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  • Cambridge University Press  (10,115)
  • American Meteorological Society  (6,542)
  • 1995-1999  (16,657)
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  • 1
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    American Meteorological Society
    In:  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 78 (12). pp. 2771-2777.
    Publication Date: 2019-03-07
    Description: A review is given of the meaning of the term “El Niño” and how it has changed in time, so there is no universal single definition. This needs to be recognized for scientific uses, and precision can only be achieved if the particular definition is identified in each use to reduce the possibility of misunderstanding. For quantitative purposes, possible definitions are explored that match the El Niños identified historically after 1950, and it is suggested that an El Niño can be said to occur if 5-month running means of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the Niño 3.4 region (5°N–5°S, 120°–170°W) exceed 0.4°C for 6 months or more. With this definition, El Niños occur 31% of the time and La Niñas (with an equivalent definition) occur 23% of the time. The histogram of Niño 3.4 SST anomalies reveals a bimodal character. An advantage of such a definition is that it allows the beginning, end, duration, and magnitude of each event to be quantified. Most El Niños begin in the northern spring or perhaps summer and peak from November to January in sea surface temperatures.
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-03-14
    Description: Arabian Sea sediments record changes in the upwelling system off Arabia, which is driven by the monsoon circulation system over the NW Indian Ocean. In accordance with climate models, and differing from other large upwelling areas of the tropical ocean, a 500,000-yr record of productivity at ODP Site 723 shows consistently stronger upwelling during interglaciations than during glaciations. Sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) reconstructed from the alkenone unsaturation index (U K′ 37) are high (up to 27°C) during interglaciations and low (22-24°C) during glaciations, indicating a glacial-interglacial temperature change of 〉3°C in spite of the dampening effect of enhanced or weakened upwelling. The increased productivity is attributed to stronger monsoon winds during interglacial times relative to glacial times, whereas the difference in SSTs must be unrelated to upwelling and to the summer monsoon intensity. The winter (NE) monsoon was more effective in cooling the Arabian Sea during glaciations then it is now.
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  • 3
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    Cambridge : Cambridge University Press
    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 1-7 
    ISSN: 0269-8897
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  • 4
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 1-4 
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  • 5
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 325-386 
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    Notes: The ArgumentIn this article we throw more light on Einstein's position as a pacifist and democrat during World War I than was possible up to now. This results from a systematical search for and evaluation of published and unpublished documents. Among others, it was possible to give evidence of Einstein's radicalization and to clear up the circumstances of his public appearance during the troublesome days of the Revolution in November 1918. Einstein's role in the Bund Neues Vaterland and other pacifist organizations and his interaction with other pacifists in Germany and abroad is exposed in detail and interpreted. In contrast to the generally accepted view, we give a reappraisal of Einstein's activity and show that his pacifism was always of a humanitarian nature. He only rarely applied social and political categories to the happenings during the war. Due to his main focus on physics Einstein's pacifism remained one more of creed than of deed.
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  • 6
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 387-420 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThis paper explores the confrontation of physical and contextual factors involved in the emergence of the subject of color measurement, which stabilized in essentially its present form during the interwar period. The contentions surrounding the specialty had both a national and a disciplinary dimension. German dominance was curtailed by American and British contributions after World War I. Particularly in America, communities of physicists and psychologists had different commitments to divergent views of nature and human perception. They therefore had to negotiate a compromise between their desire for a quantitative system of description and the perceived complexity and human-centeredness of color judgment. These debates were played out not in the laboratory but rather in institutionalized encounters on standards committees. Such groups constitute a relatively unexplored historiographic and social site of investigation. The heterogeneity of such committees, and their products, highlight the problems of identifying and following such ephemeral historical “actors”.
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  • 7
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 531-539 
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    Notes: This name is given to any collection of similar individuals of the same nature which exist, although we can observe only some of these individuals, and never the entire collection of all at the same time.
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  • 8
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 487-509 
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    Notes: The ArgumentMost lay users of statistics think in terms of means (averages), variances or the square of the standard deviation, and Gaussians or bell-shaped curves. Such conventions are entrenched by statistical practice, by deep mathematical theorems from probability, and by theorizing in the various natural and social sciences. I am not claiming that the particular conventions (here, the statistics) we adopt are arbitrary. Entrenchment can be rational without its being as well categorical (excluding all other alternatives), even if that entrenchment claims also to provide for categoricity. 1 provide a detailed description of how a science is “normal” and conventionalized. A characteristic feature of this entrenchment of conventions by practice, theorems, and theorizing, is its highly technical form, the canonizing work enabled by apparently formal and esoteric mathematical means.
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  • 9
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 421-486 
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    Notes: The ArgumentUsing a pernicious Foucaultian reading of Weber's rationalization theories, I endeavor in this essay to illuminate academic acts as kept in the Brandenburg-Prussian state archive in Berlin, with some comparison to others, chiefly those in the Bavarian state archive in Munich. The essay concerns the microtechniques of marking, collecting and keeping records, and the form and content of archives of academic acts – interesting for the reason that paperwork circumscribes the state ministry's ability to recollect academic acts and hence its power and knowledge over academics. I consider mostly acts relating to the early modern “Arts and Philosophy Faculty,” which corresponds more or less to the present-day “Division of Arts, Letters and Sciences.” The transformation, traced from the Baroque to the Romantic era, is understood as a process of “ministerial-market rationalization” of German academia: I try to show how central German ministries, as reflected in archival acts, altered the academic persona to suit themselves and the market, and how professorial appointments were rationalized accordingly.
