n Koers : Bulletin for Christian Scholarship = Koers : Bulletin vir Christelike Wetenskap - The shift to the subject in 20th century philosophy of science : a liberating move? : original research

Volume 79, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0023-270X
  • E-ISSN: 2304-8557



During the 20th century, the 'subject' of knowledge (i.e. the individual scientist or a scientific community) was attributed an increasingly relevant role in (the philosophy of) science. Anchoring scientific knowledge to the subject (rather than to the object, as in early positivism) was proposed as a 'liberating' move, leading to a less authoritarian and rationalistic view of science. This article provides a reformational point of view on the topic. A historical documentation of the shift to the subject is provided by visiting the philosophies of Popper, Kuhn, Collins and others. It is argued that the promise of a more libertarian or emancipating conception of science was challenged by several problems. In particular, the conflict between an individual and a communal understanding of the subject is highlighted. Furthermore, it is argued that the roots of the phenomenon in most cases remain hidden. An interpretation of the shift and the sketch of an alternative approach conclude the article.

Gedurende die 20ste eeu is toenemende relevansie in die (filosofie van die) wetenskap toegestaan aan die 'subjek' van kennis (i.e. die individuele wetenskaplike of 'n wetenskaplike gemeenskap). Die verankering van wetenskaplike kennis tot die subjek (eerder as tot die objek, soos in vroeë positivisme) is as 'n 'bevrydende' verskuiwing voorgestel wat aanleiding gee tot 'n minder outoritêre en rasionalistiese siening van die wetenskap. Die verskuiwing na die subjek word histories gemotiveer deur die filosofieë van Popper, Kuhn, Collins en ander te besoek. Dit word geargumenteer dat die belofte van 'n meer liberalistiese of emansiperende opvatting van die wetenskap deur verskeie probleme gekonfronteer is. Veral die konflik tussen 'n individuele en 'n kommunale verstaan van die subjek word beklemtoon. Boonop word dit geargumenteer dat die wortels van die verskynsel in die meeste gevalle versteek bly. Die artikel word afgesluit met 'n interpretasie van die verskuiwing en die buitelyne van 'n alternatiewe benadering.

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