The Historical Epistemology of Scientific Styles

9th International Workshop on Historical Epistemology

27-28 June – Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia

↓ ABSTRACTS available below ↓

JUNE 27, 2024 (Sala Morelli) 

9:00 Welcome

9:15 Guillermo Cimbora Acosta, Universidad de Sevilla

Denkstil, self-vindication, and the dialectic of experimental practices.

10:00 Stefano Pilotto, Sapienza Università di Roma

Thinking by tools. Observations on a “technical style” in history of science

11:15 Luca Sciortino, Ecampus University

Styles of reasoning and the demarcation problem 

12:00 Sofia Abelha, Universität Wien

What is new about anti-exceptionalism about logic?

15:00 Eleonora Montuschi, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia

Styles of scientific practice: the case of citizen science

15:45 Luis F. Bartolo Alegre, LMU München

Is logic a style of reasoning?

17:00 Ben Toth, CFCUL Lisbon

The summer of theory. Crombie and Foucault, styles and fields

 

JUNE 28, 2024 (Aula Baratto)

9:30 Antoine Auvé, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Style and personality in Dilthey’s epistemology: from the method of the historian to the historiography of the emergence of modern science

10:15 Paolo Babbiotti, Università di Torino

Two stylistics methods for “the problem of style” in philosophy. Compression and lingering (in Bernard Williams and Stanley Cavell) 

11:30 Aurore Franco-Ricord, IHPST Paris

Scientific styles and cultures struggles: the case of endosymbiotic theory

12:15 Caroline Angleraux, INSERM Tours

Styles and desuetude: the case study of Haeckel’s monera

15:00 Julia Reed, Bar-Ilan University

Scientific styles of making and re-making sex

15:45 Matteo Pasquinelli, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia

Three styles of AI: induction, vectorialisation, and modelling 

17:00 Johannes Endres, University of California Riverside

Style and epistemology: basic strictures, and open questions

 

This workshop is organized by:

Épistémologie Historique. Research Network on the History and the Methods of Historical Epistemology

With the support of: 

Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Dipartimento di Filosofia e Beni Culturali;

IHPST (UMR 8590, Paris 1/CNRS);

Université de Bourgogne, LIR3S (UMR 7366 CNRS-uB)

IMGWF, Universität zu Lübeck


Organizing committee:

Caroline Angleraux (iBrain U1253, INSERM de Tours)
Lucie Fabry (Université de Bourgogne, LIR3S)
Iván Moya-Diez (IMGWF, Universität zu Lübeck)

Perceval Pillon (IHPST)

Matteo Vagelli (Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia)

Further information: epistemologiehistorique@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABSTRACTS

JUNE 27, 2024 (Sala Morelli) 

9:00 Welcome

9:15 Guillermo Cimbora Acosta, Universidad de Sevilla

Denkstil, self-vindication, and the dialectic of experimental practices.

In the last works of Ian Hacking, the name Ludwik Fleck began to appear with some frequency. In ‘Styles for Historians and Philosophers’, Hacking refers to Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact as the most famous instance of the idea of thought style before Crombie’s work. The fact that Hacking and Fleck coincide in their use of the notion of thought style is not coincidental, as both share the project of characterizing the objectivity attributed to scientific knowledge abandoning the theory of truth by correspondence and taking material interaction with the world as fundamental. However, besides affirming that the scope he gives to the notion of style is considerably broader than Fleck’s, we do not find many more connections between the thinking of both authors in Hacking’s published works. The aim of our presentation is to establish such connections, by interpreting Fleck from the perspective of the philosophy of scientific practices. To do so, firstly, we will show how the notion of thought style in Fleck’s work has variable scope, allowing him to speak both of the thought style of modern science or theology and of the thought style of the much more particular collective of serologists. Secondly, we will point out that in Hacking’s thought we also find two types of units of analysis with very different scopes: styles of scientific thinking, based on the self-authentication thesis, and laboratory sciences, based on the self-vindication thesis. Thirdly, we will propose to connect the proposals of both authors following the idea of Hacking’s laboratory sciences, rather than that of styles of scientific thinking. The justification for this change in the terms of the comparison is that, beyond merely pointing out the phenomenon of incommensurability, that Hacking labeled as dissociation between distant thought styles (e.g., Theology vs. Physics), Fleck’s philosophical work is dedicated to analyzing the practice of experimental sciences. In this context, Fleck proposes his triadic notion of cognition, characterized as a dialectic between active and passive elements of knowledge —adopted later by Andrew Pickering for his philosophy of scientific practices. This dialectic will allow us, finally, to establish a direct and an indirect comparison between the philosophies of Fleck and Hacking. The direct comparison will be made between Fleck’s triadic notion of cognition and Hacking’s thesis of laboratory sciences’ self-vindication, while the indirect comparison will be established between this same thesis and the pragmatic realism advocated by Pickering, which is grounded on Fleck’s dialectic between active and passive elements of knowledge.

