Front Page Titles (by Subject) Scientific Paradigms and History - Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3
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Scientific Paradigms and History - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Scientific Paradigms and History
“The Relations between the History and the Philosophy of Science.” The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977: pp. 3–20.
Philosophers of science can learn much from the history of science by discarding the warped image of history as a mere chronicle of isolated facts bereft of scientific explanatory value. History teaches philosophy how to balance its concern for static science and theory structure with a developmental and holistic approach that views theory as a nonempirical paradigm or pattern of laws and assumptions.
Philosophy and history, though distinct, are equally valid as knowledge producing enterprises. Each discipline has a distinct formal object and concentrates on different “essentials.” The philosopher tends to isolate the central generalizations of philosophical positions, independent of space and time, and to criticize them logically; the historian concerns himself with the general only to the extent that it actually guided the real scientist. Galileo, from the viewpoint of the philosopher of science, is a more consistent scientist but a less plausible seventeenth-century historical figure.
An active dialogue between the historians and the philosophers of science can benefit both. From this cross-fertilization, history could sharpen its tools of analysis and learn the structure of idea systems. Philosophy of science (with its concerns about the structure of scientific theories, the status of theoretical entities, and the proper grounds for claims of sound knowledge) would find much relevant information in the history of scientific ideas and techniques.
History need not conform to the natural sciences' “covering law” model (of lawlike generalizations and predictive ability) to earn its prestige as a true science. The explanatory force of history derives not from deterministic laws but from the way it connects the facts of human action into a plausible narrative of convincing human motives.
The history of science, as an autonomous explanatory discipline, can supply data, problems, and interpretations for a rational reconstruction of science and theories. By emphasizing global patterns and relationships, the historian enables the philosopher of science to sift through the different kinds of knowledge claimed for either empirical laws or theories. The historian's experience shows how empirical laws are net additions to knowledge and are not displaced over time. Theories, by contrast, ambitiously cover the entire range of conceivable natural phenomena and are not as empirically limited as are laws. Theories are holistic affairs. Challenge one aspect of them (say Aristotle's notion of the void) and the remaining integrated whole (the physics of space, natural motion, and finite cosmos) stands or falls. Thus new theories do not simply add to earlier theories; they displace them with new paradigms, as Newtonian physics replaced Aristotelian physics in toto.
Accordingly, the historian's viewpoint of theoretical development reveals significant differences between empirical laws and theories, and the way that each develops may be evaluated.