In Europe

Por • 12 feb, 2020 • Sección: Crítica

Jeroen van Dongen

As the History of Science Society, which is based in America, holds its annual meeting in Utrecht, one of the key academic centers on the European continent, one may surmise that the field has returned home. Yet, this hardly reflects how today’s world of scholarship is constituted: in the historiography of science, ‘provincializing Europe’ has become an important theme, while the field itself, as is the case across the world of academia, is centered around a predominantly American literature. At the same time, ever since historians of science have emancipated themselves from the sciences a long time ago, they often have appeared, in the public eye, to question rather than to seek to bolster the authority of the sciences. How has this situation come about, and what does it tell us about the world we live in today? What insight is sought and what public benefit is gained by the historical study of science? As we try to answer these questions, we will follow a number of key mid-twentieth century historians–Eduard Dijksterhuis, Thomas Kuhn and Martin Klein–in their Atlantic crossings. Their answers to debates on the constitution of the early modern scientific revolution or the novelty of the work of Max Planck will illustrate how notions of ‘center’ and ‘periphery’ have shifted–and what that may tell us about being ‘in Europe’ today.

arXiv:2002.01300v1 [physics.hist-ph]

History and Philosophy of Physics (physics.hist-ph)

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