CfP: Special Issue "Classic Methodologies in the Philosophy of Science", Journal for General Philosophy of Science

 Philosophy of science as we know it is a relatively recent creation, on which the analytic turn still casts its shadows. Its general characterization indeed is grounded on a philosophical method for analysing the scientific enterprise whose origin rests on the view elaborated by the Vienna Circle and its legacy, taking as a point of departure 1922, when Moritz Schlick was appointed to the Chair of History and Philosophy of inductive sciences.

This perspective has been contested by many authors from Kuhn onwards, and has seen many ‘turns’ in the past forty years or so. From the historical turn (e.g. Kuhn and Lakatos), to the turn to practice (Hacking, Kitcher), through the social studies of science (e.g. Latour, Pickering), and historical epistemology (Daston, Rheinberger), etc. However, in many philosophical perspectives nowadays there still is an emphasis on the methods of logical analysis as the only rigorous ones. Such a view implies a widespread devaluation of the role historically played by authors that, before the analytic turn and the foundation of the Vienna Circle, either as scientists or as philosophers, reflected differently on the method of scientific inquiry. In an attempt to recover their value, we aim to call these approaches ‘classic’.

Among the different methods that scientists and philosophers have offered we aim to focus this special issue on the period known as the ‘long nineteenth century’, that is, authors who worked between 1789 (the French Revolution) and 1918 (end of World War I). Several kinds of contributions are possible, but some examples are the Comtean combination of historical and dogmatic methods, the historical-critical method promoted by Mach and others, the combination of ideas from psychology, physiology and epistemology carried out by Helmholtz, Fechner and others, etc.

We aim to show that these “classic” approaches to the philosophy of science can supply us with alternative views on issues of current philosophical interest (e.g. on scientific realism; explanation; or causation) which are worth to be revitalized and reintroduced into today’s debate. We are specifically inviting contributions that address the relevance of these methodologies for current debates in philosophy of science, as well as possible outlooks for future philosophy of science. From a historical viewpoint, or, better, from the viewpoint of an integrated history and philosophy of science which aims to show “how the historical perspective may aid and augment philosophical reflection” (Arabatzis & Schickore, 2012: 399), it is thus possible to engage profitably with both the way philosophers tried to assess what is “scientific” and the way the scientific method inspired a variety of philosophical methodologies. The question the present issue aims to deal with is in fact a broad one, involving the very relationship between philosophy and science and the possibility of casting new light on the philosophy of science itself. 

Papers should be submitted through the Editoral Manager website of the Journal for General Philosophy of Science (, selecting the article type “S.I. Classic Methodologies”. Questions should be addressed to the Guest Editors of the special issue (María de Paz; Pietro Gori).

The deadline for submissions is April 30th, 2021.