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  • 10
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 511-528 
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    Notes: The ArgumentUnlike Aristotelian physics with its Ideological notions, modern physics was developed exclusively in relation to the nonliving domain. This raised the question as to whether mechanics applies to organisms, and if so, to what extent. From the seventeenth century on, mechanistic ideas became prominent in biological and medical theory. Contemporary biology explains essential features of life on the basis of physical laws and processes. This does not prove, however, that the early mechanists were essentially right. In the eighteenth century, following Cartesian notions of mind-body separation and preformation theories of organismic development, they tended to exclude major biological questions rather than answering them. It was those who insisted on the organizational features of organisms, like Stahl and Wolff, who paved the way for solutions to such crucial problems as the psychological basis of human nature and behavior and the generation of form in the course of reproduction. Though they underrated the potentials of a future, extended physics for understanding biology, their case against reductionist exclusion should not be considered outdated even today.
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  • 11
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 1-6 
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  • 12
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 1-4 
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  • 13
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 541-553 
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    Notes: Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829) was a prolific writer, a multifaceted naturalist, and a zoologist by second profession. Throughout his adult life he lived up to his passion of politely contributing to the advancement of natural philosophy by publishing more than 30,000 pages, probably too much for even the most scrupulous (and persevering) historians of science who seek to reconstruct his theories and to shed some light on the role he played in late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century biology.
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  • 14
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 223-223 
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  • 15
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 241-249 
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    Notes: The ArgumentBoth “early chemistry” and “modern concepts” are imprecise. The earliest references to the materials involved in metallurgy, painting, ceramics, and the like, reveal an awareness that one group of materials were called “salts” because of their similarities. I consider this a chemical “concept.” Seeking another example I claim to have found it in the so-called “mineral acids.” The evidence for the existence of this concept is cumulative during the period just before the emergence of “modern chemistry,” of which it may be considered a cause. That evidence is particularly found in the literature of pharmacy and of medicine, both of which belong to the practical arts.
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  • 16
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 225-240 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThe relation between alchemy and early chemistry is still open to debate. How did what is now often dismissed as a pseudo-science contribute to the emerging science of chemistry, a subject that by the late eighteenth century, was often held up as a model for other sciences? Alchemy may have bequeathed to chemistry some processes and apparatus; more fundamental, however, was a transformation in mentality. It was in the seventeenth century that much of this transformation took place.A study that was deeply anthropomorphic, making constant use of allegories and symbolism, and with a language rejoicing in mystery and concealment, gradually became depersonalized, much more objective, and more open. Poetic descriptions, a moral dimension, and a hierarchical view of matter all disappeared. Practical considerations required a concern for greater purity of materials, necessary for the successful replication of experiments. A study of the series of seventeenth-century French textbooks of chemistry from Beguin to Lemery reveals a growing desire for practical results and plain speaking. Robert Boyle was particularly influential in urging the necessity of plain language. The creation of a suitable language to denote and differentiate among different chemical species was a crucial step in the development of early chemistry, thus preparing the way for the systematic names introduced in the following century and the full organization of the science on rational lines.
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  • 17
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 289-311 
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    Notes: The ArgumentEtienn-François Geoffroy' Table des Rapports is generally regarded as a landmark in the evolution of chemistry during the eighteenth century. Issues have arisen among historians concerning the significance and originality of the Table that require fuller attention to the immediate context of chemical research in the Academie des sciences during the two decades that preceded its appearance. The present paper argues that, despite the transition from communal to individual research projects that marked the reorganization of the Academy in 1699, chemists continued to pursue shared problems within a communal ethos. The interactions between Wilhelm Homberg, Etienne-François Geoffroy, and Louis Lemery were particularly prominent. The paper traces one example of this interaction, involving the sulfur principle and its influence on one entry in Geoffroy's Table. Further such studies are needed to elucidate the relation between the concepts of chemical composition and reactions implied in Geoffroy's table and the concepts embodied in the previous work of Geoffroy and his associates in the Academy.
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  • 18
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 251-287 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThe overall portrayal of early modern experimentation as a new method of securing assent within a philosophical discourse sketched in many of the recent studies on the historical origin of experimentation is questioned by the analysis of the experimental practice of chemistry at the Paris Academy. Chemical experimentation at the Paris Academy in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century originated in a different tradition than the philosophical. It continued and developed the material culture of the chemical work shops of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and explored epistemic objects which had rather loose connections to philosophy. On the other hand, I argue against the classical dichotomy between the work of the mind that of the hand, and for an epistemology of experimentation that acknowledges that experimental manipulation goes hand in hand with reflexion. In particuler, I argue against the view that chemists at the Paris Academy were “pragmatists” who merely gathered experimental facts and classified substances and operations without perplexing themselves over general conceptions. I claim that the chemists at the Paris Academy constructed a general conception framework which shaped the significance of their experiments. This conception that I call conception of the chemical combination, compound and reaction was rather quickly reified into an experimental fact. Despite its generality it was a genuine chemical conception rather independent of philosophy.
