BACHELARD, GASTON (1884–1962) French scientist, philosopher and literary critic. The development of Bachelard's early work is evident in his career path, which saw him move from the University of Dijon (1930–40), where he lectured on mathematics and physics, to the Sorbonne, where he became Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science (1940–62). In the latter role Bachelard undertook an investigation into the formation of scientific knowledge, which, he argues, develops not so much by way of a gradual accumulation of facts but rather through a combative process that repeatedly challenges current ‘fixed’ modes of thinking and perception. This argument, which is often described as an account of history based on ‘epistemological ...

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