 

10:00 Stefano Pilotto, Sapienza Università di Roma

Thinking by tools. Observations on a “technical style” in history of science

The great historian of science Alexandre Koyré, in his article dedicated to philosophers and machines, articulates the relationship between knowledge (épisteme) and technique (téchne) by admitting the historical precedence of the latter, and “since these rules [that guide technique] do not fall from the sky,” he states that “we are forced to admit an independent origin of technique, and therefore the existence of technical thought”. What Koyré postulates is the existence of a practical thought, which is essentially different from theoretical thought.
This contribution aims to critically analyse Koyré’s thesis, by considering technique as an original practice and not an application of the scientific practice or necessarily correlated to it. Therefore, in order to understand if what Koyré calls “technical thinking” can be considered an autonomous style, we will show the difference between his position and the notion of laboratory style theorised by Ian Hacking, so as to distinguish between the instrumental endowment of experimental research and its non-formalised material conditions of possibility.
In this analysis we will compare Koyré’s position to those of French historical epistemology, in particular to Canguilhem’s theses on the relationship between science and technique. Lastly, we will focus on the peculiarities of this possible style, which directs the thought by offering a modality of instrumental understanding (B. Irrgang), which can also provide heuristic analogies useful for scientific knowledge.

11:15 Luca Sciortino, Ecampus University

Styles of reasoning and the demarcation problem 

The problem of how to develop a coherent distinction between science and non-science has been extensively discussed since the beginning of the twentieth century. However, most of the proposed solutions were attempts to identify necessary and sufficient conditions that failed to take into account the complexity of scientific enterprise and that did not contemplate the existence of different degrees of scientificity. In the 1990s, Ian Hacking was one of the philosophers who observed that there might be no set of necessary and sufficient conditions for being a science and no set of features possessed by all the sciences. Nevertheless, he maintained that it is possible to distinguish between humanistic and scientific styles of reasoning — only the latter have developed what he called techniques of self-authentication.
Since Hacking did not develop these ideas further, he left many problems unsolved. For example, it is still open to question whether the authentication techniques are really peculiar only to the scientific thought; it is unclear which features are not possessed by all the sciences; and it is uncertain whether some styles of reasoning can be considered ‘more scientific’ than others rather than ‘scientific’ or ‘non-scientific’ tout court. Yet, discussing the boundaries between science and non-science, by focusing on styles of reasoning as a unity of analysis, seems a perspective worth exploring. This is the task I shall undertake in this talk.
To start with, it will be crucial to characterize the concept of ‘styles of reasoning’: which ways of thinking can be counted as ‘styles of reasoning’ in the sense of Hacking? I shall frame this issue within the ‘theory of prototypes’, a view of categorization that rests on Wittgenstein’s idea of “family resemblances”. According to this view, concepts are not categories defined by the common properties of its members but categories represented by best examples (prototypes). I shall summarise the fundamental theses of Hacking’s styles project and identify a set of properties of the statistical style of reasoning. Then, I shall show that there is no clear boundary to the category of styles of reasoning and that degrees of category membership for a given way of thinking are determined by its degree of similarity to a ‘prototype’ (e.g. the statistical style of reasoning). I shall also illustrate this result by showing the ‘diagram of the category of styles of reasoning’ in which different members belong to different concentric circles. The algorithmic, the postulational, the statistical, the taxonomic, the historico-genetic and the laboratory styles of reasoning will occupy the innermost circle of the ‘best examples’ or prototypes.
Furthermore, I shall argue that the effectiveness of the techniques of self-authentication and the degree of progressiveness (delivering new predictions, ‘objects’, classifications etc.) increase moving from the periphery towards the innermost circle. Finally, I shall argue that the more scientific a style is the more it is attracted towards the center of the diagram, i.e. the more properties it shares with the prototypes, the central core of scientific thought. Ultimately, there is no set of necessary and sufficient conditions for being a scientific style. Styles of reasoning differ in ‘scientificity’ as a function of the number of properties of the prototypes they possess. While a style may be less scientific than a prototype, it may not be more or less scientific than another style.

 

12:00 Sofia Abelha, Universität Wien

What is new about anti-exceptionalism about logic?

Interest in how logic intersects with science in terms of its methodology, epistemology, metaphysics, and even its values has attracted considerable attention in recent philosophy of logic literature, often discussed under the label of anti-exceptionalism about logic (hereafter AEL). The opposing traditional perspective to it is initially associated with Kant’s characterization of synthetic a priori knowledge, but also interestingly widespread in common sense through the idea that logic is the cornerstone of objectivity and certainty. From this perspective, logic is taken as a foundational discipline rooted in necessary and analytic truths, relying on a priori evidence, such as rational intuition, and possessing a distinct methodology from other scientific disciplines. AEL emerges as an attempt to overcome the shortcomings of this view in explaining the plurality and revisability of logics and, importantly, in rejecting the analytic/synthetic distinction, following Quine (1980). Hence, the new concerns include how to rationally justify a choice between different logical theories or even the adoption of logical laws, how to explain logical knowledge as fallible and revisable and how to determine which is the relevant kind of data responsible for informing and regulating these theories.