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  • 19
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 313-320 
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    Notes: In chemistry one observes different relationships [rapports] between different bodies, which act such that they unite easily with one another. These relationships have their degrees and their laws. One observes their different insofar as, among several materials are confounded and that have some disposition to unite together, one perceives that one of these substances always unites constantly with a certain other [substance] preferably to all others.
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  • 20
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 1-5 
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  • 21
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 83-84 
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  • 22
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 1-8 
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  • 23
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 85-91 
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  • 24
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 139-149 
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    Notes: My contribution will focus on a central issue of Yehuda Elkana's anthropology of knowledge — namely, the role of reflectivity in the development of knowledge. Let me therefore start with a quotation from Yehuda's paper “Experiment as a Second-Order Concept.”
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 121-136 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThe paper argues that the distinction between modernism and postmodernism can be applied metaphorically to clarify the changing image of music during the late Middle Ages. The paper discusses the scientific and rational strategies that thirteenth century musical theorists applied to revise earlier musical conceptualization. It highlights the thirteenth-century innovative affiliation of music with Aristotelian physics and argues that in a very subtle and seemingly contradictory way music theorists expressed the nascent awareness, if not tacit acknowledgment, of the mundane nature of music. It argues further that in the fourteenth century the issue of representing musical-rhythmical variability by means of a suitable language shifted to the forefront of musical theory and practice. The unprecedented emphasis on musical signs and their semantic behavior as well as the demand to demystify the discourse about rhythmical concepts — so as to question the necessity of metacategories — all point to an affinity between fourteenth century musical thought and postmodern sensibilities.
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 93-119 
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    Notes: The ArgumentDuring the nineteenth century, physicists and chemists, using different linguistic modes of expression, sought to describe the world for different purposes; thus, both disciplines gradually were nudged toward demarcation and self-image identification. In the course of doing so the rich complexity of the empire of chemistry was born. The essential challenge was closely connected with analysis, synthesis, and chemical process: learning the art of watching substances change and making substances change. Pursued in theory-poor and phenomenology-rich contexts chemistry nevertheless made itself intellectually, professionally, societally, and industrially creditable and attractive. The developing links between physics and chemistry are examined in this paper from the perspective of the discipline of chemistry more specifically than from the side of physics. Chemists came to believe that essentially physics was no more than mechanics. All else belonged to the domain of chemistry.Not before the last decades of the century were firm collaborative links and genuine reciprocity fostered between physics and chemistry, and then primarily on account of the common utility of scientific research tools. At a more fundamental level physics and chemistry, in contradistinction to all the other natural sciences, experienced partial overlap and convergence because of unique mutual reliance on the construction of systems each according to its own theoretical conceptions. Still amalgamation was unthinkable. Eventually physical chemistry was loosened from chemistry in the same way that, somewhat later, chemical physics was emancipated from physics. The intrinsic messiness of chemistry, one might suggest, tends more readily to foster Bohr's opinion that “there is no rock bottom to the study of nature,” rather than Einstein's view that “we can realistically, ultimately, put it all together.”
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 151-162 
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    Notes: Elkana's paper “Two-Tier Thinking” (1978) contains the thesis that became the foundation of all his later work. This thesis is best summarized by the author himself:The thesis of this paper is that this distinction [between realists and relativists] is not a logical necessity but a historical situation in Western scientific culture. It is claimed here that the distinction is spurious: every problem has a realist and a relativist dimension, and the two views can be, and are actually being, held simultaneously. Once a frame of reference has been selected, in it realism prevails. With respect to selection of an appropriate framework the approach has to be relativist since there is no absolute, external-to-all framework which would fit absolute realism. (Elkana 1978, 309)
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 163-175 
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    Notes: In his “A Programmatic Attempt at an Anthropology of Knowledge,” published in 1981, Yehuda Elkana briefly introduced the notions of dramatic and epic theater as metaphors for distinct and opposite conceptions of history. He elaborated more fully on this theme in a paper published in 1982 on the occasion of the Albert Einstein centenary celebration. Elkana there criticized the “myth of simplicity” surrounding Einstein, and proposed to replace a “facile holism” often attributed to Einstein with “two-tier thinking.” According to Elkana, Einstein's historical epistemology was a blend of an epic, contingent view of historical scientific change coupled with strong scientific realism.
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 191-194 
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    Notes: Although Cassirer's four-volume Das Erkenntnisproblem in der Philosophie und Wissenschaft der neueren Zeit has long been highly regarded as an example of historical scholarship — Cassirer was awarded the golden Kuno-Fischer Medal of the University of Heidelberg in July 1914 for the first two volumes (published 1906 and 1907) — its importance for understanding his theoretical position seems to have gone unrecognized. In the English-speaking world it is, unfortunately, only known through the fourth volume, and when this appeared in English in 1950 it met with a negative, even hostile, reception (see Passmore 1968, 315f.).
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 217-218 
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 195-215 
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    Notes: Modern thought would present only an incomplete and fragmentary picture of philosophy to us if we were to regard it as being completely disconnected from the elemental forces and sources of Greek philosophy. The corrective aspect that protects it from any such attempt at unmethodical isolation is, however, given within itself and in its own content. Its own inner progress necessarily leads it back to the principles and questions that distinguished Greek speculation, which it embodied in typical forms. The thought of the modern age proves its specificity in the fact that, notwithstanding the richness of content that it gains, it remains conscious of its relatedness to these basic logical forms and strives to return to them of its own accord. They will thus themselves appear to us of their own accord and incite us to regard their contents, if we just allow ourselves to follow the course of the investigation.
