In this presentation I will address two questions, and in trying to lay down a possible answer I will touch on different aspects of my research. The main question is: did a certain number of French authors instantiate a specific and recognizable kind of epistemological attitude towards the historiography of concepts? The secondary question is: is the notion of style in the history of science applicable to the history of epistemology? I will try first to describe the problematic context represented by historical epistemology (HEP). To do so, I will try to analyze the relations between Foucault and the philosophically-minded histories of the sciences produced by Bachelard and Canguilhem, by making their respective notions of historicity, objectivity and truth fruitfully interact. Then, I will try to show that the concept of style and its variations are central within contemporary HEP. Finally, I will try to account for HEP in terms of the “emergence” of a “new historiographical style”. In conclusion, I will highlight some of the limits of this peculiar recursive application of ‘style’ and will also draw more general conclusions on the reasons for such limitations.
The paper and a supplimentary reading by Jean-François Braumstein are linked below and may be downloaded here.