Sie sind auf Seite 1von 18

Science & Education (2006) 15:863–880 DOI 10.1007/s11191-005-2014-8

Springer 2006

Science Pedagogy as a Category of Historical Analysis: Past, Present, and Future


Department of History, Georgetown University, 37th+O Streets, Washington DC, 20057-1035, USA (E-mail:

Abstract. Historical studies of science pedagogy have flourished in recent years. This essay offers an assessment of the literature on science pedagogy from the 1930s to the present. It argues that rather than focusing on the work of Thomas Kuhn and Michel Foucault, histo- rians of science pedagogy could with profit turn to the work of Ludwik Fleck. Fleck offers three categories of historical analysis – experience, sensation, and cognition – that are embedded in science pedagogy. He furthermore argues unequivocally for the central impor- tance of considering the cultural context of science pedagogy. Fleck’s interpretation of the role of publishing in science is used in the final section of this essay to assess scientific publishing and textbook culture, topics that are the principal concern of the articles in this volume. Among the novelties of the articles in this volume on textbooks are (1) the connections they draw between textbooks and social structure; (2) the relationships they suggest between textbooks and the public sphere; and (3) their identification of the eighteenth century as the crucial transformative century in textbook production.

Key words: Historiography, Jerome Ravetz, Ju¨rgen Habermas, Ludwik Fleck, Michael Polanyi, Michel Foucault, Science pedagogy, Textbooks, Thomas Kuhn

1. Introduction

The historical study of science pedagogy has of late experienced a renaissance, and with that, a revolution in perspective. The past few years alone have seen the publication of several major works that have made it clear that science pedagogy is not merely a minor subfield of historical investigation somewhat akin to institutional history, but is in fact central to understanding the contours of scientific practice, the formation of scien- tific personae, and indeed the ability of science as an enterprise to repro- duce and survive. Indeed, the near simultaneous appearance of special pedagogical practices and the modern scientific disciplines suggests, as Rudolf Stichweh pointed out decades ago, that one cannot understand the disciplinary character of modern science without considering the role of science pedagogy in it (Stichweh 1984). Recently claims have been made that the investigation of science pedagogy is a novel and innovative feature of the historiography of the



sciences that had been ‘neglected’ by earlier historians whose notion of learning and training went no further than the enigmatic notion of the sci- entific genius, who had not been taught, or the commonplace assumption that learning science was nothing more than learning a scientific method. 1 A review of the literature demonstrates otherwise. Not only is there a rich past, but it is also a past that is considerably more intricate than the cur- rent vogue to highlight primarily the work of Thomas Kuhn and Michel Foucault suggests. 2 The historiographical challenge in science pedagogy is thus twofold: to assess both the findings and the limitations of past schol- arship, as well as to formulate categories of analysis that will recast, and deepen, the historical significance of science pedagogy not only within the history of science but also within the larger framework of historical schol- arship as a whole. The purpose of this essay is to take some furtive initial steps in direction by outlining what that assessment might look like, and then, by considering mainly the findings of the present volume, suggest some ways in which science pedagogy can be linked to other categories of historical analysis to achieve a more nuanced and integrated understanding of where science pedagogy fits into the broader historical picture.

2. The Historiography of Science Pedagogy

In broad terms, the historiography of science pedagogy to date has high- lighted the ways in which educational settings sustain clusters of values, mental habits, and material practices that make possible the epistemological dimensions of scientific activity. Norms of social interaction have been shown to be as important as knowledge transmission or practical training. Yet what has been studied inside educational settings has much to do with what is outside them. The values, habits, and practices of scientific practitio- ners acquired in training can at times be drawn from culture at large, as they are when craft or technical practices are adapted to the study of nat- ure. Such crossings between ‘‘outside’’ and ‘‘inside’’ or between science and society provide a way to understand the mutual integration of science and culture. Indeed it may very well be that the vitality of science and its prac- tices may have as much to do with their internal robustness as it does with their ability to establish linkages to daily life. In this sense the study of science pedagogy offers an unparalleled opportunity to examine the ratio- nalization of daily life, a process that Ju¨rgen Habermas has identified as central to the project of modernity (Habermas 1962). As a category of historical analysis, then, science pedagogy must be viewed from frameworks larger than disciplinary history. The problem is to determine how large that framework should be, and what factors within in it are important. It was not until the 1930s, however, that scholars began to articulate the ways in which the ‘‘inside’’ and ‘‘outside’’ might relate to one another in



the context of science pedagogy. Before then dry-as-dust histories of edu- cational institutions, dating from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, had valorized the training of scientists in the industrialized world without casting a critical eye on the pedagogical process as a whole. Lar- gely descriptive surveys underpinned by tables and statistics, these studies helped to create founder myths and institutional shrines within specific dis- ciplines that subsequently proved to be difficult to shake off in the histori- ography of the sciences and helped to entrench a logical positivist historiography by focusing on the evolution of research results. That all began to change in the 1930s when sociologists of knowledge like Schutz (1932), Elias (1939), and especially Fleck (1935, 1979), struck by the con- trast between the liberal, rational conception of the individual promised by the Enlightenment and the conformities pressed upon the masses by totali- tarian states, began to unpack the relationship between reason, behavior, and social norms. But they failed to have an appreciable impact until the 1970s when the social climate changed considerably, creating an intellec- tual environment more receptive to an understanding of the historical and contextual foundations of the production and shape of knowledge. In the aftermath of the Third Reich and the ideological realignment of postwar educational systems especially during the Cold War, studies of the social system of science fell into two distinct phases, both of which influenced perceptions of the historical role of science pedagogy. The first, from the end of WWII to roughly the beginning of the tumultuous social and political movements of the 1960s, was marked by an ideological capitulation to a sys- tem that placed great faith in science and technology as guarantors of na- tional security and the global balance of power. Science pedagogy became one means among many for bolstering national security and shifting the glo- bal balance of power. One thinks here of the reform and expansion of science education in the United States following the Soviet launching of Sputnik. Key concepts defining the social system of science originating in this period tended to follow politics, and shielded science from a deeper examination of certain features of its internal operation, among them the question of how science was learned in the first place. A good example is Michael Polanyi’s notion of ‘‘tacit knowledge’’ which rendered ineffable both large parts of the techniques of science as well as of the methods for training scientists in educational insti- tutions (Polanyi 1958). By so mystifying the processes of scientific learning and doing, Polanyi enhanced considerably the extraordinary social status of scientific knowledge and of scientists by cloaking each in the shroud of secrecy and security. Paradoxically, even though in Polanyi’s view one could never know if contextual factors ever impinged on the social practices of sci- ence, his notion of tacit knowledge later became a key point of investigation in understanding the broader cultural dimensions of scientific practice. 3



