ERC Project 'NOTCOM'

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NOTCOM is a philosophical study of common notions, collective inquiry, and dissemination strategies in seventeenth-century natural science, with special focus on the role of so-called "common notions". Using a ground-breaking transversal methodology, it studies:

  1. epistemological models of consensus as they emerged from early modern controversies in logic, rhetoric, moral philosophy, theology and law, and how they were re-deployed within natural philosophy;
  2. methods of collective inquiry in early modern natural philosophy;
  3. the role of consensus models and methods of collective inquiry in the public dissemination of early modern natural philosophy;
  4. the actuality of early modern consensus models and methods of collective inquiry in relation to current philosophy of science and science communication studies.

Early modern collective scientific practices have, over the last half century, provided a rich field of study for the sociology and history of philosophy of science. Little attention has, however, been paid to the role that epistemological models of consensus played for the methods governing those practices. Yet the period produced a wealth of such models, often in the context of doctrines of common notions, which informed natural philosophical methods of collective inquiry in myriad ways. These methods were moreover inextricably wound up with complex strategies for the broader public dissemination of science. Some of these, models, methods, and dissemination strategies still have purchase today. More importantly, however, writing their history offers a narrative about philosophy, science, and society with a didactic potential that merits exploration. Combining these four dimensions—consensus models, collective methods, dissemination strategies, and actuality—NOTCOM thus explores the historical background to the current notion of "scientific consensus" and the contemporary uses of writing this history.

Principal investigator: Mogens Laerke

Amélie Berger-Soraruff, European Project Manager
Anne-Sophie Gabillas, Communications Manager
Louis Roquayrol, Postdoctoral Researcher
Niall Dilucia, Postdoctoral Researcher
Mouhamad-Khaly Wélé, Research Engineer

Duration: 01/01/2023 - 31/12/2027
European Union funding: 2.274.814 €

The project is co-hosted by the Maison Française d’Oxford (MFO) and the ENS de Lyon.