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 177-188 
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    Notes: Among those who know Yehuda's work, the term “two-tier thinking” is usually associated with a problematic relativist position (Elkana 1978). But “two-tier thinking” is not a name for a philosophical argument; it is best understood, I think, as a term designating certain conditions of knowledge: universal, or modern, or perhaps only postmodern conditions, but in any case, they are generalizations derived from anthropological and psychological observations on matters of facts. This is how things actually work in the sphere of knowledge: Western intellectuals and scientists tend to acknowledge that their truth claims and certainly their normative claims are incompatible with other claims that stem from other belief systems, frameworks of thought or genres of discourses, and there is no final, impartial instance of judgment to adjudicate between the incompatible claims and the conflicting systems. Lack of “final,” impartial judgment does not hinder people from taking their truth claims seriously and acting as realists within the world constituted by their particular belief systems — tier 1. But when they come to reflect upon it, as some of them do, sometimes, they acknowledge the context-dependence of this realism and the fact that there is no way to make good on its claim to universality; theirs, they know, is but one particular “belief system,” or “genre of discourse,” among many.
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 1-4 
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 3-3 
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 15-16 
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 5-14 
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    Notes: Philosophy, a discipline without equals, seeks to account for reality, if possible in its entirety. It can be practiced only through the analysis of manifestations as diverse as art, religion, anthropology, politics, etc.
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    Science in context 8 (1995), S. 1-3 
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    Science in context 9 (1996), S. 17-38 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThe secret of invention or the art of inventing has recently become the object of positive or experimental research, aimed at discovering the logic of the initial mental processes that lead to “innovation.” But the problem is old and goes back to antiquity: The art of memory, rhetoric, symbolics. Does the succession of thought in invention follow a rule, such that its variations could be classified? Here I offer but a general direction: There is an analogy between the two relations: invention/innovation and fecundation/maturation – namely, a male and a female principle.The Ancients thought that inventing was a divine art and that man receives the spark to then brood over its fruit in his mind. Today's still dominant materialist tendency insists on the importance of this secondary maturation and minimizes the role of the primordial spark.Thus becomes possible the ranking according to a unique order — but not without hesitations and guilt — of thinkers as far apart as Mandeville, Adam Smith, Hegel, Buffon, Rousseau, and Herder, to find the contemporary trend to which François Dagognet belongs.
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    Notes: The ArgumentIn this contribution, I argue for epistemological impurity as the key to the historical reconstruction of the proto-biological sciences of the eighteenth century.The traditional approaches to the more or less complex and more or less stratified past of science either focus on the ideal content of that which has in the meantime been recognized as standard biological knowledge (transmitted from generation to generation by textbooks) or otherwise try to uncover the implicit cognitive principles at work in order to reveal their shortcomings (as measured against today's accepted criteria = epistemological presentism).A closer look at the breakdown of the classical models of mechanistic explanation and the detailed analysis of the new empirico-experimental research in the neurophysiology of the eighteenth century shows, however, that eclectic procedures of various kinds have dominated the field. This eclecticism (the principle of epistemological impurity) supported, and was in turn supported by, what has recently become known as “thinking with one's hand.” The paper illustrates this specific kind of thinking (and experimental acting) with reference to the case of Nicolas Le Cat's microphysics of nervous activity.
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    Science in context 8 (1995), S. 559-561 
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    Science in context 12 (1999), S. 385-412 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThis paper examines the debate in China over the shape of the earth during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The main arguments are as follows. First, trust plays an important role in knowledge transmission. Second, partial communication between different woridviews is possible. In the case of the debate over the shape of the earth, partial communication was accomplished by the spread of Western astronomical instruments and calculating tools. Third, such alien concepts as the four elements and the experience of navigation did not serve as effective cultural resources to convince Chinese literati of the sphericity of the earth. Fourth, as a result, the legitimacy of the sphericity of the earth had to be reconstructed in an alien environment. The theory of the Chinese origins of Western learning was fabricated within such a context. Fifth, debate over factual knowledge bears social and cultural implications. Thus the debate over the sphericity of the earth involved not only how the phenomenon could be understood but also how the Chinese empire was to be positioned in the new cultural atlas. Finally, the sphericity of the earth eventually became a matter of common sense for the Chinese largely because of the political and cultural transformation of modern China.
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    Science in context 12 (1999), S. 247-260 
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    Science in context 12 (1999), S. 469-484 
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    Notes: The ArgumentDuring the later European Renaissance, some scholars began to write about the history of scientific disciplines. Some of the issues and problems they faced in constructing their narratives have had long-term effects on the history of science. One of these issues was how to relate scholars from the Islamic traditions of scientific scholarship to those of antiquity and of postclassical Europe. Recent historians of science have rejected a once-common Western opinion that the contribution of these Islamic scientists had lain mainly in their preservation of ancient texts that were then handed over to Western scholars, who mastered them and then moved beyond them as part of the scientific revolution. This article examines the first effort to write a history of mathematics, the Lives of the Mathematicians by Bernardino Baldi (1553–1617), to determine how he treated this issue in his work. Baldi's efforts are especially important here because he was also an early European scholar of Arabic.An examination of the work shows that Baldi did not share the negative views held by later Europeans about these non-European scientists. However, despite his knowledge of Arabic he had no active contacts with ongoing mathematical scholarship in Arabic. As a consequence, his narrative does follow the chronology of those later Europeans who would limit consideration of these mathematicians to approximately the ninth to the fourteenth centuries. In Baldi's writings, then, we can see the later narrative shape used by Western historians of science until recent years, but not the subsidiary role accorded to non-European scholars.
