Carnap, Kuhn, and the history of science

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Pinto de Oliveira, J.C.
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The purpose of this article is to respond to Thomas Uebel´s criticisms of my comments regarding the current revisionism of Carnap´s work and its relations to Kuhn. I begin by pointing out some misunderstandings in the interpretation of my article. I then discuss some aspects related to Carnap´s view of the history of science. First, I emphasize that it was not due to a supposed affinity between Kuhn´s conceptions and those of logical positivism that Kuhn was invited to write the monograph on the history of science for the Encyclopedia. Three other authors had been invited first, including George Sarton whose conception was entirely different from Kuhn´s. In addition, I try to show that Carnap attributes little importance to history of science. He seldom refers to it and, when he does, he clearly defends (like Sarton) a Whig or an “old” historiography of science, to which Kuhn opposes his “new historiography of science”. It is argued that this raises serious difficulties for those, like Uebel, who hold the view that Carnap includes the historical or the social within the rational.