Vangelis Koutalis: Disputing the jurisdiction of the victor: the criticism of Priestley to Lavoisier

Is it legitimate to give again, today, a voice to the defeated in a scientific controversy? Does it deserve the effort to devote time in the contestation not only of the outcomes and the principles of a theory, that have been ratified as “paradigmatic”, but also to the legality of its claims? If this contestation aims at a rational negotiation of objecting rationalities of (contexts of thought, research programs, “paradigms” and so on), then it can possibly show us that during the invention and development of the sciences of modernity, we did not acquire only a breadth of unusual possibilities but also certain opportunities were lost, and certain paths of fertile criticism were closed. In this paper we reexamine the criticism of Priestley to Lavoisier in an attempt to open certain paths for the reevaluation of the beginnings of the science of Chemistry.
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