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    Science in context 12 (1999), S. 293-316 
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    Notes: The ArgumentWhat kind of objects are computer programs used for simulation purposes in scientific settings? The current investigation treats a special case. It focuses on “event generators,” the program packages that particle physicists construct and use to simulate mechanisms of particle production. The paper is an attempt to bring the multiplex and unfolding character of such knowledge objects to the fore: Multiple meanings and functions are embodied in the object and can be drawn out selectively according to the requirements of a work setting. The object's conceptual complexity governs its application in some contexts, while the object is considered a mere “black box,” transparent and ready-to-hand, in others. These two poles span a full spectrum of object aspects, functions, and conceptions. Event generators are ideas turned into software, testing grounds for models, just a tool to study the performance of a detector, etc. The object's multiplex nature is submitted to negotiation among different actors.
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    Science in context 12 (1999), S. 1-3 
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    Science in context 12 (1999), S. 3-6 
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    Science in context 12 (1999), S. 621-642 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThe last two plates (78 and 79) of Aby Warburg's unpublished picture-atlas Mnemosyne, which is thought today to be among Warburg's most innovative contributions to the study of art history, are here analyzed in detail. These plates were assembled in the summer before his death in 1929; they reflect experiences of the time he spent in Rome during 1928 and 1929 and are here understood as Warburg's attempt to visualize his theory of the symbol.The Bilderatlas was to have a two-fold function: Warburg planned it to be a summary of his life's work; he also wanted its plates to reflect his theory of pictures and images. I argue here that particularly plate 79 is indeed an attempt to visualize the theoretical foundation of Warburg's view of the representational function of pictures. It refers to the origin of the power of images in sacrificial rituals and to the limits of this power. Warburg singles out the Eucharist and the doctrine of transsubstantiation (as pictured in Raffael's Mass of Bolsena, 1511) to illustrate the role of the symbol in rituals.With this emphasis on ritual as a necessary complement for the functioning of the symbol, Warburg reaffirms his theory of the image to include the social act. This inclusion can be shown to be motivated by contemporary political concerns.
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    Science in context 8 (1995), S. 509-529 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThis paper applies the approach developed by the congnitive sciences to a classical field of social anthropology—i.e., the analysis of represetations and behaviors relative to misfortune in “traditional” societies.The initial argument is that the conceptual division and the modes of description and explanation of anthropology suffer from serious weaknesses: these concepts cannot serve to understand empirical phenomena (utterances and/or behavior); they rely on a confused and erroneous conception of the different domains involved and the causalities between them; and they use simplistic hypotheses about the existence and causal status of the entities that usually form the ultima ratio of anthropological reasoning (e.g., lineage organization, ancestors, witchcraft, etc.). These entities would directly “cause” other individual representations or behaviors. This simplification also affects the analysis of states of belief in these entities, to which individuals would supposedly “adhere”.I argue here that the cognitivist approach, within a “methodological individualism” framework, provides a more adequate description of phenomena observed in the field. This enables the various levels and domains to be more finely defined. The analysis of “typical” utterances and inferences in a “tranditional” society, the Senufo of the Ivory Coast, is here used to clarify these anthropological problems. Two levels can be distinguished: (1) a priori representations, which are underdetermined, enabling them to occur within valid inferences; (2) perception and/or action, which obeys different cognitive constraints. The existential status of unobservable entities appearing in causal inferences is not equivalent (“symmetrical”) depending on whether they are determined as antecedent or consequent.This paper suggests a theory of interpretive processes and beliefs having flexible references, because they are incomplete and domain-specific. It allows a comparison with facts observed in Western societies. It is also in contrast to the ordinary conception of religious states of belief — i.e., these states would be purely psychological, states of “adherence,” collective, autonomous, obligatory, part of a systemized set of knowledge; collective notions (of God, church, etc.) would here logically precede individual representations.
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    Science in context 8 (1995), S. 281-292 
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    Science in context 12 (1999), S. 33-59 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThe publication of Johannes Kepler's brilliant and revolutionary Astronomia nova (1609) has hitherto been viewed as somehow inevitable. This paper argues that, on the contrary, the book's very existence and a measure of its unusual form and content are in fact highly contingent, and derive from a legal dispute between Kepler and Tycho's heirs over the right to capitalize on his astronomical legacy. On Tycho's death, Kepler rather accidentally found himself in charge of Tycho's posthumous astronomical publications, especially the highly prestigious Rudol phine Tables. Tycho's legal heirs, not having been paid by the emperor for Tycho's astronomical assets and feigning Kepler's unworthiness as his successor, wrested this mandate back. Ordered in turn to justify his employment, Kepler contrived the Astronomia nova as an interim announcement of the fruits of his astronomical research. In an effort to block Kepler's continuing exploitation of Tycho's observations, the heirs obtained the legal right to censor his publications, which severely threatened his philosophical freedom. The threat of editorial interference was responsible in part for Astronomia nova's unusual narrative form.
