Ludwik Fleck and his concept of a scientific fact

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Virginia Tech


In this thesis, I explore the concept of a scientific fact through the work of Polish physician Ludwik Fleck (1896-1961). Fleck has had an alleged influence upon contemporary philosophy of science, primarily through the work of Thomas Kuhn with subsequent echoes from the direction of the sociology of science. Most writers, however, have restricted their focus upon only one of Fleck's publications, The Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact (1935), and have highlighted the Polish philosophical community as a primary influence upon Fleck's ideas. I argue in this thesis that since Fleck was a doctor by trade, his views must be understood in the context of the medical issues and philosophy of medicine of his time. Furthermore, in order to appreciate Fleck's concept of a scientific fact, one must turn to his other philosophical works. A more judicious picture of Fleck and his concept of a scientific fact is provided by this analysis even though, I conclude, his approach remains philosophically unsatisfactory.



social constructivism, fleck, facts