Many years ago I discovered a group on the early Internet called the History of the Philosophy of Science (HOPOS) news group. I was just exploring some news groups in the wee hours of the night as I tried to stay awake at work. I made contact with some very interesting people on that site. I still don't know how I was able to join that group. I probably just got missed and somehow authorized.
There was a lot of traffic between these high-level academician. Not a lot of argument or discussion, but much communication. I even participated a few times, though this was a far different world than the one in which I lived.
I had not realized such a field existed. I knew about science and scientists. I knew about history and historians. I knew a bit about philosophy and philosophers. This, however, had some very interesting implications. There was a separate field of philosophy that related to science. In addition to that, there were historians who studied the history of the philosophy of science.
I found this fascinating. A field of scholarship defined in such a way. I wondered what other fields had defined philosophies, and histories of those philosophies. How did they originate? How did they develop?
Since that time I have discovered interesting little niches in academia. The University of California at Santa Cruz has a clutch of scholars dedicated to Charles Dickens. These scholars coordinate with similar enclaves in other universities around the world. All of this energy focused on a popular writer from another century and another land.
Science as a field grew over time. The philosophy upon which modern science is based also developed over time, and helped shape the future growth of science. It makes sense that the development of this philosophy should have a formal history. Knowledge of that history would inform and shape both the development of science and the future of the philosophy of science.
Any other field of human endeavor could be similarly defined by a history, a philosophy, and a history of that philosophy. It is unlikely that most fields would be formally defined and studied in this manner, yet it is interesting to see that at least informally most fields develop in this way.
There would probably not be a very large amount of money available for scholars working on the history of the philosophy of tatting, but it seems a sure bet that both the history and philosophy exist informally in the minds of those who tat.
It almost seems worth writing the grant application, doesn't it?
Then and Now
1 hour ago