It is because of this “dialectic” between fact and artifact that, although no philosopher would seriously defend a correspondence theory of truth, it is nevertheless absolutely impossible to be convinced by a purely constructivist account for more than three minutes. Well, let’s say an hour, to be fair. Most philosophy of science since Hume and Kant consists in taking on, evading, hedging, coming back to, recanting, solving, refuting, packing, unpacking this impossible antinomy: that on the one hand facts are experimentally made up and never escape from their manmade settings, and on the other hand it is essential that facts are not made up and that something emerges that is not manmade. Bears in cages pace back and forth within their narrow prisons with less obstinacy and less distress than philosophers and sociologists of science going incessantly from fact to artifact and back.
Is there not a danger that everything that has so far protected the historian in his daily journey and accompanied him until nightfall (the destiny of rationality and teleology of the sciences, the long, continuous labour of thought from period to period, the awakening and the progress of consciousness, its perpetual resumption of itself, the uncompleted, but uninterrupted movement of totalizations, the return to an ever-open source, and finally the historico-transcendental thematic) may disappear, leaving analysis a blank, indifferent space, lacking in both interiority and promise?