Project (2018)

Good Science: Epistemic Values and Scholarly Reputations in Europe, 1770–1830

The present project is aimed at confronting the processes of institutionalization, professionalization, and specialization of knowledge with the hypothesis of a reconfiguration of values and scientific norms in Europe at the juncture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Indeed, these three processes generated boundaries (between the inside and the outside of institutions, between insiders and outsiders of the intellectual professions) as well as hierarchical divisions (between scholars, institutions, and disciplines).

The issue then is to question the reformulation of scientific credit as that which links scholarly reputations with epistemic values. Two questions lie at the heart of my current research. Do the institutionalization and professionalization of knowledge result in a better correspondence between epistemic values defining the good scientific object, the good utterance, the good scholar, or the good institution? Does the specialization of knowledge lead to an increasing divergence among the value systems attached to disciplines?

In Berlin, I will be working particularly with the archives of Preußische Akademie der Wissenschaften at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries.