Abstract

The case often made by scientists (and philosophers) against history and the history of science in particular is clear. Insofar as a field of study is historical as opposed to law-based, it is trivial. Insofar as a field attends to the past of science as opposed to current scientific issues, its efforts are derivative and, by diverting attention from acquiring new knowledge, deplorable. This case would be devastating if true, but it has almost everything almost exactly wrong. The study of history and the study of laws are not mutually exclusive, but unavoidably linked. Neither can be pursued without the other. Much the same can be said of the history of science. The history of science is neither a distraction from "real" science nor even merely a help to science. Rather, the history of science is an essential part of each science. Seeing that this is so requires a broader understanding of both history and science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the History of Biology
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

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history
History of the Sciences

Keywords

  • History in science
  • Particular events
  • Uses of the past

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

The role of history in science. / Creath, Richard.

In: Journal of the History of Biology, Vol. 43, No. 2, 05.2010, p. 207-214.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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