Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoGuy View Post
I like your comparison between philosophers and historians of science regarding agendas. I spent a couple of decades running a molecular biology/cell biology lab and also have an MA in history of science and medicine. Believe me, scientists, as well as philosophers, and not naifs merely searching for truth. They have an agenda as well.

By the way, I recognize but can't place your avatar picture. I think I saw it in the TLS years ago. Some later famous French intellectual as a kid on the beach with his mother. Who is it?
Yes, it was in a TLS article about the Cannes film festival. The people are Briget Bardot (in 1955) and an unknown boy (an autograph hound?). AS a photographic moment it seems to have caught their expressions in two different relaxed modes of self-satisfaction.

As for agendas, I think the recognition that agendas are complicated, heterogeneous things that can change in all kinds of ways, may be one of the greatest philosophical advances of the 20th Century. Unfortunately for the Big Thoughts status of philosophy, if agendas are often in flux and yet are important in some ways, the correct methodology for figuring out what people are up to and how they think is more or less in the realm of fine-grained history. The most noticible area (for me anyway) where this has a valuable impact is in looking at how the sciences (need a thread?) work.
I think most people who actively work with anything resembling science (need a thread?) now recognize the dynamic nature of scientific agendas and the importance of following them day-to-day to get a real idea of what goes on when people try to figure things out.