Guidelines:Historical Figure

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This is where the introduction will go. We would suggest writing this last, as it will be concise condensation of the main points associated with your chosen philosopher/scientist. It should be no longer than 5 sentences. The point of this section is to function as a hook, so those doing research on scientific change can tell whether or not this philosopher is relevant to their research at a glance.

Historical Context

In this section, briefly describe the intellectual atmosphere that your philosopher came up in. You should discuss the prevailing philosophical views of scientific change at the time your thinker formulated their views, or any biographical information specifically relevant to the construction of their main philosophical ideas on scientific change. Remember, the Wiki is meant to function as a philosophical encyclopedia, not a historical one. There is no need to include any information that is superfluous or minimally relevant to your thinker’s particular ideas on scientific change. Also, at this point, do not mention other philosophers’ philosophical programs purely for the sake of comparison. The main goal of this section is to set the foundational ideas that you detail in the next section into proper context. This section will be collapsed when a viewer enters the Wiki page. They will only see it if they choose to expand it.

Main Contributions to the Philosophy of Scientific Change

This should be the largest and most important section of the article. Here you will describe the most important philosophical ideas on scientific change developed by your thinker. It is most likely that your thinker had viewpoints on multiple aspects of scientific change (or in some cases, they may have even changed their initial views later in their career). As such, it will be up to your discretion to break this section up into subsections. When categorizing elements of your thinker’s philosophy into subsections, try to use a problem-based approach. For example:

Popper on Demarcation

The views of Karl Popper on Demarcation

Popper and pseudoscience

Marx and Freud

Feyerabend on the Changeability of Method

The views of Paul Feyerabend the Changeability of Method

Laudan on Theory Appraisal

Larry Laudan's views on Theory Appraisal

Philosopher X on problem Y

etc. Note that you can create different levels of subsections by using different number of equals signs.

The main goal of this section is to get a fully unadulterated presentation of your philosopher’s fundamental contributions to the discourse on scientific change. Refrain from instigating a dialogue between your chosen philosopher and another thinker with contrary views. Also avoid going into detail about how your philosopher’s ideas were later built upon by other thinkers. There will be room to make mention of these things in the next section (see below).

The first step in your work will be to conduct research on the figure in question. A good place to start is often the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. You should identify your author’s major relevant works, and secondary sources concerning them. Turn to your instructors for advise about this. Read enough to give you a good understanding of your figure and the nature of their contribution. Remember that it is very important to cite references for all of the factual statements which you make in your paper. Whenever necessary you should specify page numbers, so that your claim can easily be located and checked.

Criticisms & New Directions

In this section, you can describe some of the shortcomings of your philosopher’s views on scientific change based on criticisms that were brought against them by other thinkers. From here you can describe how your thinker’s ideas either

  1. succumbed to those criticisms, and the prevailing views in the philosophy of science accordingly shifted in a new direction, or
  2. were amended in order surmount those criticisms and grew in a modified form.

You can leave readers with what is essentially a signpost, directing them toward a new article (or articles) that go into more detail about the new philosophical direction you mention (i.e. “For more information on this development, see [[hyperlink to article X]]”). Please practice restraint in this section. It is easy to start writing about the full-fledged contrasting views to your thinker’s ideas and before you know it you are writing a whole other article on the critics of your philosopher. The main goal of this section is to give readers an idea of any lasting impressions left by your thinker’s ideas, any obstacles that may or may not have brought their philosophy to a halt, and a sense of where to go next if they want to follow developments of this train of thought further. Like the Historical Context section, we also intend to have this section collapsed upon entry to the article and open to expansion only if the reader needs it.


Note Note: This is an idealized template of what we think an article on a historical figure should look like. We realize that this generalized format might ignore some of the intricacies of your specific philosopher’s ideas and growth as a thinker. If you think the aforementioned structure should be modified to better suit your specific thinker, please do not hesitate to bring it up with us!