The Fact in the Natural Sciences and the Humanities: the Concept’s History

Sokolov, Pavel Valeryevich
PhD in Philosophy, Associate Professor, the Humanities and Social Sciences Center, Senior Research Fellow, the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, MIPT University, Leading Research Fellow, the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities, HSE University, Moscow, Russia

The category of fact on a pair with such concepts, as objectivity or certainty ranks among key elements of the epistemology in the humanities and social sciences (their Gemeingut): appealing at the factual authenticity is still one of the fundamental epistemic virtues in all scientific fields. The genealogy of this category, recently reconstructed by Mary Poovey, goes back to the most unexpected contexts, such as the double-entry bookkeeping, political economy and experimental moral philosophy, whereas its history displays a process of its “commuting” between social disciplines, humanities and natural sciences. Starting, at least, from the classical book by Ludwik Fleck, problematization of this category are going on, its ‘deautomatization’ from the point of view of the humanities, philosophy of science and sociology. In this paper, we will make an attempt to identify the potential of the historical analysis of this category, and to make a survey of the contemporary research in this thematic field.

Keywords: objectivity, certainty, fact, epistemic virtues
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