The unfolding of the historical style in modern cosmology: Emergence, evolution, entrenchmentStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics (2017)
This paper traces the emergence, evolution and subsequent entrenchment of the historical style in the shifting scene of modern cosmological inquiry. It argues that the historical style in cosmology was forged in the early decades of the 20th century and continued to evolve in the century that followed. Over time, the scene of cosmological inquiry has gradually become dominated and entirely constituted by historicist explanations. Practices such as forwards and backwards temporal extrapolation (thinking about the past evolutionary history of the universe with different initial conditions and other parameters) are now commonplace. The non-static geometrization of the cosmos in the early 20th century led to inquires thinking about the cosmos in evolutionary terms. Drawing on the historical approach of Gamow (and contrasting this with the ahistorical approach of Bondi), the paper then argues that the historical style became a major force as inquirers began scouring the universe for fossils and other relics as a new form of scientific practice—cosmic palaeontology. By the 1970s the historical style became the bedrock of the discipline and the presupposition of new lines of inquiry. By the end of the 20th century, the historical style was pushed to its very limits as temporal reasoning began to occur beyond a linear historical narrative. With the atemporal ‘ensemble’ type multiverse proposals, a certain type of ahistorical reasoning has been reintroduced to cosmological discourse, which, in a sense, represents a radical de-historicization of the historical style in cosmology. Some are now even attempting to explain the laws of physics in terms of their historicity.
- Historical style,
- Scientific practice
Publication DateFebruary 2, 2017
Citation InformationJacob Pearce. "The unfolding of the historical style in modern cosmology: Emergence, evolution, entrenchment" Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics Iss. Online (2017)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jacob_pearce/55/