Before a brief crit of Brendan Larvor’s book on Lakatos, a reminder to check out Joe Agassi’s brief but comprehensive account of Popper’s career, in case people have not read the recent comments on the site. This is a really helpful overview and a nice complement or supplement to my series of guides in the Popular Popper series.
Larvor’s book Lakatos: An Introduction appeared in 1998 and it is supposed to provide “a thorough overview of both Lakatos’ thought and his place in twentieth century philosophy. It is an essential and insightful read for students and anyone interested in the philosophy of science.”
For those who are interested in the relationship between Popper and Lakatos which is clearly central to his development as a philosopher (after his career as a Stalanist revolutionary in Hungary) it is surprising to find that The Postscript to The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1982, 1983) is not listed in the bibliography and “metaphysical research programs” do not score an entry in the index.
In the text Popper’s philosophy of science is described as “ahistorical”. This has covered up the truth about Popper’s approach which is historical through and through, and also the source of Lakatos’ ideas about research programs. Agassi is missing from the index and the bibliography as well, never mind all the historical work that he did on metaphysical programs.
Published by Routledge, this is a very poor reflection on the author, his colleagues and also the publisher’s readers and editors.