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    Science in context 11 (1998), S. 1-4 
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    Science in context 11 (1998), S. 511-525 
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    Notes: The ArgumentIn most historical accounts, eugenic doctrines and Christian beliefs are assumed to be adversaries. Such a perspective is too narrow, however, for while many prominent eugenicists were indeed religious skeptics, others sought to reconcile eugenics with Christianity. Various American Protestant social reformers tried to synthesize new biological theories with older biblical ideas about the meaning of a good inheritance. Such syntheses played an important role in disseminating eugenic doctrines into America's deeply Protestant heartland.
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    Science in context 11 (1998), S. 181-203 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThe purpose of this article is twofold. Firstly, I propose to analyze controversies using a “dialectical” model, in the sense described in Aristotle's Topics. This approach presupposes that we temporarily disregard, for the sake of clarity, the concreteness of real life controversies in order to focus on their argumentative structure. From this point of view, the main advantage of controversies is that they allow the interlocutors to test each other's claims and therefore to arrive at relatively corroborated conclusions. This testing function in a dialectical context is implemented through the assent to commonly accepted premises, and the necessity which characterizes each step of the reasoning.Secondly, I shall apply this dialectical framework to the study of the controversy concerning the motion of the Earth, or rather a small episode of it. I shall examine an exchange of letters, written in 1616 and in 1624 respectively, between Galileo Galilei and Francesco Ingoli, one of his Aristotelian opponents. I shall then compare this exchange with the first day of Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World (1632), a fictional debate, where Galileo discusses some of the same arguments. While the first exemplifies what I call “negative” testing, and yields a refutation of the opponent's theses, the second exemplifies “positive” testing and yields a dialectical demonstration of the motion of the Earth.
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    Science in context 11 (1998), S. 255-290 
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    Notes: The ArgumentLike many controversies in science, the one between Freud and Jung is overloaded with ad hominem arguments despite the incompatibility of such arguments with the pretensions of both sides to attain scientific ad rem validity. Unlike natural scientists, Freud and Jung regarded their own ad hominem arguments as relevant to general and impersonal truths. They practically legitimized such a use claiming to have a clinical basis for the rejection of the opponent's objections by a de-validating analysis of the opponent's personality as a whole. The argument of this paper is that the de-validating strategy was neither an inevitable psychological outcome of the intricate interpersonal relationships in analytic situations nor the logical consequence of any clinical or scientific psycho-analytical discovery. It followed from the epistemological invalid pretension to have a general theory of mind which could explain by mental analysis the existence of “unreasonable opinions,” and the application of the same principles to the opinion that the theory itself is unreasonable. Such a pretension, apparently specific to mystical traditions in theology and metaphysics, was deeply rooted in the modern epistemological tradition. The paper examines the impact of the different branches of that tradition on Freud and Jung's respective ideologies, theories, and practice, including the ad hominem malpractice.
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    Science in context 11 (1998), S. 1-4 
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    Notes: The Argument Between 1550 and 1650, the intellectual elite of Ashkenazic (German-and Yiddish-speaking) Jews, including rabbis such as Yom Tov Lipmann Heller (1578–1654), showed a marked interest in astronomy, and to a lesser degree in the natural sciences generally. This is one aspect of the assimilation of medieval Jewish rationalism by that group. Passages from Heller‘s writings show his familiarity with medieval and early modern Hebrew astronomical texts, and his belief that astronomy should be studied by all Jewish schoolboys. Heller‘s astronomical views were then influenced by the discoveries and debates of his period. Between 1614 and the 1630‘s, Heller moved from an Aristotelian to a Tychonic view of the nature of the celestial bodies. Inspired, furthermore, by the notion of a natural order subject to change, and basing himself on the exegesis of ancient rabbinic texts, Heller offered what we have termed” midrashic natural histories”: namely, a hypothesis concerning the development of a certain type of animal, and another concerning the dimming of the moon and its movement into a lower orbit.
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    Science in context 10 (1997), S. 677-691 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThe article studies a small Hebrew book called “The Wars of God” composed by an Anglo-Jewish jeweler who lived in London at the end of the eighteenth century. The book is interesting in further documenting the Jewish response to Newtonianism, that amalgam of scientific, political, and religious ideas that pervaded the culture of England and the Continent throughout the century. Hart, while presenting Newton in a favorable light, departs from other Jewish Newtonians in voicing certain reservations about Newton's alleged religious orthodoxy, specifically his fear that the force of gravitation might be explained independent of God's divine providence. The key to understanding Hart's unique stance is his reliance on two eighteenth-century Christian theologians: William Whiston and Robert Greene, particularly the latter. In staking out this position, Hart also endorsed the theological position of his more well known Jewish colleague David Levi, the publisher of his Hebrew text. Both men reveal together the capacity of Jewish thinkers to absorb the dominant trends of thinking by the majority culture while defending honestly and defiantly the integrity of their religious faith and community.