The 1960s marked the beginning of the second phase when methodologi- cal changes in the history of science lifted the veil of secrecy that had hith- erto concealed aspects of scientific work, revealing the indistinct boundaries between scientific and social practices. From historians as diverse as Kuhn (1962), Ravetz (1971), and Foucault (1966, 1975, 1977) came the first truly effective questions about the role of science pedagogy in the practical work of science as well as in discipline formation and maintenance. Despite Kuhn’s view of scientific education as a process of near totalitarian indoc- trination, he nonetheless highlighted the powerful role of pedagogy in sup- porting research by transmitting paradigm solutions, skills, and the guidelines for scientific practice, as well as for judging the relative degree of importance of problems chosen for research investigations. Practical activ- ity, including instruction, and knowledge production were united in what Kuhn called normal science, his epithet for the everyday. In his view, the external world intervened in scientific practice only during periods of crisis, or paradigm shifts, when methods and skills metamorphosed (Kuhn 1962). In an important chapter on ‘science as craftsman’s work’, Jerome Ravetz tightened the connection between the social, intellectual, and practical components of scientific work constituting knowledge production. A key element of his analysis was his belief that scientists worked not with the natural world, but with intellectual constructs whose absolute truth and certainty were indeterminable but whose soundness and acceptance were sought. Hence, in Ravetz’s view the social experiences of instruction trained the student in how to make the kinds of sound judgments that avoided what he called the inevitable pitfalls of scientific research; that is, the purpose of cultivating ‘‘soundness’’ was to find workable solutions to problems and not get caught in an endless stream of investigative modifi- cations leading nowhere. Yet Ravetz was also deeply indebted to Polanyi, and could not himself abandon the notion that skills were tacitly learned under the guidance of a master in scientific instruction. Hence he devel- oped not the parameters of educational practice in established disciplines, but those in immature fields where plebeian ‘‘folk science’’ nestled incestu- ously against nascent disciplinary knowledge. The passage to disciplinary status required the heroic efforts of exceptional leaders, operating in a state of conceptual and practical poverty, who were able not only to main- tain the hubris needed to believe that discipline formation was possible but also the humility required to allow students to contribute to the process as near equals. Ravetz viewed teaching as an intensely personal process, so personal that were the precepts of scientific practice made explicit, learning the craft work of science would in his view be irreparably damaged. Only in exceptional circumstances, he like Kuhn argued, did the craft character of science substantially interact with the external world,



drawing on other social and technical practices, including those of folk sciences sustained by amateurs and other social groups. The social roots of the craft character of science were erased and forgotten, he believed, as sci- entific practitioners claimed those practices as their own (Ravetz 1971). That discipline formation itself could be implicated in the educational pro- cess was suggestively raised by Michel Foucault whose intentionally ambigu- ous use of the term ‘discipline’ – meaning both corporeal training and conceptual organization – wove together the social and intellectual normaliz- ing and standardizing functions of education (Foucault 1975). Foucault was persistently critical of historians of science for their inability to grasp what is truly at stake in the construction of scientific regimes. For him the notion of ‘discipline’ – meaning ‘correct training’ – encompassed a plethora of minor procedures with widespread repercussions. Enforced primarily by legal appa- ratus, disciplining literally made the modern individual, and hence was con- stitutive of the formation of modern society, as well as of the modern state. In the three components of disciplining Foucault discovered, too, the social processes at work in the pedagogic formation of the modern scientific disci- plines: hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment, and the examination. Foucault argued that like the astronomical observatories of old that policed the heavens, new modern observatories – the military, the prison, and even the school – were instruments of control and oppression whose purpose it was to report to the state the peculiar characteristics of individuals. But their higher function, in so reporting on individuality, was also to discriminate individuals, particularly those who managed to acquire the virtues of obedi- ence, submission, and conformity. Teachers, who controlled classroom disor- der and reported on individual performance, thus became a strategic professional group in establishing new power relations which both defined and disciplined the individual (Foucault 1975). In teaching, as in other observing activities, nothing was more important than the act of judgment: of behavior, of conformity, of com- pliance, and of intellectual performance. Foucault argued that peda- gogues judged in order to penalize, and there was no aspect of classroom activity small enough to escape the observing gaze: so evolved the micr- openalties of time (being late for class), of behavior (of inattention in class), and of the body (of inappropriate gestures in class). Yet the mic- roeconomy of reward and punishment extended to the mind as well, where examinations, grades, and class rankings established a hierarchy created and controlled by the teacher’s gaze and judgment. In this social space of pedagogical comparison, where individual merit was measured in quantitative terms and rank was a reward for conformity, good behavior, and superior performance, the concepts of ‘‘norm’’ and ‘‘normal’’ emerged not only as a result of normalization, but also of differentiation.



