Lakatos: an introduction. (English) Zbl 1027.00004

London: Routledge. xi, 128 p. (1998).
This “Introduction” (coming close to an interpreting essay) starts with a terse account of I. Lakatos’ biography. The report on this biography which led Lakatos from Hungary via Russia finally to England serves the author the purpose to give evidence for the interpretative fixpoint in his presentation, the continuing dialectical-Hegel ian element in Lakatos’ work.
In saying that “non-dialectical logic … concerns itself with propositions, whereas dialectical logic studies the development of concepts” (p. 9) the author begins with a rather dubious characterization, ignoring that the algebraic logic of classes clearly deals with (extensions) of concepts but that it is not, of course, a dialectical logic. Nevertheless, Lakatos considerations in “Proofs and Refutations” [CUP, Cambridge (1976; Zbl 0334.00022), German ed., Vieweg (1979; Zbl 0421.00007)], and also his later ideas on conceptual change in the theory of scientific research programmes [cf. Vol. 1, CUP, Cambridge (1978; Zbl 0373.02002); German ed., Vieweg (1982; Zbl 0476.03002)] might be interpreted in terms of dialectics or Hegelian logic. But to interpret Lakatos’ attitude towards historical descriptions (“In order to bring out the rationality of the history of science, it may be necessary to tidy up the details a bit”, p. 66) as partially compatible with Hegel’s philosophy of history appears to be an exaggerated analogy. Given this direction of interpretation it is no wonder that Lakatos’ congeniality with French Continental, especially post-structuralist philosophers is stressed in the final chapter.


00A30 Philosophy of mathematics
00A35 Methodology of mathematics
01-01 Introductory exposition (textbooks, tutorial papers, etc.) pertaining to history and biography
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century
01A70 Biographies, obituaries, personalia, bibliographies