Social Milieu and Evolution of Logic, Epistemology, and the History of Science: The Case of Marxism

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The impact of social factors upon the philosophical investigations in a broad sense is quite evident. Nevertheless their impact upon epistemology as a branch of philosophy, logic, and history of science as fields of research with noticeable philosophical content is not evident enough. We are keen to claim that this impact exists within some limits, although it is not so overtly evident. Moreover in the case of Marxism it is of a paradoxical nature. Marxism always puts the accent on the role of social and economic factors in the development, development of science included. To a large extent due to Marxism, externalism emerged; the key idea of externalism may be expressed through the statement that social and economic reasons are the main sources of development of science. B.M. Hessen declared and did his best in 1931 to justify this statement through the example of the emergence of classical mechanics. Meanwhile the social milieu of Marxist countries placed a taboo on the externalist approach towards epistemology, the interpretation of logic, and history of science. All these fields of knowledge were evolved in the Marxist era in the USSR and Eastern Europe – despite the spirit of Marxism – within strict internalist boarders. We offer the explanation of this contradiction.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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