History and philosophy of science

The history and philosophy of science (HPS) is an academic discipline that encompasses the philosophy of science and the history of science. Although many scholars in the field are trained primarily as either historians or as philosophers, there are degree-granting departments of HPS at several prominent universities (see below).

A unified discipline

The organization &HPS (Integrated History and Philosophy of Science) has set forth a program for a unified discipline: "Good history and philosophy of science is not just history of science into which some philosophy of science may enter, or philosophy of science into which some history of science may enter. It is work that is both historical and philosophical at the same time. The founding insight of the modern discipline of HPS is that history and philosophy have a special affinity and one can effectively advance both simultaneously".[1]

One origin of the unified discipline is the historical approach to the discipline of the philosophy of science. This hybrid approach is reflected in the career of Thomas Kuhn. His first permanent appointment, at the University of California, Berkeley,[2] was to a position advertised by the philosophy department, but he also taught courses from the history department. When he was promoted to full professor in the history department only, Kuhn was offended at the philosophers' rejection because "I sure as hell wanted to be there, and it was my philosophy students who were working with me, not on philosophy but on history, were nevertheless my more important students".[3] This attitude is also reflected in his historicist approach, as outlined in Kuhn's seminal Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962, 2nd ed. 1970), wherein philosophical questions about scientific theories and, especially, theory change are understood in historical terms, employing concepts such as paradigm shift.

However, Kuhn was also critical of attempts fully to unify the methods of history and philosophy of science: "Subversion is not, I think, too strong a term for the likely result of an attempt to make the two fields into one. They differ in a number of their central constitutive characteristics, of which the most general and apparent is their goals. The final product of most historical research is a narrative, a story, about particulars of the past. [...] The philosopher, on the other hand, aims principally at explicit generalizations and at those with universal scope. He is no teller of stories, true or false. His goal is to discover and state what is true at all times and places rather than to impart understanding of what occurred at a particular time and place."[4] More recent work questions whether these methodological and conceptual divisions are in fact barriers to a unified discipline.[5]

"History of science without philosophy of science is blind ... philosophy of science without history of science is empty"

Norwood Russell Hanson [6]

HPS university departments, interdisciplinary programs, and divisions





Czech Republic


University of Aarhus (History of Science)





Budapest University of Technology and Economics



Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran http://www.srbiau.ac.ir/










United Kingdom

United States

See also


  1. "About &HPS," http://www3.nd.edu/~andhps/about.html
  2. "A Discussion with Thomas S. Kuhn" in The Road Since Structure, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000, p. 302.
  3. "A Discussion with Thomas S. Kuhn," p. 302.
  4. "The Relations Between the History and the Philosophy of Science," pp. 3–20 in The Essential Tension, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.
  5. Lydia Patton, Philosophy, Science, and History, pp. 27–33, New York: Routledge 2014, http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415898317/.
  6. A recasting of Kant's quotation: "Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind." Norwood Russell Hanson, "The Irrelevance of History of Science to Philosophy of Science", The Journal of Philosophy, 59 (1962): 574–586, at p. 580.

Abnormal Psychology Perspectives Abnormal behavior psychology is the deviation of the acceptable patterns of emotions, behavior and thought in the society. The definition of the abnormal behavior depends on the accepted norms of the society and the deviation from these norms forms the abnormal behavior. The impact of the psychological behavior affects leads to the causes of disorders in the society such as anorexia. The eating disorder can be managed by the use of psychological behavior perspective such as the humanistic and cognitive perspectives. The major determinants of the abnormal behavior are determined by the culture of the society and the mental retardation. The statistical and moral consideration of actions determine the normal and abnormal behavior in the society. The need for perspectives in understanding the normal and abnormal behavior depends on the personal reference to the maladaptive and adaptive behaviors in the society. The maladaptive perspective is problem suggesting behaviors that allow human to deal with the challenges and problems presented to them for the environmental management of stress such as in the consideration of anorexia eating disorder psychological management. The application of the clinical psychology helps in understanding the influence of different perspectives that aid in treatment of anorexia in the society (Nevid, et al., 77). The adaptive behavior, on the other hand, represents the transformation of a non-constructive behavior into a constructive and idea positive for the social consideration. The understanding of the abnormal psychology that influence the eating disorder requires both perspectives to deduce between the positive and negative action drivers of the behavior. The varying cultural values and determination of the normal behavior make the process of determining the abnormal behavior in the society complex. Additionally, the requirement of the consideration of perspective is rarely considered in the clinical management of the abnormal psychological behavior that may resort to the long-term mental treatment for the patients. Clinical psychology application in the treatment of anorexia closely considers the evaluation of all factors in the environment for the treatment of the mental conditions related to the abnormal behavior. The impaired functioning of the mental capabilities leads to the clinical disorder of psychopathology and effect leading to the abnormal behavior in the society. Personality disorders and mental retardation are additional effects that lead to the abnormal behavior and are examined by the clinical officials from different perspectives. Among the common factors that may lead to the abnormal behavior include the social environment and culture differences that are not considered health risks but changes in the demographic locations. However, the mental disorders can be caused by the education problems, family matters, economic status and psychosocial problems that may lead to undesired behavior in the society hence the attention of the clinical checkup for treatment. Different perspectives in the environment determine the consideration of the normal and the abnormal deeds in the society. The determination of the normal behavior relies on the accepted culture and traditions in the society leading to routine operations and behavior. The perspectives are directly related to the behavior due to the general consideration of the people in the society. The major consideration perspectives in the determination of the accepted norms in the society allow the acceptance by the society and the rejection cases that may lead to stigmatization. The public understanding of the normal behavior depends on the typical encounters of a common culture and traditions leading to accepted behavior. The negative impact of the negative public reference to a certain behavior results in the social problems such as stigmatization. The consideration of the humanistic perspective in the society allows the evaluation of the maladaptive behavior effects that improve the personal acceptance in the case of effects of stigmatization and personal responsibilities. A cognitive perspective, on the other hand, considers the behavior of an individual about the accepted norms hence leading to the management of the social values (Nevid, et al., 98). The two perspectives are critical in the determination of the normal healthy activities such as eating in the society following the acceptance of the cultural and mental health considerations in the psychology. In conclusion, the determination of the most important perspectives in treatment of anorexia are dependent on the personal and social relation in which case the humanistic and the cognitive perspectives rule. The connection between the cultural values of the society requires the cognitive awareness of the accepted eating and exercising behaviors that are generated through thorough productive thinking. The humanistic perspective ensures the self-awareness and the personal consideration of the right and wrong deed in society hence the root of the normal and abnormal definition in the society. The humanistic perspective help manages the changes in the society and acceptance of the changes in culture.

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