A plausible way to characterize the general picture, as done by Martin & Hjortland (2022), is by identifying two main approaches to AEL: as continuity with the empirical sciences or as tradition rejection. Albeit they quickly dismiss the first alternative, it aims at exploring the similarities between logic and science in order to gain understanding over logical knowledge, for instance by comparing logics to scientific models via a logic-as-modelling view. The second approach is more comprehensive in that it is a negative thesis which consists in denying at least one of the traditional properties attributed to logic, including but not limited to generality, formality, foundationalism, apriority, analyticity, necessity and normativity. In either case the conventional position of logic as a privileged field in terms of its epistemology, methodology, and metaphysics is challenged.

But the pursuit and development of a scientifically oriented philosophy is far from new, dating at least back to the late 19th century and being distinctively promoted by the logical empiricism of the Vienna Circle in the early and mid-20th century. Despite emerging from different social, political, economic, and cultural backgrounds, these movements share similar motivations and aspirations, which is made clear by anti-exceptionalists when tracing the origins of the discussion back to Quine’s (1953) empirical holism. The influence I want to recover from that period is of Pragmatism, so that a new approach to the exceptionality of logic can be put forward without incurring into the same problematic anti-metaphysical, non-cognitivist and semantic reductionist aspects of logical empiricism. I shall point out the lessons we should take from this aged discussion and propose a deflationist approach where the notion of ’truth’ and ’correctness’, that often appear to characterize theory choice and to justify logical principles, can be cashed out without implying logical realism nor monism. The main features I want to preserve are of a revisable, fallible and non-foundational perspective on logic.

 

15:00 Eleonora Montuschi, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia

Styles of scientific practice: the case of citizen science

The concept of style is useful both to describe how science ‘gets done’ and more generally to understand science as a scientific practice. In the light of this, in this talk I will question whether and how a particular way of ‘doing science’ – i.e. citizen science – can qualify itself as a style of research, and whether there is any added (epistemological or other) value to describe it this way.

15:45 Luis F. Bartolo Alegre, LMU München

Is logic a style of reasoning?

From the beginning of the styles of reasoning project, Hacking excluded logic from it. He contends that ‘styles of reasoning create the possibility for truth and falsehood’, whereas logic ‘merely preserve[s] it’ [7, p. 57]. For him, logic doesn’t generate new possibilities for establishing truth, which is what proper styles of thinking do, but rather facilitates the transition from one set of truths to another. Thirty years later, Hacking further argued ‘logic is topic-neutral in a way that styles of thinking & doing are not’, and that it can be applied universally in conversations and that arguing is a universal practice [10, p. 601-2]. Styles of thinking, instead, are more context-specific, particularly prevalent in scientific discourse but not uniformly present across cultures or historical periods.
In this talk, I’ll contend that, within Hacking’s framework, logic could indeed be classified as a style of reasoning. There are at least three reasons to argue this.
First, although ‘people everywhere make inductions, draw inferences to best explanation, make deductions’ [9, p. 12], there was no systematic treatment of arguments before Aristotle’s theory of syllogism [1]. This theory proposed a way of thinking in which we could systematically relate statements in terms of mutual exclusion, exhaustivity, necessary and sufficient conditions, etc. Moreover, there’s a debate on whether standard logic really captures the way of reasoning in other cultures or even in informal settings [cf. 6,11,12,13,18].
Second, Aristotle’s laws of syllogism were not final in the development of this discipline. Not only we had further developments of logic beyond the theory of syllogism – which at best could be compared with modern one-place predicate logic. Aristotle’s rules don’t completely agree with those of modern standard logic [cf. 3,5,17,19,21]. The crystallisation of logic in standard or classical logic meant expanding and even discarding some of Aristotle’s original theses. On the one hand, he didn’t subscribe to the principle of explosion: A,¬AB (Analytica Priora II, 63b32–39), which is featured in any standard introduction to logic. On the other hand, one of his theses is excluded from standard logic, i.e., Aristotle’s thesis: ¬(A→¬A) (Analytica Priora II, 57b3–10). Even today, logic keeps evolving and there are competing theories on what the laws of logic are: so-called non-standard or non-classical logic systems. We have, for instance, paraconsistent logics (in which the principle of explosion isn’t valid in general) and connexive logics (in which Aristotle’s thesis is valid in general).
Finally, it’s nowadays contentious to assert that logic is topic-neutral. For some authors, the existence of non-classical logics suggests that some logic systems are applicable only to specific topics [e.g. 2]. Moreover, it also seems that logic isn’t necessarily used in all (scientific) contexts. For instance, it’s difficult to argue that logic is used in the context of discovery, as sometimes serendipity or creative thinking proceeds without any need of logic. We use logic later to make sure that our conjectures are coherent. Furthermore, we know that there’s inconsistent data and theories in science [cf. 14,15], which means that the laws of explosion or non-contradiction aren’t fully satisfied by science. Some authors have argued from this that the logic used in science is paraconsistent [e.g. 4]. Others, however, have argued that not all principles of logic are used in every scientific context [20].
This seems compatible with stating that logic, as a systematic discipline, created ‘a new kind of object’ [8, p. 148]: systematic theories of the world, all of whose statements are deductively connected. It might be suggested that the logical style put these kinds of theories in the realm of the bivalent, in Hacking’s terms. We must note here that this systematic understanding of scientific theories isn’t general neither of scientific practice nor of our philosophical conceptions of scientific theories. Even within the Vienna Circle, the argument was made that, even if logic is a general and universal theory, not all scientific theories need to be systematic [16].


