On Revolution in Epistemology

by V. Kurayev

In effect, a "dialectization" of science is taking place, resulting in an expansion of the historical and cultural context that regards cognition as a reflection of being and a socially determined historical process. In recent years, Western philosophy has also begun to accept the principle of combining the epistemological and socio‑cultural approaches for the construction of dynamical historical models of scientific knowledge. Up to the mid‑1960s this field was dominated by neopositivism with its basic anti‑historism and narrow empiricism, but these positions proved inadequate for elaborating an effective integrated programme in keeping with the needs and spirit of modern science. Hence, post‑positivist theories such as "critical rationalism" (K. Popper, H. Albert) and the "historical trend" in philosophy of science (T. Kuhn, S. Toulmin, P. Feyerabend) aimed to formulate a logical‑methodological model of scientific knowledge that would more closely approximate the laws of scientific development. But this can hardly be regarded as a kind of "Copernican" revolution.

The principles of constructing dynamic models of scientific knowledge have been long and fruitfully employed in the Marxist methodology of science. One of the fundamental results of Lenin's analysis of the revolution in natural science was the conclusion that progress in science is subject to dialectical laws.

The growth of scientific knowledge is accompanied, not only by an expansion of the cognitive content of theories but also by an enrichment of the logical means of cognition, changes in scientific norms and standards—or thought paradigms, to use a modern methodological term. The revolutionary transformation of the scientific picture of the world called for a radical change in the very mentality of scientists, a transition from the metaphysical to a higher and more consistent form of materialism: dialectical materialism!

V. Kurayev, Materialist Dialectics and the Growth of Knowledge. Social Sciences (1) 1980 (abridged excerpt)

Kurayev, V. "On Revolution in Epistemology," Science and Nature, no. 3 (1980), p. 74. [Not in table of contents; appended to Nabi, see link below]

An Evolutionary Interpretation of the English Sonnet by Isadore Nabi

Science and Nature, Table of Contents, issues #1-10 (1978-1989)

Salvaging Soviet Philosophy (1)

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