Speaker: Fabian Krämer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Munich and Visiting Scholar, Center for Science and Society, Columbia University
Historians of science have grown increasingly critical of the notion that a Scientific Revolution occurred in Early Modern Europe. The paper contributes to this discussion by arguing that the rise of different empiricisms in Early Modern science did not happen at the expense of book learning. Based on the award-winning book Ein Zentaur in London, the paper urges us to avoid simple narratives of the victory of empiricism over book learning and pay attention instead to the different forms that empiricism and scholarly reading practices took among early modern naturalists. They never stopped reading – even though their rhetoric sometimes suggests otherwise. What is more, not only their »empirical« practices changed, that is, the ways in which they observed or devises experiments. Their reading practices, too, underwent significant and consequential transformations.
Fabian Krämer is a historian of science interested in the history of the sciences and the humanities from the Renaissance through the nineteenth century and currently on leave from his home university, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Munich. He has two main research interests: (1) the scholarly practices of reading and writing that were shared across the early modern Republic of Letters and their relation to “scientific” observation; (2) the pre-history of the two cultures (C.P. Snow) in the nineteenth century. During the tenure of his stay at the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University, he will be conducting research on how the sciences and the humanities grew apart at institutions of higher learning in the U.S. and Germany.
This event is sponsored by the Center for Science and Society.