References
[1] Aristotle. Organon. Testo greco a fronte. Ed. by Maurizio Migliori. Trans. by Lucia Palpacelli. Milano: Bompiani, 2016.
[2] Otávio Bueno and Scott A. Shalkowski. “Modalism and Logical Pluralism”. In: Mind 118.470 (Apr. 2009), pp. 295–321. doi: 10.1093/mind/fzp033.
[3] Newton Carneiro Affonso da Costa and Otávio Bueno. “Paraconsistència: Esboço de uma interpretação”. In: Newton Carneiro Affonso da Costa, Jean-Yves Béziau and Otávio Bueno. Elementos da Teoria Paraconsistente de Conjuntos. Campinas: CLE, 1998, pp. 113–50.
[4] Newton Carneiro Affonso da Costa and Steven French. “Inconsistency in Science. A Partial Perspective”. In: Inconsistency in Science. Ed. by Joke Meheus. Origins: Studies in the Sources of Scientific Creativity 2. Dordrecht: Springer, 2002, pp. 105–18. doi: 10. 1007/978-94-017-0085-6_6.
[5] Evandro Luís Gomes and Itala M. L. D’Ottaviano. “Aristotle’s Theory of Deduction and Paraconsistency”. forthcoming.
[6] Iván Guzmán de Rojas. Logical and Linguistic Problems of Social Communication with the Aymara People. Manuscript Reports 66e. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre, 1985. url: http://hdl. handle.net/10625/7993.
[7] Ian Hacking. “Language, truth and reason”. In: Rationality and Relativism. Ed. by Martin Hollis and Steven Lukes. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1982, pp. 48–66.
[8] Ian Hacking. “Statistical language, statistical truth, and statistical reason: The self-authentification of a style of scientific reasoning”. In: The Social Dimensions of Science. Ed. by Ernan McMullin. Studies in science and the humanities form the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values III. Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992, pp. 130–157.
[9] Ian Hacking. “‘Style’ for historians and philosophers”. In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Part A 23.1 (1992), pp. 1–20. doi: 10.1016/0039-3681(92)90024-Z.
[10] Ian Hacking. “‘Language, truth and reason’ 30 years later”. In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Part A 43.4 (2012). Special Issue: Styles of Thinking, pp. 599–609. doi: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2012.07.002.
[11] James F. Hamill. Ethno-logic. The Anthropology of Human Reasoning. Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1990.
[12] Lucien Lévy-Bruhl. La mentalité primitive. The Herbert Spencer Lecture delivered at Oxford, 29 May 1931. Oxford: Clarendon, 1931.
[13] Lucien Lévy-Bruhl. Les fonctions mentales dans les sociétés inférieures. Paris: PUF, 1951.
[14] María del Rosario Martínez-Ordaz and Luis Estrada-González, eds. Humana.Mente. Journal of Philosophical Studies 10.32 (Aug. 2017): Beyond Toleration? Inconsistency and Pluralism in the Empirical Sciences. url: http://humanamente.eu/index.php/HM/issue/view/ 22.
[15] Joke Meheus, ed. Inconsistency in Science. Origins: Studies in the Sources of Scientific Creativity 2. Dordrecht: Springer, 2002. isbn: 9789401700856. doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-0085-6.
[16] Otto Neurath. “Pseudorationalismus der Falsifikation”. In: Erkenntnis 5.1 (1st Dec. 1935), pp. 353–65. doi: 10.1007/BF00172326.
[17] Graham Priest. “Paraconsistency and dialetheism”. In: The Many Valued and Nonmonotonic Turn in Logic. Ed. by Dov M. Gabbay and John Woods. Vol. 8. Handbook of the History of Logic. North-Holland, 2007, pp. 129–204. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1874-5857(07)80006-9.
[18] Graham Priest. “The Logic of the Catuskoti”. In: Comparative Philosophy 1.2 (2010), pp. 24–51. doi: 10.31979/2151-6014(2010).010206.
[19] Graham Priest and Richard Routley. “Introduction: Paraconsistent logics”. In: Studia Logica 43 (1–2 Mar. 1984): Paraconsistent Logics. Publication dedicated to Ayda I. Arruda. Ed. by Graham Priest and Richard Routley, pp. 3–16. doi: 10.1007/BF00935736.
[20] Peter Vickers. Understanding Inconsistent Science. Dordrecht: Oxford University Press, 2013.
[21] Heinrich Wansing. “Connexive Logic”. In: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2023). Ed. by Edward N. Zalta. url: https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2023/entries/logicconnexive.

