Lakatos (1971a)

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Lakatos, Imre. (1971) History of Science and Its Rational Reconstructions. In Lakatos (1978a), 102-138.

Title History of Science and Its Rational Reconstructions
Resource Type collection article
Author(s) Imre Lakatos
Year 1971
Collection Lakatos (1978a)
Pages 102-138


"Philosophy of science without history of science is empty; history of science without philosophy of science is blind". Taking its cue from this paraphrase of Kant’s famous dictum, this paper intends to explain how the historiography of science should learn from the philosophy of science and vice versa. It will be argued that (a) philosophy of science provides normative methodologies in terms of which the historian reconstructs 'internal history' and thereby provides a rational explanation of the growth of objective knowledge; (b) two competing methodologies can be evaluated with the help of (normatively interpreted) history; (c) any rational reconstruction of history needs to be supplemented by an empirical (socio-psychological) 'external history'.