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    Science in context 10 (1997), S. 453-470 
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    Notes: The ArgumentIt was commonly accepted in the middle ages that void within or outside the world is impossible. The paper presents a quite unusual conception of void, which is described in Yeda'aya ha-Penini's commentary on Ibn Rushd's epitome on Aristotle's Physics. According to this conception there is a thin layer of void between the water and the inner surface of the container. Ha-Penini describes two versions of this conception. According to one version this void layer is three-dimensional but thin, according to the other it is two-dimensional. The first part of the paper shows how ha-Penini “corrects” the text of Ibn Rushd, putting into it ideas which were unknown to Ibn Rushd. It is argued that, though the two views are rejected by Ibn Rushd, ha-Penini himself partly accepts (his version of) these views. The second part of the paper argues that ha-Penini could not have found these views in the Arabic-Hebrew tradition, and it seems that he relied on Christian sources. If this is indeed so, the paper presents an example of acquaintance of Hebrew scholars in southern France with Scholastic science in the first half of the fourteenth century.
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    Science in context 10 (1997), S. 471-493 
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    Notes: The ArgumentLevi ben Gerson, also known as Gersonides or Leo de Balneolis, was one of the most original Jewish thinkers of the Middle Ages, and he wrote on logic, philosophy, biblical exegesis, mathematics, and astronomy. During the last years of his life he maintained relations with the papal court of Clement VI (1342–52) at Avignon, and collaborated in the translation into Latin of his Sefer Tekhuna (Book of Astronomy). The object of this paper is to establish the main stages of the redaction of the Hebrew and Latin extant versions of his astronomical work. Although Levi declares that the work was finished in 1328,1 argue that this text was the preliminary draft of the preserved one, most of which was composed after 1338. A thorough revision of the work was undertaken at an indeterminate date before 1344. It is also argued that the final form of the work was probably due to the request of solar and lunar tables made to Levi by “great and noble Christians” around 1332.
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    Science in context 10 (1997), S. 495-522 
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    Notes: The ArgumentYehuda Halevi's Kuzari was written in response to the challenge posed to Judaism by a highly spiritual, nondenominational philosophy. Science, especially that embodied in the Hellenistic heritage, was a major component of philosophy; thus, if for no other reason than to make Judaism a serious competitor, Halevi had to show that the Jewish tradition as well possessed a body of scientific knowledge. The superiority of the Jewish teachings was demonstrated chiefly by appeal to the criteria of tradition, consensus, and authority, which, in Halevi's judgement, were in practice the criteria most influential in deciding scientific opinion. Despite the rather unique setting for the book, and the wide range of stances Halevi develops, the Kuzari was rather quickly and smoothly absorbed into the mainstream of Jewish religious thought.
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    Science in context 10 (1997), S. 529-570 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThis paper focuses on several Italian Jewish philosophers in the second half of the sixteenth century and the first third of the seventeenth century. It argues that their writings share a certain theology of nature. Because of it, the interest of Jews in the study of nature was not a proto-scientific but a hermeneutical activity based on the essential correspondence between God, Torah, and Israel. While the theology of nature analyzed in the paper did not prevent Jews from being informed about and selectively endorsing the first phase of the scientific revolution, it did render the Jews marginal to it. So long as Jewish thinkers adhered to this theology of nature, Jews could not adopt the scientific mentality that presupposed a qualitative distinction between the Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture.
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    Science in context 10 (1997), S. 651-675 
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    Notes: The ArgumentJacob (Henrique) de Castro Sarmento was a descendent of New Christians in Portugal who made his way to London in the early eighteenth century. There he professed Judaism openly, but he also advanced his scientific and medical pursuits, becoming particularly enamored of the Newtonian world view. This paper argues that Sarmento's attachment to Judaism was essentially a function of his personal relationship with Hakham David Nieto, and that Sarmento's Judaism was never really the full synthesis of scientific outlook and Jewish theology toward which Nieto pushed him. Rather, after Nieto's death Sarmento identified himself with scientific Newtonianism increasingly openly, while his religious identitly waned. Apparently he found science a more useful outlook in approaching the world, as did many Newtonians of that generation.
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    Science in context 10 (1997), S. 627-649 
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    Notes: The ArgumentDavid Gans (1541–1613), a German Jew who was educated in Poland and spent his adulthood in Prague, produced over his lifetime a large and unprecedented corpus of Hebrew introductions to various liberal disciplines, chiefly astronomy. Gans believed that the disciplines he described might help to mediate between Christians and Jews, by serving as a shared subject of study. He considered these subjects to be uniquely apt for shared study because they took them to be theologically neutral.Gans's hopes went unfulfilled, and most of his books remained unpublished and ignored. Still, his own firm belief in the plausibility of his project implies that it was not a foregone conclusion near the start of the seventeenth century that astronomy and other liberal disciplines would find no purchase among Central European Jews. It also suggests that the mutual alienation between intellectuals of different confessions that has been emphasized by some historians might have been less pronounced than is often imagined. Further, Gans's belief that these disciplines could encourage interdenominational discourse and respect, and his intimation that such beliefs were shared by Kepler and Brahé, suggest the intriguing possibility that natural philosophy was valued by at least some of its early modern practitioners as an irenic undertaking.