 

17:00 Ben Toth, CFCUL Lisbon

The summer of theory. Crombie and Foucault, styles and fields


In this proposed paper I describe the limitations of style as an explanatory category in science studies. I outline an alternative, Foucault’s archaeological method and argue that it covers the same ground as AC Crombie’s intellectual commitments, but in a more systematic way.

The six categories of scientific method set out in Crombie’s Styles of Scientific Thinking were not novel, but the claim that they represented persistent styles of thought offered a new, historically informed, philosophy of science (Crombie 1994). Crombie’s advocacy of style rested on what he called three intellectual commitments – three capacities of style to facilitate intellectual enquiry over the long run. The first was its capacity to interface between man and nature; the second was its capacity to guide enquiry and warrant findings; and the third was the capacity to provide a psychological and social disposition to stabilise a field of enquiry.
Crombie’s work was endorsed by Ian Hacking in his “styles project”. In an age of what Hacking saw as narrowly focussed studies he praised the ambition of Crombie’s programme. Stylistics Hacking wrote “covers the waterfront and provides a directory …in a readily recognisable and fairly satisfactory way” (Hacking 2012)
As this quotation suggests, Hacking’s endorsement was partial. Modifying Crombie, Hacking christened his approach styles of reasoning rather than Crombie’s styles of thinking, and focussed on the capacity of styles to produce objective knowledge. In doing so Hacking presented style as the central element of a Foucaultian episteme – “for Hacking” wrote Sciortino, “of all the elements that characterise an episteme, eg. assumptions, unspoken truths, institutions, knowledges, social activities, the material traces left behind by a particular epoch, what really counts in order to understand the emergence of new true-or-false statements is what he calls the ‘style of reasoning’. (Sciortino 2024:155)
As (Kusch 2010) describes, Hacking’s work on styles developed and moved on from Crombie. But the validity of the central concept – style – remained somewhat unexamined.
The connotations of the word style – something both humanly fashioned and open to change – give it an appealing diffuse resonance for science studies. The claim I will make in this paper is that style – whether a style of thinking or a style of reasoning – is not a sufficiently original category to underpin the intellectual commitments in the projects of Crombie or Hacking, or more generally of historical epistemology or science studies.
Starting with Foucault’s refusal, in Archaeology of Knowledge (Foucault 1969) to accept style as a category of analysis, I will examine the limitations of style as a category of intellectual enquiry. I will argue that:

1 The Archaeology has been relatively overlooked because the concept of episteme in Order of Things (Foucault 1966) is more amenable to the sort of periodisation seen in historical epistemology, and because Foucault’s later work is more intuitively appealing.
2 The methodology set out in Archaeology remains relevant to science studies, as (Kusch 1991) argued.
3 The method it proposes addresses the intellectual commitments Crombie sought from his styles project, but that a discursive field is a more appealing starting point for historical epistemology and science studies than a style of either thinking or reasoning.


References
Crombie, A. C. (1994). Styles of scientific thinking in the European tradition (3 vols.). Duckworth.
Foucault, M. (1966) Les mots et les choses. Gallimard. Trans. The order of things. Tavistock 1970.
Foucault, M. (1969) L’archéologie du savoir. Gallimard. Trans. The archaeology of knowledge.Tavistock 1972.
Hacking, I. (1994). Styles of scientific thinking or reasoning: a new analytical tool for historians and philosophers of the sciences. In: Gavroglu, K. et al (eds) Trends in the historiography of science. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol 151. Springer, Dordrecht.
Hacking, I. (2012) ‘Language, Truth and Reason’ 30 years later. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A,Volume 43: 599-609.
Kusch, M. (1991) Foucault’s strata and fields. Springer (Synthese Library).
Kusch, M. (2010) Hacking’s historical epistemology: a critique of styles of reasoning. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 41: 158–173.
Sciortino, L. (2024) History of rationalities. Ways of thinking from Vico to Hacking and beyond. Palgrave Macmillan.