Or, in Foucault’s terms, knowledge created the subject. He meant the individual here, but the third element of his concept of discipline, the examination, shows that the modern normalizing pedagogy also helped to create the intellectual disciplines, those standard bodies of knowledge with identifiable boundaries, subject matter, and methods, which could only be practiced if one followed the normative rules of the discipline. Through the institution of the examination, especially in a pedagogical setting, observing and judging became forms of power over the individ- ual. The examination also became a form of intellectual power: by pos- ing questions, it helped to define what was intellectually important. Although one finds here more than a faint echo of Kuhn’s concept of normal science, Foucault’s notion of ‘discipline’ was far more complex and historically sensitive than Kuhn’s (Foucault 1975). The full meaning of Foucault’s notion of ‘‘discipline’’ becomes evident, though, only when Discipline and Punish is viewed in conjunction with The Order of Things (Foucault 1966). In The Order of Things Foucault viewed the creation of the most important intellectual subject, the individual hu- man person, through the emergent discourse of the social sciences which both delimited and regulated the body. The onset of the modern was thus for Foucault a combined and interdependent transformation in the struc- tures of knowledge and society (Foucault 1966). Yet much of his discus- sion remained speculative; for he failed to specify precisely what historical and social processes were implicated in this process. Foucault moreover believed that some forms of knowledge were immune from contextual influences. Like other thinkers during the Cold War, he removed theoreti- cal physics in particular from the arena of critical historical examination, believing that to embark upon a social history of theoretical physics was an excessively complicated quest for which satisfying results could not be found (Foucault 1977). Despite these shortcomings, he nonetheless teased out, in his inimitable way, the complex interactions between knowledge and its context: the inside of science was the outside, and vice versa, a point later expanded upon by his contemporary, critic, and intellectual competitor, Bruno Latour (Latour 1988). In the wake of Foucault’s popularity, other works in the critical sociol- ogy and history of forms of rationality, suppressed earlier during the inter- war period, now resurfaced, an academic renaissance aided by an environment of intense social turmoil, especially on university campuses. Along with Fleck’s work (1979) on the social genesis of the scientific fact, Norbert Elias’s study of the ‘‘civilizing process’’ in western society (1978–1983) as well as Alfred Schutz’s (1932) perceptive social analysis of rationality in daily life all provided potentially fruitful lines of inquiry for understanding the social processes at work in the construction and



transmission of purportedly objective and rational knowledge. Among those forms of knowledge, none received greater attention than knowledge of everyday life, partly because of its strategic importance in Cold War intelligence activities. Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, heirs to Schutz, interpreted the everyday in ways that implicated the central impor- tance of educational institutions in creating, sustaining, and transmitting the symbols that gave meaning to the taken-for-granted assumptions and ordinary actions of life (Berger & Luckmann 1966). Although scientific knowledge fell outside their purview, their understanding of institutions as places where habitualized actions became encapsulated in roles provided a means for understanding the emergence and creation of scientific personae, whose identity was tied to the acquisition (in education) and production (in research institutes) of rational forms of knowledge. Yet when social constructionism, the first major movement in the social studies of science, emerged in the 1970s, few questions were asked initially about the role and function of education and training in the operation of science as a whole. But within more historical approaches to the study of scientific cultures, matters were different. Early historically oriented studies of science education included the path-breaking work of Owen Hannaway and Lewis Pyenson. Hannaway rejected Kuhn’s notion that textbooks rep- resented deadening routine, arguing instead that even in the early modern period, textbooks, through their imaginative organization of knowledge, helped to organize chemistry as a discipline, a conclusion upheld by the additional examples provided in the present volume (Hannaway 1975). Pyenson turned to the secondary schools in fin-de-sie`cle Germany to understand the powerful role of pure mathematics, whose intellectual and ideological importance in interpreting physical reality was sustained by generations of mathematics teachers educated in university mathematics seminars. Pyenson was also among the earliest to recognize that interpreta- tions of physical reality and styles in executing problems are tied to the pedagogical particulars of intensely local educational settings, like the German university seminar (Pyenson 1977, 1979, 1983). By the 1980s – in the midst of a crisis of overproduction of scientists, the inability of the marketplace to absorb them, and the onset of the post- doctoral ‘holding pattern’ – historians, sociologists, and anthropologists further emphasized the strategic role of education in shaping disciplines, scientific personae, the scientific community, and the social and cultural functions of science and mathematics. William Coleman illuminated the discipline-building functions of teaching for Claude Bernard and Jan Purkyne, the latter by drawing attention to the strong influence of reform- minded pedagogical theory (Coleman 1985, 1988), while Frederic L. Holmes examined in detail the relationship between teaching and



