Ludwik Fleck

Last updated

Fleck wrote that the development of truth in scientific research was an unattainable ideal as different researchers were locked into thought collectives (or thought-styles). This means "that a pure and direct observation cannot exist: in the act of perceiving objects the observer, i.e. the epistemological subject, is always influenced by the epoch and the environment to which he belongs, that is by what Fleck calls the thought style". [6] A "truth" was a relative value, expressed in the language or symbolism of the thought collective in which it belonged, and subject to the social and temporal structure of this collective. To state therefore that a specific truth is true or false is impossible. It is true in its own collective, but incomprehensible or unverifiable in most others. He felt that the development of scientific insights was not unidirectional and does not consist of just accumulating new pieces of information, but also in overthrowing the old ones. This overthrowing of old insights is difficult because a collective attains over time a specific way of investigating, bringing with it a blindness to alternative ways of observing and conceptualization. Change was especially possible when members of two thought collectives met and cooperated in observing, formulating hypothesis and ideas. He strongly advocated comparative epistemology. This approach anticipated later developments in social constructionism, and especially the development of critical science and technology studies.

Honors

Bibliography

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Jan Łukasiewicz

Jan Łukasiewicz was a Polish logician and philosopher who is best known for Polish notation and Łukasiewicz logic. He was born in Lemberg, a city in the Galician Kingdom of Austria-Hungary. His work centred on philosophical logic, mathematical logic and history of logic. He thought innovatively about traditional propositional logic, the principle of non-contradiction and the law of excluded middle, offering one of the earliest systems of many-valued logic. Contemporary research on Aristotelian logic also builds on innovative works by Łukasiewicz, which applied methods from modern logic to the formalization of Aristotle's syllogistic.

<i>The Structure of Scientific Revolutions</i> 1962 book by Thomas S. Kuhn

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is a book about the history of science by the philosopher Thomas S. Kuhn. Its publication was a landmark event in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science. Kuhn challenged the then prevailing view of progress in science in which scientific progress was viewed as "development-by-accumulation" of accepted facts and theories. Kuhn argued for an episodic model in which periods of conceptual continuity where there is cumulative progress, which Kuhn referred to as periods of "normal science", were interrupted by periods of revolutionary science. The discovery of "anomalies" during revolutions in science leads to new paradigms. New paradigms then ask new questions of old data, move beyond the mere "puzzle-solving" of the previous paradigm, change the rules of the game and the "map" directing new research.

Constructivism (philosophy of science)

Constructivism is a view in the philosophy of science that maintains that scientific knowledge is constructed by the scientific community, which seeks to measure and construct models of the natural world. According to the constructivist, natural science, therefore, consists of mental constructs that aim to explain sensory experience and measurements.

University of Wrocław Polish university

The University of Wrocław is a public research university located in Wrocław, Poland. It is the largest institution of higher learning in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship with over 100,000 graduates since 1945, including some 1,900 researchers among whom many received the highest awards for their contribution to the development of scientific scholarship. Renowned for its relatively high quality of teaching, it was placed 44th on the QS University Rankings: EECA 2016, and is situated in the same campus as the former University of Breslau, which produced 9 Nobel Prize winners.

Wacław Szybalski Polish physician

Wacław Szybalski was a Polish-American professor of oncology at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical School.

Rudolf Weigl Polish biologist, physician, and inventor (1883–1957)

Rudolf Stefan Jan Weigl was a Polish biologist, physician and inventor, known for creating the first effective vaccine against epidemic typhus. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine each year between 1930 and 1934, and from 1936 to 1939.

The historiography of science is the study of the history and methodology of the sub-discipline of history, known as the history of science, including its disciplinary aspects and practices and to the study of its own historical development.

Tadeusz Kotarbiński

Tadeusz Marian Kotarbiński was a Polish philosopher, logician and ethicist.

Kazimierz Twardowski

Kazimierz Jerzy Skrzypna-Twardowski was a Polish analytic philosopher, logician, and rector of the Lwów University. He was initially affiliated with Alexius Meinong's Graz School of object theory.

The Lwów–Warsaw School was a Polish school of thought founded by Kazimierz Twardowski in 1895 in Lemberg, Austro-Hungary.

University of Lviv

The University of Lviv, presently the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv is the oldest institution of higher learning in present-day Ukraine dating from 1661 when John II Casimir, King of Poland, granted it its first royal charter. Over the centuries, it has undergone various transformations, suspensions, and name changes that have reflected the geo-political complexities of this part of Europe. The present institution can be dated to 1940. It is located in the historic city of Lviv in Lviv Oblast of Western Ukraine.

Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University, — formerly known as the Lviv State Medical Institute, earlier the Faculty of Medicine of the John Casimir University and, before that, Faculty of Medicine of the Francis I University — is one of the oldest and biggest medical universities in Ukraine. LNMU begins from the Medical Faculty of Lviv University, which was opened on November 16, 1784, according to the privilege of the Austrian emperor Josef II. The medical school is named after King Daniel of Galicia, the historical founder of the city in 1256 AD. In 2009 University celebrated its 225 anniversary.

Typhus vaccine Inventor - Rudolf Weigl

Typhus vaccines are vaccines developed to protect against typhus. As of 2020 they are not commercially available.

Juliusz Kleiner

Juliusz Kleiner was a Polish historian and literary theorist.

Louse-feeder

A louse-feeder was a job in interwar and Nazi-occupied Poland, at the Lviv Institute for Study of Typhus and Virology and the associated Institute in Kraków, Poland. Louse-feeders were human sources of blood for lice infected with typhus, which were then used to research possible vaccines against the disease.

Lviv Institute for Typhus and Virus Research

The Institute for Typhus and Virus Research was a scientific research centre founded in the city of Lwów, now known as Lviv. Between 1920 and 1939, it was part of Jan Kazimierz University's Biology Department. Research into a typhus vaccine was started in 1920 by parasitologist Rudolf Weigl. Weigl developed the first widely-used typhus vaccine by using human louse-feeders.

Hélène Sparrow Polish microbiologist and public health pioneer

Hélène Sparrow, was a Polish medical doctor and bacteriologist. She is best known for her work on the control of many epidemics including: Typhoid fever, Cholera, Dysentery, and Smallpox. Throughought the 1920s, Sparrow worked with the Polish Armed Forces at the State Institute of Hygiene in Warsaw. While at the State Institute of Hygiene, she worked vigilantly to produce the first vaccine against Typhus and ran several large-scale vaccination campaigns to control the spread of Diphtheria and Scarlet fever all along the eastern frontiers of Poland. In 1933, Sparrow began to study flea-borne and louse-borne Rickettsia diseases in Tunis, where she became the head of her own department at the Pasteur Institute. In her later years, she expanded her studies to include Mexico and Guatemala. While in Mexico and Guatemala, Sparrow developed a protective vaccine against typhus. She contributed a great amount of research to the World Health Organization on relapsing fever specifically in Ethiopia.

A thought collective, a term originated in German as "Denkkollektiv" by the Polish and Israeli physician Ludwik Fleck, is a community of researchers who interact collectively towards the production or elaboration of knowledge using a shared framework of cultural customs and knowledge acquisition. In his 1935 book Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache; Einführung in die Lehre vom Denkstil und Denkkollektiv, Fleck identified the scientific production of knowledge as primarily a social process that hinges upon prior discoveries and practices in a way that constrains and preconditions new ideas and concepts. He termed this shared collection of preexisting knowledge a "Denkstil" or thought style and formulated a comparative epistemology of science using these two ideas.

Kazimierz Witalis Szarski was a Polish zoologist and professor at the University of Breslau who worked extensively on ornithology and wildlife conservation in Lower Silesia.

Marian Ciepielowski was a Polish physician and scientist. A survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp, he is best known for his activity as a saboteur within the camp's vaccine production unit. Ciepielowski's actions resulted in useful vaccines being distributed to camp inmates, while inactive and useless "vaccines" were sent to Nazi soldiers. After the war he emigrated to the United States.

References

  1. Elena Aronova, Simone Turchetti (eds.), Science Studies during the Cold War and Beyond: Paradigms Defected, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, p. 149: "some of [naukoznawstwo's] contributors (Kazimierz Twardowski, Maria Ossowska, Stanisław Ossowski, Tadeusz Kotarbiński, Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz, Florian Znaniecki, Ludwik Fleck, Stefan Amsterdamski) have gained international recognition."
  2. 1 2 Ludwik Fleck (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  3. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions . Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1970 (2nd ed.), p. vi.
  4. Matthaus, Jürgen (2018). Predicting the Holocaust: Jewish Organizations Report from Geneva on the Emergence of the “Final Solution,” 1939–1942. Rowman & Littlefirled. p. 10.
  5. T. Tansey (2014) Typhus and tyranny, Nature 511(7509), 291.
  6. Siwecka, Sofia (2011). "Genesis and development of the "medical fact". Thought style and scientific evidence in the epistemology of Ludwik Fleck" (PDF). Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences. 4 (2): 37–39.
Ludwik Fleck
Born(1896-07-11)July 11, 1896
DiedJune 5, 1961(1961-06-05) (aged 64)
Nationality Polish and Israeli
Known forContributions to logology [1]
Denkstil ("thought style") [2]
Denkkollektiv (thought collective)
Incommensurability (niewspółmierność) [2]
Academic background