JUNE 28, 2024 (Aula Baratto)

9:30 Antoine Auvé, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Style and personality in Dilthey’s epistemology: from the method of the historian to the historiography of the emergence of modern science

The figure and thought of Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911) seem relevant for an investigation of the notion of “scientific style(s)” in the perspective of historical epistemology. Recent Dilthey-scholarship has notably been linking his “Geisteswissenschaften” epistemology to the contemporary current of historical epistemology (Hamid 2016, Campe 2023, though the depiction of Dilthey as a forerunner of Foucault had already been suggested, e.g. Kremer-Marietti 1970), to the point of reviving a “Dilthey-project” (Hartung 2023). We can find in Dilthey an investigation of the specific difference between scientific styles understood as specific methodological approaches, the most general distinction being between sciences of nature and sciences of history. Arguably, “explanation” and “understanding” correspond to different scientific styles and even characters, or put in other words, different approaches amount to different epistemic profiles of the individual researchers/scientists.
Yet, Dilthey’s work could seem at first to be undermined by such a reference to these two correlated concepts of “style” and “personality”. Indeed, Dilthey is heir to the German historicist tradition (Beiser 2011) and to the idea of personal intuition and richness of inner experience as exclusively being the main characteristics of the procedures of the historian, as can be found J. G. Droysen (Droysen 1977) and as is also championed in H. von Helmholtz’ ascription of “artistic induction” to the Geisteswissenschaften (Helmholtz 2017). And indeed many of Dilthey’s works that could be seen as an anticipation of historical epistemology take the form of monographs, of detailed era-picturing or of biographies. More generally, the way Dilthey held the style of a Carlyle to be complementary to the “pure fact”-motto of a historian like L. v. Ranke (Dilthey 1927) seems to bespeak for the concept of “style” as being indigenous to the domain of history, thus coining an only regional association of cognitive, hermeneutical-critical and aesthetic processes (Makkreel 1968).
We would nevertheless wish to unfold the deeper connection between these two aspects, namely the general distinction of respective epistemic styles i.e. methods of natural and historical sciences on the one hand and the specific historiographical style of monographs and biographies that displays Dilthey’s contribution to the history of sciences during the Renaissance and the Classical Age (Dilthey 1914) on the other hand. The historiographical style then serves as a device to depict the crucial epistemic status of personality and style of both naturalists and humanists at the beginning of the Modern Age. Dilthey extends the “style/personality of scientist” framework to encompass the broader concern of the emergence of modern science as a whole. The condition of emergence of modern (now including the natural) sciences, would precisely be the new figure of the scientist and humanist as a highly idiosyncratic and stylized individual, thus establishing a close connection between biographical portraits of scientists/humanists and studying an épistémè as conditioning the institution of new scientific objects and domains (the main one being, precisely, that of “nature” and “humanities”). The category of “style” would thus also be highly relevant to challenge to problem of the “incarnation” of the epistemic hegemony of natural sciences in the new figure of the natural scientist (Dilthey 1982).
 


References.
Beiser, F.C., 2011,  The German historicist tradition, Oxford University Press.
Campe, R., 2023, “Humanities nach den Geisteswissenschaften”, Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, 97:23–32.
Dilthey, W., 1891-1904 [1914], Weltanschauung und Analyse des Menschen seit Renaissance und Reformation, Gesammelte Schriften Bd. 2, hrsg. von Misch, G., Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht in Göttingen.
id., 1910 [1927], Der Aufbau der geschichtlichen Welt in den Geisteswissenschaften, Gesammelte Schriften Bd. 7, hrsg. von Groethuysen, B..
id., ca. 1870-1895 [1982], Grundlegung der Wissenschaften vom Menschen, der Gesellschaft und der Geschichte. Ausarbeitungen und Entwürfe zum Zweiten Band der Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften (ca. 1870 – 1895), Gesammelte Schriften Bd. 19, hrsg. von Johach, H., und Rodi, F..
Droysen, J.G., 1857 [1977], Historik, Historisch-kritische Ausgabe, Bd. 1, hrsg. Von Blanke, H.W., und Leygh, P., Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad-Cannstatt.
Hamid, N., 2016, “Dilthey on the unity of science”, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 25:4, 635-656.
Hartung, G., 2023, “Philosophiegeschichtsschreibung und die Idee der Geistesgeschichte – das Dilthey-Projekt”, Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, 97, 95–104.
von Helmhotlz, H., 1862 [2017], “Ueber das Verhältnis der Naturwissenschaften zur Gesammtheit der Wissenschaft. Akademische Festrede gehalten zu Heidelberg beim Antritt des Prorectorates”, Philosophische und populärwissenschaftliche Schriften, Bd. 1, hrsg. von Heidelberger, M., Helmut, P., und Schiemann, G., Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, 181-207.
Kremer-Marietti, A., 1970,  “La méthodologie de Dilthey”, Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger, PUF, °160, 423-444.
Makkreel, R.A., 1968, “Toward a Concept of Style: An Interpretation of Wilhelm Dilthey’s Psycho-Historical Account of the Imagination”, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 27:2, 171-182.