research in Justus Liebig’s Giessen chemistry laboratory (Holmes 1989). Holmes was, moreover, one of the first to examine systematically the atti- tudes and responses of students: that is, to study learning (and student responses to it) as well as teaching. Although his work did not result in a more thoroughgoing assessment of the values and attitudes of students, nor the personae they shaped, his study suggested these as potentially fruitful areas of investigation. By far the greatest number of science educa- tion studies between 1980 and 2000 focused on Germany. Among these early studies Rudolf Stichweh’s strongly identified disciplinary formation with education by pointing out the historical origins of a discipline as ‘knowledge assembled to be taught’ (Stichweh 1984, p. 7). 4 Historians of German science working within what has become known as the ‘institu- tionalist paradigm’ (Turner 1991; Olesko 1996) used microstudies to bring into sharp relief the exact mechanisms of disciplinary and personae forma- tion as well as the value systems, behavioral norms, and practical skills inculcated by pedagogical practices in philology, theoretical physics, and mathematics (Schubring 1981, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1991; Clark 1989; Olesko 1988, 1991). Anthropologists also discovered the powerful role of educa- tion and training in creating personality types suited for practical work in esoteric fields like high energy physics. Here the pedagogical transmission of the physics canon was portrayed as the propagation of cultural norms which could not only inculcate, but also exclude the incompetent and mar- ginalize those groups, including women, unable to conform to those norms (Traweek 1988). 5 Thus by the end of the century, the historical study of science pedagogy had moved far beyond institutional histories, had shifted the focus away from abstract disciplinary histories toward the human dimensions and consequences of learning (such as the creation of specific social forms such as the scientific personae), and had begun to entrench the historical study of science pedagogy in specific local contexts with con- sideration of contingent historical factors, mostly under the rubric of ‘cul- tural history’. A final word on methods suited for studying the trio of discipline, peda- gogy, and practice. Methodological developments in the history of science since the 1960s have certainly transformed the queries, approaches, and tools for investigating how institutionalization and contextualization are strategically important for understanding the nature of science, its practices (including social ones), and the role of both in society. An important fruit of this effort has been the detailed historical examination of training of neophyte scientific practitioners in educational settings which in turn has led to a recasting of how we understand ‘disciplinary’ history. Yet the his- torical significance of pedagogical experiences goes beyond the artificial confines of disciplinary history; in a broader sense it embraces movements



of social, economic, and political history. Decades of historical research have proven Kuhn, Ravetz, and Foucault misguided in considering the impact of culture on disciplines. Hence understanding pedagogical experi- ence is something greater than the sum of institutional and intellectual his- tory. Because the career choices of individuals to a certain degree drive instructional agendas, educational studies must uncover the reasons for those choices (Olesko 1996). They must also take into account, at the most fundamental level, the social, cultural, political, and economic systems of which science is a part and without whose support it would not exist (Lenoir 1997; Tuchman 1997). More recent studies of science pedagogy, since 2000, have begun to take up the challenge of taking a more inclusive approach to the his- tory of science pedagogy and have widened considerably our under- standing of what it means to write that history. Andrew Warwick turned his study of the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos into a revealing artifact of Victorian culture and demonstrated how both mind and body were implicated in scientific training (Warwick 2004). 6 David Kaiser’s imaginative investigation of the conditions under which Feynman dia- grams were used and then ‘dispersed’ blends the technicalities of the his- tory of science with Cold War developments in the American scientific community, especially the need to find a way to teach, train, and evaluate, ever more numbers of students in physics. (Kaiser 2005a) Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Antonio Garcı´a-Belmar, and Jose´ Ramo´ n Bertomeu-Sa´nchez have assembled teams of scholars around the theme of textbooks. The results of their efforts have been path-breaking. Their collective results – of which the present volume is a part – stand as the most comprehensive, thorough, and innovative studies to date of the textbook culture in any of the sciences. 7 To their credit they have viewed textbooks as active agents of culture, but not necessarily as car- riers or even creators of disciplinary knowledge as early works in the genre, such as Hannaway’s (1975), argued. They view textbook writing as a negotiation between author, public, press, and state. (Garcı´a-Belmar & Bertomeu-Sanchez 2004). The richness of their collective findings is in large part the result of their ability to assemble international teams of scholars whose combined linguistic abilities enable them to examine cul- tures little known and to achieve results attainable only through careful comparative histories. Of special note is the team’s decision to examine the scientific ‘periphery’, including such places as Portugal, Hungary, and the Greek-speaking areas of the Ottoman Empire. Just as earlier works on science pedagogy during the Cold War adapted to the culture of secrecy and national security, this team’s work on textbooks shows the impact of ongoing European integration.



3. Fleck’s Views on the Historical Variables of Science Pedagogy

Fleck’s work in particular seems promising for a critical examination of science pedagogy because it opens up the processes of socialization and training implicated in education from within a broader cultural context in such a way that the historical study of science pedagogy becomes more than a study of disciplinary knowledge: it becomes a way to understand the formation of the modern self. In this regard, his incisive essay on the ‘genesis and development of scientific fact’ warrants a critical re-reading for its suggestive remarks concerning science pedagogy. When translated in 1979, most of the essay’s original contributions seemed less so in the wake of the phenomenal popularity of Thomas S. Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) which, Kuhn later revealed, may have had its origins in Fleck’s essay – Kuhn had forgotten he had read it and could only later surmise his indebtedness to it (Kuhn 1979). 8 Fleck’s essay speaks to the historical investigation of science pedagogy not by asking us to take a look at the content but rather the form and practice of science education. He isolates three elements of learning that reshape (‘educate’) the prospective knower: experience, cognition, and sensation. All three provide compelling reasons for considering science ped- agogy as something more than the transmission of knowledge: pedagogy becomes a process that strikes at the core of our being by making us something we were not. The first, experience, seems to be an intellectual encounter with knowledge of the sort we feel when learning. ‘Experience’, he writes, ‘must be understood as a complex state of intellectual training based upon the interaction of the knower, that which he already knows, and that which he has yet to learn’ (Fleck 1979, p. 10) Yet this training, we find, is not about knowledge in a symbolic form. Fleck explains that the acquisition of skills through observation and experiment and the ability to think in the sciences involve ‘factors that cannot be regulated by formal logic’. (p. 10) What we may see in the form of ‘words and ideas’, he warns, are merely the ‘phonetic and mental equivalents of the experience coincid- ing with them’, and so are poor substitutes for them. (p. 27) We can understand the complexity of experience by considering it in conjunction with the two other targets of education: sensation and cognition. Both, in Fleck’s view, are socialized by training. Take sensation. Fleck explains the process of how one becomes ‘experienced’ in terms of visual metaphors. So training is the ‘slow and laborious revelation and awareness of ‘what one actually sees’ or the gaining of experience’. (p. 89) Experience thus reshapes not only our minds, but also our bodies. Sharpened vision – the ability to identify phenomena, for instance – is indicative of a state of ‘readiness for directed perception’. (p. 92) He simi- larly interprets cognition as a social activity (‘the most socially conditioned



