claims about the physical world. At one time, the distinction was sharply made between ‘contexts of discovery’ and ‘contexts of justification,’ and epistemology proper was seen to be concerned only with the latter.


Physical Concept Scientific Thought Developmental Sequence Genetic Psychology Epistemological Status 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

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  • Marx W. Wartofsky

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