 

10:15 Paolo Babbiotti, Università di Torino

Two stylistics methods for “the problem of style” in philosophy. Compression and lingering (in Bernard Williams and Stanley Cavell) 

In my presentation I will focus on what I call Cavell and Williams’s “stylistic methods”, namely “lingering” and “compression”. I have dealt in more detail with various aspects related to compression in Williams and the art of lingering in Cavell, respectively, in “Compression. Nietzsche, Williams, and the Problem of Style” (European Journal of Philosophy, 2021) and “Lingering. Wittgenstein, Cavell, and the Problem of Style” (Philosophy and Literature, 2023). When I speak of stylistic method, I mean the systematic use of a writing style to achieve philosophical purposes. In particular, the philosophical purpose that I will investigate in Cavell and Williams is maximal: to show that style matters in philosophy. This is why, emphatically, I will speak of “the problem of style” (and not just one problem among others). The stylistic methods found and cultivated by Cavell and Williams in their writing constitute an argument in favour of stylistic awareness — against those who believe that “in philosophy one has to get it right first, and then add the style afterwards”. This dictum, common to certain analytical philosophers, was efficiently criticised by Bernard Williams when he wrote that: “One should not approach philosophical writing in the spirit of the analytic philosopher who (in actual fact) said to another when they were trying to write a book together, ‘Let’s get it right first and you can put the style in afterwards’”. On this metaphilosophical point both Stanley Cavell and Bernard Williams agree. However, their stylistic methods, while sharing a common intent, turned out to be very different, even opposite, in their realisation: Williams preferred to cultivate concise, pungent and allusive (i.e. compressed) writing; whereas Cavell preferred to cultivate digressive, reflective and intimate (i.e. lingering) writing.

11:30 Aurore Franco-Ricord, IHPST Paris

Scientific styles and cultures struggles: the case of endosymbiotic theory

In 1967, Margulis published the article that was to transform the field of evolutionary science: On the origin of mitosing cells. Presenting the phenomenon of endoymbiosis as an explanation for the appearance of eukaryotic cells, the article received a mixed reception, being rejected by ten or so journals the year before its publication and discussed over the following two decades, and its impact was assessed as being less than hoped (Sagan 2016). For Margulis, the assertion of a constitutive relationality of cellular identity is confronted with the casual rejection of biologists, their reluctance to the idea that the study of communities should provide more theoretical and ontological advances on evolution than that of isolated organisms. However, a historical epistemology reveals a balance of power between different scientific styles, from which derives a hierarchy of evidence structuring the field of evolutionary science: a dominant style – the genetic style presenting evidence of probability based on calculation – and marginal styles, including Margulis’ style – the cytological style presenting plausible evidence based on observation and cytology. This difference in styles, which is both rich – in the form of scientific pluralism – and difficult – in the form of controversies between scientists in the evolutionary sciences – seems to shape and condition a certain number of ontological presuppositions, which explain a certain form of scientific resistance to endosymbiotic theory: opposing the probable to the plausible, the ordinary to the extraordinary, the irreducible to the relational, or the determined to the contingent. I propose to draw up a historical epistemology of the concept of endosymbiosis at several points in its history, from 1967 to the present day. At the time of its publication, based on the balance of power between different scientific styles and cultures, the epistemological inadequacy of cytological observations as sufficient and therefore valid evidence reflects the construction of a field dominated by the genetic sciences, inherited from the modern synthesis. This will lead us to reflect on the broader ontological conceptions that arise from this and make the dynamics of the evolutionary sciences conflicting, in particular through the more traditional conception of the history of evolution informed by a genealogical conception (Angelini, 2023). Finally, we will examine the more contemporary opposition of two models derived from eukaryogenesis: exogenous and endogenous, within which a reaffirmation of this ‘conflict of styles’ is emerging on the one hand, opposing cell biology and biochemistry, and presenting the constitutive relationality for the former and a relativisation of this relationality for the latter (O’Malley, 2010).

12:15 Caroline Angleraux, INSERM Tours

Styles and desuetude: the case study of Haeckel’s monera

 

15:00 Julia Reed, Bar-Ilan University

Scientific styles of making and re-making sex

After the publication of Thomas Laqueur’s Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990), historians of medicine and gender critiqued his argument that the “two-sex body” of sex difference in Western science and medicine emerged at the end of the eighteenth century (circa 1800) to replace the older “one-sex body.” Before the beginning of the nineteenth century, according to Laqueur, “there was only one sex to pick from” in Western medicine; every human body was more or less male due to complexional heat. Katharine Park’s recent expanded critique of Laqueur in Isis gives new urgency and inspiration to the historical study of human sex difference and determination. According to Park, the “one-sex body” was a relatively specific and short-lived scientific object in medicine that developed in late medieval and early modern Latin surgical texts and then migrated out of learned medicine into European vernaculars in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