activity of man’), making knowledge ‘the paramount social creation’. (p. 42) Cognition can, in fact, only be understood according to Fleck as a deeply historical and contextual process that renders the mind nearly one with the beliefs of others around it. That is why active associations in the content of knowledge (say when we link sickness and sin) can only be ex- plained by recourse to cultural history. All thought in Fleck’s view thus has a cultural-historical dependence – and that holds for scientific thought as well. All three elements – experience, sensation, and cognition – can thus be revealing categories in the historical investigation of science pedagogy. The successful ‘‘formation of experience’’ can only be accomplished by those who are trained. Taken together the three elements form the core of the professional habits that a scientist exercises day in and day out, and so for Fleck they are the foundation of a ‘collective psychology’. (p. 89) Like Kuhn’s normal science, Fleck’s thought collective is a stylized and con- strained way of thinking that keeps the thinker within the broader concep- tual, cultural, and historical framework of a community created largely by common educational experiences. The main characteristic of a thought style is that through it the trained scientist progresses nearly automatically from a vague perception to a stylized and directed visual perception ‘with corresponding mental and objective assimilation of what has been so perceived’. (p. 95) 9 We are thus transformed by training, but not necessarily irrevocably so. Although the strength of a thought collective depends on the existence of active science pedagogies that carry the ‘thought style’ from one generation to the next (p. 39), Fleck believed that education, although a constraint that preserved stylized thinking in the form of facts (and compelled the knower to ‘see’ only in a certain way), was also pliable enough to allow for the rec- ognition of experiences that resisted their automatic inclusion in the thought collective. So although a scientific fact was itself a resistance to caprice, intuition, and arbitrary thinking, thought without the recognition of resis- tances was the mark of the ‘inexperienced individual’ who ‘merely learns but does not discern’. (p. 95) 10 The state of being experienced (or possessing Erfahrenheit) could in Fleck’s view only be achieved through training. Indeed without science pedagogy one could not have ‘facts’ since facts are not born or discovered, but are social constructions arising from a collective actively engaged in the creation and maintenance of a thought style.

4. Textbooks in Historical Context

Textbooks can be viewed as focal points for many of the historical contingencies that shape both scientific practice as well as the roles of



science and the scientist in society. Although most easily treated as part of the history of the book, they also carry historical significances that tran- scend that genre. Their physical dimensions, for instance, are not boundaries that mark the ‘‘inside’’ and ‘‘outside’’ of science but rather can be likened to porous filters that permit the intermixing of several different cultural ele- ments, and so should be studied as a part of culture writ large. The articles in this volume are especially innovative in treating three dimensions of the intermixing of science, culture, and history: (1) in demonstrating the connec- tions between textbook culture and the constitution of the public sphere, ta- ken in the sense of Ju¨rgen Habermas (1962, 1989); (2) in teasing out the relationship between textbook production and social structure; and most importantly, (3) in providing strong evidence that the decisive century in textbook culture may not be the nineteenth, when textbook culture matured, but the eighteenth, when textbook culture was just beginning. Of special interest to the articles in the present volume is Fleck’s under- standing of the historical role of publishing in sustaining science pedagogy, and so in furthering the inculcation of experience, sensation, and cogni- tion. That which is published becomes a physical constraint that supports a thought style. ‘Once a statement is published’, Fleck writes, it constitutes part of the social forces which form concepts and create habits of thought. Together with all other statements it determines ‘what cannot be thought in any other way’. (Fleck 1979, p. 37) If we were to assign a ‘thought col- lective’ to the combined textbook culture in this volume, it would be one which, despite the existence of the science of Newton, Laviosier, and oth- ers, was tied to a very different social space than western Europe, and so exhibited very different intellectual characteristics. A good way to look at their stories of textbook publishing, then, is through the work of Habermas (1962, 1989) on the public sphere. The public sphere, according to Habermas, developed in the eighteenth century largely as a venue where the public could express its opinion freely outside the domain of the state or even economic interests. The development of the public sphere was clo- sely related to the rise in literacy, and for a while was congruent with read- ing clubs and other public arenas of discussion, such as coffee houses. Recourse to Habermas’s notion of the public sphere may help to explain further some of the findings in this volume. For instance, Cameiro, Diogo, and Simo¨es cite the absence of a chemical community as the reason why Seabra’s textbook was not adopted, but it also might be the case that in Portugal, the educated reading public, and with it, the public sphere, was weak. Such a conclusion appears to be upheld by the persistence of the inquisition in Portugal through the middle of the eighteenth century. Although under Maria I (1777–92) print culture expanded – creating an environment conducive to popular science, journals, and textbooks – one



needs nonetheless to determine if the legal expansion of print culture was matched by the social expansion of literacy. Likewise in Russia the cumu- lative effect of the Church’s monopoly on printing was to stunt the growth of a healthy public sphere where the free exchange of information could take place, a point to consider in the story told by Gouzevitch. It is also difficult to conceive of a public sphere in the Ottoman Empire and so of a diverse reading public ready to read more, and discuss more, than what merchant elites needed and wanted. The articles by both Petrou and Patin- iotis on textbooks in the Greek-speaking world from Greece around the Mediterranean clockwise to North Africa both argue that more important than the public sphere was the widespread marketplace of the Ottoman Empire where practical knowledge, conversions (weights and measures, coinage, and the like), and navigational issues were more important than knowing about Newton’s Principia. The surprising result in these four articles is that despite the limited audience reached by textbooks, they nonetheless were significant factors in creating conditions conducive to the future growth of the public sphere: to wit, they promoted the standardiza- tion of language, vocabulary, scientific idiom, and alphabet that would eventually promote a larger reading public. We are often reminded that Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible in the sixteenth century standard- ized high German, but we rarely reflect on the linguistic impact of the translation of scientific and technical treatises which, in Russia at least, produced literary laic Russian according to Gouzevitch. The articles in this volume make clear that we cannot understand the pro- duction of textbooks without also knowing the social structure of the region over which they are distributed. Or to put it more precisely: we need to know what elites controlled. The Greek-speaking areas of the Ottoman Empire are most striking in this regard. The strong elite merchant class accounts for Greek translations of textbooks on practical geometry, geography, and com- merce (all were useful for trade) and the relative paucity of textbooks on phys- ics and chemistry, which carried little of significance for merchants. Even when we turn to the educational system in Greek-speaking areas, where intel- lectuals found social roles as teachers, novelties rarely entered textbook trans- lations, and if they did, it was through a dialogue with Aristotelian philosophy. For these teachers, the highest form of intellectual expression in pedagogy was found in fields used to educate future merchants, principally practical mathematics. What we have here is a situation where social needs are mapped out on the distribution of knowledge; or, as Patiniotis so aptly puts it, the ‘lack of a proper social subject’ that could support a branch of knowledge accounts for its absence. Textbook distribution may therefore reflect the bal- ance of power among elites, as it did in the Ottoman Empire where the laws of the marketplace were more important than the laws of nature.



We have come to think of the nineteenth century as the defining moment in the modern social and institutional forms of science. Enamored by disci- pline-building, university history, the reform and extension of the secondary school, and the professionalization of the career of the scientist, we have come to think of the nineteenth century as holding the clues to all aspects of the development modern science, including its pedagogical dimensions. What is clear from the articles in this volume, however, is that the eighteenth cen- tury may actually have more to offer us in terms of why (rather than how) these changes took place. As Patiniotis points out, the word textbook is, after all, a coinage of the eighteenth century, something that should give us pause to think about why that is so. The protracted shift from Aristotelian scholar- ship to more recent knowledge, as took place in Portugal under the estrange- irados during a period of enlightened educational reform, suggests that the intellectual dynamics of textbook organization in the eighteenth century may have been more problematic, and difficult, than they were in the nineteenth. Or take the rapid intellectual shift in those areas under Napoleonic rule, such as northern Italy in 1796–1797 according to Seligardi, where the new French chemistry was established by law under public educational reform acts. Can we really conclude that disciplinary knowledge can be imposed without tak- ing into account contingent factors like social class, audience, and the intel- lectual interests of the elites who hold the power? The existence of these and similar issues like them in the articles in this volume are challenges not only in and of themselves, but also because they play into the major question crossing the divide from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century: why did the disciplines emerge? Given the contingent factors that come into play in the cases discussed in this volume where older forms of knowledge persist despite access to novelty, the sheer weight of intellectual change and scientific dis- covery alone is insufficient for explaining why the universalizing, totalizing, but accessible form of knowledge in the eighteenth century (such as that dis- cussed by Pallo for Hungary) transformed into the specialized and generally inaccessible forms of knowledge known as the disciplines in the nineteenth. The findings of articles in this volume suggest that the eighteenth century may hold more clues to that transformation than the nineteenth. And the eighteenth century may also provide fruitful ways for understanding another transition: from early modern forms of learning with their arts of discourse, memory and rhetoric to the psychological dynamics of teaching and learning that accompanied the disciplines in the nineteenth century.

5. Conclusion

The burden of this commentary has been to suggest ways of expanding the history of science education into a broader historical context. That task



has been aided considerably by the high quality of results published in this volume. A contextual approach to the history of science pedagogy, such as that suggested by many of the articles here, presents many challenges. One of them is to accept the importance of studying aspects of the past that are less tangible, less exciting, and less obvious than the common themes and momentous events to which the field of the history of science has become accustomed. A culturally- and contextually-oriented history of science pedagogy must acknowledge the importance of silent and steady traditions, must articulate what ‘goes without saying because it comes without saying’, and must seek to understand reproducible action (such as occurs in teaching and learning), as well as the reasons for its reproducibility. Here the Verstehen approach would seem indispensable, especially in its examination of an inner system of values whose constitution is known only by indirect means. 11 Causal explanations will become more complex with the necessary consideration of lived experiences, meaning construction, and representative schemes. In looking at the value systems that motivate, jus- tify, and legitimate behavior, we have to side with Emile Durkheim and admit that what is thought in an affective and value-laden sense is no less real than reality itself. We must ask what sustains standards of conduct and how value systems not only motivate individual behavior but also organize the daily life of social groups. Only then will we understand geo- graphical distributions of knowledge, like those projected by textbooks. And only then will we be able to take up the challenges that the future holds for the history of science pedagogy, such as understanding why intel- ligent design threatens to replace evolution in the classroom (Olson 2004), why leading institutions like Harvard are still seeking to accommodate sci- ence to its students (Lawler 2004), or why, after the long history of science pedagogy, there is a perennial call for the reform of science teaching, especially at the introductory levels (Handelsman 2004).


1 As Steven Shapin stated on the jacket cover for the hardback edition of Pedagogy and the Practice of Science (Kaiser 2005b): ‘‘Bewitched on the one side by myths of Scientific Genius and on the other by myths of Scientific Method, historians have neglected the study of the actual forms in which knowl- edge, norms, and techniques have been transmitted from one generation of scientists to the next’’. Shapin is not alone in making such claims.

2 Some of the most recent studies of science pedagogy have foreshortened the past and limited the virtual origins of the subfield largely to the work of Kuhn and Foucault (see, for instance, Warwick & Kaiser 2005). The same volume concludes with the statement that ‘although there is an enormous literature on the history of education, virtually none of it is concerned with the relationship between training and the production of scientific knowledge’. (Warwick & Kaiser 2005, p. 393) Quite the con- trary. As the citations for the articles in this volume on textbooks indicate, scholarly discussions of sci- ence pedagogy have existed at least since the 1930s, albeit have evolved in form, purpose, and focus.



3 Pace Polanyi, we now know that not all is tacit; much in science pedagogy is more explicit than he had assumed (Olesko 1993).

4 See also Stichweh (1992, 1994a, b).

5 Traweek’s approach continues to yield fruitful results in understanding generational reproduction (Traweek 2005). The gender implications and consequences of science pedagogy are crucial and strate- gic areas of its history that are still in need of deeper study. Training in the sciences is a ‘weeding out’ process but why and how it is one that in certain fields – especially the ‘hard’ sciences – that manages to create personae according to gender type has been insufficiently examined in the literature. Over the long term the gender consequences of scientific training have replicated the division of labor in the sexes that began in the nineteenth century. Science pedagogy, like much of the professionalized world, thus corroborated in the creation of modern society and the modern self.

6 For a review of Warwick’s book that amplifies the general thrust of this commentary, see Olesko (2005).

7 See especially Benaude-Vincent et al. (2002, 2003, 2005) and Lundgren & Bensaude-Vincent (2000).

8 The jury is still out on Kuhn’s indebtedness to Fleck.

9 See also pp. 93–94.

10 Intuition, sometimes considered to be a hallmark of scientific creativity and often associated with ‘genius’, Fleck considered to be ‘mystical’ and so not amenable to historical or sociological analysis (Fleck 1979, p. 86).

11 The difference between this rational social science approach and that of the ‘‘Verstehen’’ approach is that between what can be said by appeal to outward, manifest forms of behavior which can observed and tracked, and what can be said by appeal to an inner system of values whose constitution is known only by indirect means. (Max Weber’s work in the 1890s on East Elbian agricultural workers, the German stock market, and medieval trade practices are paradigmatic examples of how the two approaches interact in individual case studies.) It is precisely in this area of the individual, the subjec- tive, the emotional, the affective, the psychological, and the mental state – in short, the values that keep a group together – that older historiographical strategies reach their limits, as demonstrated by the fact that intuitive interpretations (of the type that one sees, say in the work of Jacob Burckhardt on the Renaissance, Lucien Febvre on Rabelais, or Erwin Panofsky on the medieval Gothic mind) are not significant features of the historical literature on science or science pedagogy.


Benaude-Vincent, B., Garcı´a-Belmar, A. & Bertomeu-Sanchez, J.R.: 2002, Looking for an Order of Things: Textbooks and Classifications in Nineteenth century France , Ambix 49,


Benaude-Vincent, B., Garcı´a-Belmar, A. & Bertomeu-Sanchez, J.R.: 2003, La Naissance d’une science des manuels (1789–1852), Editions des Archives Contemporaines, Paris. Benaude-Vincent, B., Garcı´a-Belmar, A. & Bertomeu-Sanchez, J.R.: 2005, The Power of Didactic Writings: French Chemistry Textbooks of the Nineteenth Century, in Kaiser, D. (ed.), Pedagogy and the Practice of Science Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 219–251. Berger, P. & Luckmann, T.: 1966, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Doubleday, Garden City, NY. Clark, W.: 1989, On the Dialectical Origins of the Research Seminar , History of Science 27,


Coleman, W.: 1985, The Cognitive Basis of the Discipline: Claude Bernard on Physiology , Isis 76, 49–70. Coleman, W.: 1988, Prussian Pedagogy: Purkyne at Breslau, 1823–1839, in Coleman, W.& Holmes, F.L. (eds.) The Investigative Enterprise: Experimental Physiology in Nineteenth- Century Medicine, University of California Press, Berkeley, pp. 15–64.




Elias, N.: 1939, U ber den Prozess der Zivilisation: Soziogenetische und psychogenetische Untersuchungen, 2 vols. Haus zum Falken, Basel. Elias, N.: 1978–1983, The Civilizing Process. Volume 1: , The History of Manners. Volume II: , The Court Society, Urizen Books, New York. Fleck, L.: 1935, Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache: Einfu¨hrung in die Lehre vom Denkstil und Denkkollektiv, Benno Schwabe & Co., Basel. Fleck, L.: 1979, Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, trans. F. Bradley & Trenn, T.J. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Foucault,M.: 1966, Les mots etles Choses: un arche´ologie des sciences humaines, Gallimard, Paris. Foucault, M.: 1975, Surveiller et punir; Naissance de la prison, Gallimard, Paris. Foucault, M.: 1977, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, (ed.) Donald F. Bouchard, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.

Garcı´a-Belmar, A. & Bertomeu-Sanchez, J.-R.: 2004, Atoms in French Chemistry Textbooks during the First Half of the Nineteenth Century , Nuncius 19, 77–119.


