The scientific image of the world cannot be understood without tracing its history and ways of its formation. Systematic historical research began only in the XIX century. The first objective of the history of science was chronological systematization of the success in various branches of science. To date, a vast historical base of achievements in almost all fields of knowledge, especially the various branches of natural science, has been created.
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Another group of historical and scientific problems, which focused its attention on the development of scientific ideas and problems has formed, allowing reconstruction of main traditions, topics, and issues that were specific to some particular disciplines, with a constant update of scientific ideas. Then, there was an increased attention to the “human element” of scientific activity and the main task was the reconstruction of the socio-cultural and ideological contexts of the scientific creativity, the analysis of tradition in scientific communities from different eras and regions, reconstruction of the external environment, which contributes to or hinders the development of scientific ideas, theories, and approaches.
The formation of the history of science had several ways:
- forming chronological scale of achievements in various scientific disciplines, demonstrating continued growth of knowledge from antiquity to the present day;
- reconstruction of thought, reasoning and evidence by scholars of the past, the controversy with the ideas of their predecessors and contemporaries;
- definition of social and cultural contexts causing the development of knowledge, as well as external conditions and factors, which was formed under the influence of the scientist, his existence in the socio-cultural context of his time.
The two traditions are being discussed for the study of the history of Science: presentism, which can be described as an aspiration to reconstruct the past from the modern state of mind and science, and antiquarism, which implies a desire to restore the past in its totality, without references to the present. Both traditions have their pros and cons; and appealing to the one and the other causes certain problems.
Thus, when studying the history of science, you cannot establish a direct contact with the past. Today researches face the need to describe the experience of the ancient scholars that took place in the different culture, i.e. the problem of understanding the past.
Thus, the development of knowledge-it is a historical process in which existing knowledge systems are being constantly redrawn, rebuilt, some sections are being excluded, while are other often borrowed from distant disciplines. Moreover, each researcher sees the works of both the scholars of the past and the present, i.e. in its historical development science is built on the past achievements, sometimes changing them beyond recognition.
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