This paper, “Scientific Styles of Making and Re-Making Sex,” investigates the uses and limitations of the notion of scientific styles for historicizing human sex difference and determination, focusing on the scholarly debates concerning the “one-sex body” and the “two-sex body.” First, I ask how understanding the history of the “one-sex body” and the “two-sex body” in late medieval and early modern medicine might be framed as the overlap and interaction of specific styles discussed by Crombie and Hacking—the experimental, hypothetical modeling, and the taxonomic. Drawing on Park’s argument that the “one-sex body” emerged in interpretations of the Latin translation of Galen’s On the Use of Parts in late medieval Latin surgical writing, I argue that the scientific objects pertaining to sex difference and reproductive biology—including male and female seeds, intersex or hermaphroditic anatomies, and “male” or “female” complexional heat—can be effectively understood to belong to different medical theories (the Hippocratic and the Aristotelian) as well as to combinations of scientific styles in anatomy and medicine. Secondly, I argue that the one-sex body was developed as a scientific object in surgical texts that combined the styles of experiment and hypothetical modeling for specific professional ends, namely, to define spatial and visual relationships that were practically relevant for surgeons to teach the proper identification, manipulation, and repair of different body parts. Following critics of Laqueur, I argue that the two-sex body was not a late-eighteenth century invention: rather, it was an effect of combined scientific styles in anatomy and medicine that allowed new (and competing) forms of evidence, scientific objects (such as the true hermaphrodite of an intermediate sex between male and female), and true or false sentences about sex difference, determination (by medical and legal experts), and the relationships between anatomy, gender presentation, and social roles. Finally, I suggest some possibilities and limitations for using scientific styles to understand the social history of sex difference across scientific and non-scientific domains—medical, legal, religious, and social—with some concluding remarks about contemporary debates about sex and gender.

15:45 Matteo Pasquinelli, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia

Three styles of AI: induction, vectorialisation, and modelling 

 

17:00 Johannes Endres, University of California Riverside

Style and epistemology: basic strictures, and open questions

The modern concept of style goes back to Johann Joachim Winkelmann’s History of Ancient Art from 1764 in which it serves as a comparative category that allows art works to be discussed in juxtaposition with each other despite their different historical and cultural backgrounds, subjects, authorship, and material properties. As Winckelmann understands it, style makes the assessment of such differences possible in the first place. Because if no comparison would be reasonably feasible, all differences, whichever they were, would remain insignificant: “Without style, art historians have nothing to talk about, no problem to solve” (Whitney Davis). Style is thus not something art historians also do; instead, it is what they do. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that Heinrich Wölfflin, as late as in 1915, could conceive of style as the principle of art history.
Obviously, the same is not true when it comes to the role of style in the history and philosophy of science, where it became relevant only when the kind of art history that Winckelmann and Wölfflin envisioned had already come to an end. To Ludwik Fleck, when adopting the art-historical concept, Wölfflin was not even a footnote, while he is just a footnote to Karl Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge which references Panofsky and his iconographical method throughout. That, I argue, is not a coincidence. It rather seems that the central relevance of style to the methodology of art history needed to be forgotten for it to acquire a new usefulness in a context mostly ignorant of the former. Yet such ignorance did not serve the concept’s new career well, and it has not been helpful to clarifying commonalities and differences of its use in art history as compared to the contexts of its later applications either.
First of all, in art history style does not carry any considerable epistemological weight. Neither Winckelmann nor Wölfflin refer to it in that sense. To them, it is a historical category of form, which crystallizes in the aesthetic appearances of a work. As a “Sehform” (optical scheme) in Wölfflin’s words, style functions much like Kant’s forms of intuition, which are not epistemologically expressive, at least no more than the human eye is, if epistemology is to remain a meaningful concept. That is not to say that art history did not link its subject to the notion of a “Weltanschauung” (world view) at all. On the contrary, examples of a world-view art history are abundant, especially in the aftermath of Wölfflin’s Principles and his famous claim that “each new form of crystallization [in artistic perception] brings a new aspect of world content to light”. However, such attempts stand in an older tradition, one not shared by either Wölfflin or Winckelmann, that of Hegel’s “Geisteswissenschaft” and his philosophy of history. It is a tradition that is also underlying Alois Riegl’s suggestion that style relates to the “world view of a period,” or Fleck’s concept of a “Denkstil” (style of reasoning), or Foucault’s foray into a history of knowledge formations. In all these cases, a collective style of sorts is believed to predetermine the cultural expressions of a time, place, or people. In art history, such attempts of grounding style in an epistemological framework let to highly problematic assumptions regarding the national or racial character of style supposedly regulating the artistic practices of those who perform them. While Wölfflin might not be innocent of such expansions, his theory of a “double root of style” as well as Winckelmann’s use of style as a classificatory tool point in an entirely different direction.
For all these reasons it seems timely and necessary to take a step back and call to mind basic strictures of style in art history as they might help inform its extensions into other fields as well as its possible use as an epistemological concept. My paper therefore proposes to delineate seven principles that distinguish style from concepts such as form, paradigm, or episteme, and to formulate a couple of open questions with which recent interdisciplinary discussions of style have left us at this point.

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