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Duhem's Continuity Thesis: The Intrusion Of Ideology Into History Of Science

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Chapter Summary

It is commonly asserted that history, offering an account of events, is about the past whereas philosophy, providing an analysis of thought, is time independent. An excellent example of Freudenthals approach is his illuminating essay on instrumentalism and realism in the history of astronomy. According to Freudenthal, Maimonides is the paragon of a medieval Aristotelian philosopher with scientific interests and metaphysical commitments. Duhems continuity thesis motivates his entire work on the origins of statics and, indeed, informs his view of history of science in general. Simon Stevin essentially continued the work of Archimedes by giving mathematical demonstrations of the conditions for equilibrium of a horizontal lever. Stevin, who was deeply involved in reorganizing the sciences, insisted that the science he developed is a liberal art as well as a mechanical art.

Keywords: Duhems continuity thesis; Freudenthal; Maimonides; Simon Stevin



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