A Phenomenon and a Multiplicity of Concepts
Scientific knowledge was once perceived to be universal and hence unified.
The practice of science was similarly regarded as unitary (at least ideally),
which is another way of stating a second thesis, that of the univocality of the
scientific method. Yet, even a superficial observation of different groups of
scientists at work shows diversity among local and collectively shared ways
of doing science. De cades of work in science studies have produced incon-
trovertible evidence establishing the need to acknowledge this diversity and
to explore its significance. The question is, how?
Many efforts have been made to respond to this need, with Thomas S.
Kuhn’s (1962, 1970) concept of paradigm perhaps the best known. A key
feature of the concept of paradigm is that it allows us to distinguish among
approaches to what might appear to be the same range of prob lems by dif-
fer ent groups of prac titioners, often working in radically disparate time pe-
riods. Ludwik Fleck had developed kindred arguments in his publications
karine chemla and evelyn fox keller
Introduction
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