One of the difficulties facing the philosopher of science today is the divide between historical epistemology and analytic philosophy of science. For over half a century these two traditions have followed independent and divergent paths. Historical epistemology, which originated in France in the early twentieth century, has recently been reformulated by a number of scholars such as Lorraine Daston, Ian Hacking, and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger. Elaborating novel historical methods, they seek to provide answers to major questions in the field. In the light of this situation, my article examines the cultural barrier that explains the uneasy relationship between the two traditions. This barrier hinges on a number of factors—institutional, political and social—that are bound up with the philosophical issues in question. By resorting both to historical study and logical analysis, the new historical epistemology incites us to move beyond a rather sterile antagonism.

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