Selection, System and Historiography

  • Peter Machamer
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 151)


This paper is contentious, assertive and programmatic. It attempts to assay certain characteristics of a chronological history of science as practiced. It presents a model based on evolutionary theory that shows how to do that job better. After a brief excursion into the ontological assumptions of history writing, it goes on to sketch a different, systemic model. This systemic model is compatible with the traditional model, but will allow science better to be seen in its complex relation to other human and social aspects. As a leitmotif it is argued that intentionality and the mental or their teleological analogues, as an essential part of selectivity, are an ineliminable part of the history of science, however done.


Intellectual History White Moth Black Moth Protestant Ethic Ontological Assumption 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Foucault, Michel (1969/1972) The Archeology of Knowledge,Translated A. M. Sheridan Smith, New York, Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  2. Hull, David L. (1988) Science as Process: An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science,University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  3. Kneale, William (1949) Probability and Induction,Oxford.Google Scholar
  4. Machamer, Peter (1977) Teleology and Selective Processes’, in R. Colodny, ed., Logic, Laws and Life, University of Pittsburgh.Google Scholar
  5. Machamer, Peter (1991) The Person Centered Rhetoric of 17th Century Science’, inGoogle Scholar
  6. Marcello Pera and William Shea, eds., Persuading Science,Science History Publications. Mitchell, Sandra D. (1987) Competing Units of Selection?: A Case of Symbiosis’, Philosophy of Science 54 351–67.Google Scholar
  7. Ringer, Fritz (1990) The Intellectual Field, Intellectual History, and the Sociology of Knowledge’, Theory and Society 19, 269–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Tawney, R. H. (1926/1962) Religion and the Rise of Capitalism,Glouster, Mass., Peter Smith. Weber, Max (1904–5/1958) The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Machamer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations