Traditionally, Kuhn claims, the primary goal of historians of science was ‘to clarify and deepen an understanding of contemporary scientific methods or concepts by displaying their evolution’.
Some discoveries seem to entail numerous phases and discoverers, none of which can be identified as definitive. Furthermore, the evaluation of past discoveries and discoverers according to present-day standards does not allow us to see how significant they may have been in their own day.
This entailed relating the progressive accumulation of breakthroughs and discoveries. Only that which survived in some form in the present was considered relevant. In the mid-1950s, however, a number of faults in this view of history became apparent. Closer analysis of scientific discoveries, for instance, led historians to ask whether the dates of discoveries and their discoverers can be identified precisely.
Nor does the traditional view recognise the role that non-intellectual factors, especially institutional and socio-economic ones, play in scientific developments. Most importantly, however, the traditional historian of science seems blind to the fact that the concepts, questions and standards that they use to frame the past are themselves subject to historical change. [3점]