Knowledge and the Public Interest, 1575-1725

Knowledge and the Public Interest, 1575-1725

By: Vera Keller (author)Hardback

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Many studies relate modern science to modern political and economic thought. Using one shift in order to explain the other, however, has begged the question of modernity's origins. New scientific and political reasoning emerged simultaneously as controversial forms of probabilistic reasoning. Neither could ground the other. They both rejected logical systems in favor of shifting, incomplete, and human-oriented forms of knowledge which did not meet accepted standards of speculative science. This study follows their shared development by tracing one key political stratagem for linking human desires to the advancement of knowledge: the collaborative wish list. Highly controversial at the beginning of the seventeenth century, charismatic desiderata lists spread across Europe, often deployed against traditional sciences. They did not enter the academy for a century but eventually so shaped the deep structures of research that today this once controversial genre appears to be a musty and even pedantic term of art.

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About Author

Vera Keller (PhD, Princeton University) is an Assistant Professor of History at Robert D. Clark Honors College, University of Oregon. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including, most recently, the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography and the Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.


1. Collecting the future in the early modern past; Part I. Origins: 2. Knowledge in ruins; 3. A charlatan's promise; Part II. Inventing the Wish List: 4. Jakob Bornitz and the joy of things; 5. Francis Bacon's new world of sciences; 6. Things fall apart: desiderata in the Hartlib circle; 7. Rebelling against useful knowledge; Part III. Institutionalizing Desire: 8. Restoring societies: the Orphean charms of science; 9. What men want: the private and public interests of the Royal Society; 10. Enemy camps: desiderata and priority disputes; 11. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and the hubris of the wish list; 12. Georg Hieronymus Welsch's fiction of consensus; 13. Wish lists enter the Academy: a new intellectual economy; 14. No final frontiers.

Product Details

  • publication date: 10/11/2015
  • ISBN13: 9781107110137
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 310
  • ID: 9781107110137
  • weight: 630
  • ISBN10: 1107110130

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