Habermas, J.: 1962, Strukturwandel der O ffentlichkeit: Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bu¨rgerlichen Gesellschaft, Luchterhand, Darmstadt. Habermas, J.: 1989, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. trans T. Burger. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Handelsman, J., et al.: 2004, Scientific Teaching , Science 304, 521–522. Hannaway, O.: 1975, The Chemists and the Word: The Didactic Origins of Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. Holmes, F.L.: 1989, ‘The Complementarity of Teaching and Research in Liebig’s Laboratory’, in K. Olesko (ed.), Science in Germany: The Intersection of Institutional and Intellectual Issues. Osiris 5, 121–164. Kaiser, D.: 2005a, Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics, University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Kaiser, D (ed.).: 2005b, Pedagogy and the Practice of Science: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Kuhn, T.: 1962, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Kuhn, T.: 1979, Foreword, in Fleck, L. Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, Uni- versity of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. vii–xi. Latour, B.: 1988, The Pasteurization of France, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. Lawler, A.: 2004, Harvard Joins Reform Movement , Science 304, 810. Lenoir, T.: 1997, Instituting Science: The Cultural Production of Scientific Disciplines, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA. Lundgren, A. & Bensaude-Vincent, B. (eds).: 2000, Communicating Chemistry: Textbooks and their Audiences, 1789–1939, Science History Publications, Canton, MA. Olesko, K.: 1988, On Institutes, Investigations, and Scientific Training, in Coleman, W.& Holmes, F.L. (eds.) The Investigative Enterprise: Experimental Physiology in Nineteenth

Century Medicine, University of California Press, Berkeley, pp. 295–332. Olesko, K.: 1991, Physics as a Calling: Discipline and Practice in the Ko¨nigsberg Seminar for Physics, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. Olesko, K.: 1993, Tacit Knowledge and School Formation , Osiris 8, 16–29. Olesko, K.: 1996, ‘Interpretation and Historical Explanation in Wissenschaftsgeschichte’, unpublished paper presented at a session in honor of R. Steven Turner at the History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, 7–10 November 1996. Olesko, K.: 2005, Training for the Tripos , American Scientist 92, 276–279. Olson, S.: 2004, Shapes of a Wedge , Science 304, 825–826. Polanyi, M.: 1958, Personal Knowledge: Toward a Post-Critical Philosophy, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.



Pyenson, L.: 1977, Educating Physicists in Germany circa 1900 , Social Studies of Science 7,


Pyenson, L.: 1979, Mathematics, Education, and the Go¨ttingen Approach to Physical Reality, 1890–1914 , Europa. A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 2, 91–127. Pyenson, L.: 1983, Neohumanism and the Persistence of Pure Mathematics in Wilhelmian Germany, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. Ravetz, J.: 1971, Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems, Clarendon Press, Oxford. Schubring, G.: 1981, Mathematics and Teaching Training: Plans for a Polytechnic in Berlin , Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences 12, 161–194. Schubring, G.: 1983, Seminar-Institut-Fakulta¨t: Die Entwicklung der Ausbildungsformen und ihrer Institutionen in der Mathematik’, Universita¨t Bielefeld Interdisziplina¨res Zentrum fu¨r Hochschuldidaktik: Diskussionsbeitra¨ge zur Ausbildungsforschung und Studienreform, Bielefeld, pp. 1–44. Schubring, G.: 1985, Die Entwicklung des mathematischen Seminars der Universita¨t Bonn , Jahresberichte der Deutschen Mathematiker-Vereinigung 87, 139–163. Schubring, G.: 1989, ‘The Rise and Decline of the Bonn Natural Sciences Seminar’, in Olesko, K.M. (ed.), Science in Germany: The Intersection of Institutional and Intellectual Issues. Osiris 5, 57–93. Schubring, G.: 1991, Die Entstehung der Mathematiklehrerberufs im 19. Jahrhundert. Studien und Materialien zum Prozess der Professionalisierung in Preußen (1810–1870), Weinheim, Basel. Schutz, A.: 1932, Die sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt: Eine Einleitung in die verstehende Soziologie, J. Springer, Wien. Stichweh, R.: 1984, Zur Entstehung des modernen Systems wissenschaftlicher Disziplinen:

Physik in Deutschland, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt. Stichweh, R.: 1992, The Sociology of Scientific Disciplines: On the Genesis and Stability of the Disciplinary Structure of Modern Science , Science in Context 5, 3–15. Stichweh, R.: 1994a, La structuration des disciplines dans les universite´s allemandes au XIXe sie`cle , Histoire de l’education 62, 55–73. Stichweh, R.: 1994b, The Unity of Teaching and Research, in Poggi, S.& Bossi, M. (eds.) Romanticism in Science: Science in Europe, 1790–1840, Reidel, Dordrecht, pp. 189–202. Traweek, S.: 1988, Beamtimes and Lifetimes: The World of High Energy Physicists, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. Traweek, S.: 2005, Generating High-Energy Physics in Japan: Moral Imperatives of a Future Pluperfect, in Kaiser, D. (ed.), Pedagogy and the Practice of Science: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 357–392. Tuchman, A.: 1997, Institutions and Disciplines: Recent Work in the History of German Science , Journal of Modern History 69, 298–319. Turner, R.S.: 1991, German Science, German Universities: Historiographical Perspectives from the 1980s, in Schubring, G. (ed.), Einsamkeit und Freiheit’ New Besichtigt:

Universita¨tsreformen und Disziplinenbildung in Preussen als Modell fu¨r Wissenschaftspolitik im Europa des 19. Jahrhunderts, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, pp. 24–36. Warwick, A.: 2004, Masters of Theory: Cambridge and the Rise of Mathematical Physics, University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Warwick, A. & Kaiser, D.: 2005, Conclusion: Kuhn, Foucault, and the Power of Pedagogy, in Kaiser, D. (ed.), Pedagogy and the Practice of Science: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, pp. 393–409.