The philosophy of historical case studies

Cover: The Philosophy of Historical Case StudiesThe Philosophy of Historical Case Studies is now available as a volume of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science. I co-edited the book with Tilman Sauer.

The title is bit of grammatical play: one can read the genitive “of” in two different ways. On the one hand, our interest is in the philosophy involved in studying historical cases — how to minimize bias in choosing cases, how to draw robust conclusions from them, how to adjudicate between different interpretations of the same case, and so on. On the other hand, however, we are also talking about the philosophy that emerges from historical case studies: many worthwhile questions in the philosophy of science are best answered (and perhaps only answerable) by looking closely and carefully at the past and present of actual science.

So the volume is part manifesto, part user’s manual, and part affirmation of a research program – we hope that many different kinds of readers will get something out of it.

The table of contents is available on the Springer website. A preprint of my own contribution (with Tim Räz) is available on the PhilSci archive.