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    Science in context 10 (1997), S. 391-392 
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    Science in context 10 (1997), S. 431-451 
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    Notes: The ArgumentThe major part of the mathematical “classics” in Hebrew were translated from Arabic between the second third of the thirteenth century and the first third of the fourteenth century, within the northern littoral of the western Mediterranean. This movement occurred after the original works by Abraham bar Hiyya and Abraham ibn Ezra became available to a wide readership. The translations were intended for a restricted audience — the scholarly readership involved in and dealing with the theoretical sciences. In some cases the translators themselves were professional scientists (e.g., Jacob ben Makhir); in other cases they were, so to speak, professional translators, dealing as well with philosophy, medicine, and other works in Arabic.In aketshing this portrait of the beginning of Herbrew scholarly mathematics, my aim has been to contribute to a better understanding of mathematical activity as such among Jewish communities during this period.
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    Science in context 10 (1997), S. 227-251 
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    Notes: The ArgumentTo highlight speculative trends specific to the mathematical tradition that developed in China, the paper analyzes an excerpt of a third-century commentary on a mathematical classic, which arguably contains a proof. The paper shows that the following three tasks cannot be dissociated one from the other: (1) to discuss how the ancient text should be read; (2) to describe the practice of mathematical proof to which this text bears witness; (3) to bring to light connections between philosophy and mathematics that it demonstrates were established in China. To this end the paper defines its use of the word “proof” and outlines a program for an international history of mathematical proof. It describes the sense in which the text conveys a proof and shows how it simultaneously fulfills algorithmic ends, bringing to light a formal pattern that appears to be fundamental both for mathematics and for other domains of reality. The interest in transformations that mathematical writings demonstrate in China at that time seems to have been influenced by philosophical developments based on The Book of Changes (Yi-jing), which the excerpt quotes. This quotation within a mathematical context makes it possible to suggest an interpretation for a rather difficult philosophical statement.
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    Science in context 11 (1998), S. 493-510 
    ISSN: 0269-8897
    Source: Cambridge Journals Digital Archives
    Topics: History , Natural Sciences in General
    Notes: The ArgumentA survey of 2901 genetics professionals in 36 nations suggests that eugenic thought underlies their perceptions of the goals of genetics and that directiveness in counseling after prenatal diagnosis leads to individual decisions based on pessimistically biaed information, especially in developing nations of Asia and Eastern Europe. The “non-directive counseling” found in English-speaking nations is an aberration from the rest of the world. Most geneticists, except in China, rejected government involvement in premarital testing or sterilization, but most also held a pessimistic view of persons with genetic disabilities. Individual, but not state-coerced, eugenics survives in much modern genetic practice.
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    Science in context 11 (1998), S. 575-585 
    ISSN: 0269-8897
    Source: Cambridge Journals Digital Archives
    Topics: History , Natural Sciences in General
    Notes: The ArgumentTo describe the attitude of the Jewish tradition toward eugenic ideology and policies, it is necessary to examine classical sources from a contemporary perspective. In the heyday of eugenics, Rabbi Max Reichler (1916) enthusiastically endorsed its ideology, supporting his position with numerous traditional texts. Similar views of traditional teachings on “chosen people” and on the importance of lineage have a certain contemporary following as well. The paper argues, however, that these views involve a one-sided reading of the Jewish tradition and, particularly, the suppression of traditional critiques of lineage and of the notion of a “Jewish race.”
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    Science in context 11 (1998), S. 1-4 
    ISSN: 0269-8897
    Source: Cambridge Journals Digital Archives
    Topics: History , Natural Sciences in General
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    Science in context 11 (1998), S. 619-637 
    ISSN: 0269-8897
    Source: Cambridge Journals Digital Archives
    Topics: History , Natural Sciences in General
    Notes: The ArgumentRecognizing that social Darwinism is an intrinsically varied and composite concept, this essay advocates an approach delineating the various intellectual constituents and sociopolitical contexts. It is argued that German social Darwinism has often had a sophisticated biological content, and that the prevalent notion of the state as a biological organism has drawn on non-Darwinian biological theories. Different social interests and programs, institutional structures, and professional interests have also to be taken into account. Alternative interpretations stressing Nazi vulgarizations of biology have serious historical flaws. The paper considers the position of the historian Richard J. Evans, who has rejected interpretations of social Darwinism as scientific and medical discourse. While Evans stresses social Darwinism as public rhetoric, I suggest that social-Darwinist ideas have provided rationales for welfare policies and have had institutional, professional, and ideological implications. What occurred in crucial sectors of the emergent German “welfare state” was a shift from the legally trained administrators to specialists in such areas as public health and social work, who frequently looked to biology to legitimate policy.
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    Science in context 11 (1998), S. 161-179 
    ISSN: 0269-8897
    Source: Cambridge Journals Digital Archives
    Topics: History , Natural Sciences in General
    Notes: The ArgumentConflicts between scientists over credit for their discoveries are conflicts, not merely in, but of science because discovery is not a historical event, but a retrospective social judgment. There is no objective moment of discovery; rather, discovery is established by means of a hermeneutics, a way of reading scientific articles. The priority conflict between Roger Guillemin and Andrew Schally over the discovery of the brain hormone, TRF, serves as an example. The work of Robert Merton, Thomas Kuhn, Augustine Brannigan, and Grygory Markus shows that scientists read scientific articles by means of the application of a set of pragmatic rules that subtend the normative requirements of what counts as a scientific discovery. In other words, there is a hermeneutics of science, but it is internal to that form of life. Recategorization of priority conflicts has an impact on our view of scientific controversy generally. The impact is the revision of the boundary lines of scientific controversy and the further specification of its fine-structure.
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