Problems of a Historical Study of Science

  • Wolf Lepenies
Part of the Sociology of the Sciences A Yearbook book series (SOSC, volume 1)


Within a relatively short period of time the study of science (Wissenschaftsforschung) has become a unified discipline. The philosophy of science, the history of science (1) and the sociology of science no longer dismiss one another as auxiliary disciplines but exchange essential elements of their conceptual apparatus. As examples one might take Weizsäcker’s conception of the history of science as being a philosophy of science, or Thomas Kuhn’s attempt to establish a scientific-historical theory on the basis of a sociological category (‘scientific community’). In this respect the study of science furnishes, from its own development, proof of the thesis that changes in the system of science are characterised less and less by the emergence of completely new disciplines or interdisciplinary programmes but rather by exchanges of parts of disciplines within established subjects and by an amalgamation of disciplines.


Historical Study Traditional History Interdisciplinary Programme Single Discipline Historical Writing 
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    I have tried to describe some of these interconnections in my book Das Ende der Naturgeschichte. Wandel kultureller Selbstverständlichkeiten in den Wissenschaften des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts, München: Hanser, 1976.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolf Lepenies
    • 1
  1. 1.Free University of BerlinGermany

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