The Uses of Curiosity in Early Modern France and Germany by Neil Kenny

By Neil Kenny

Why did humans argue approximately interest in France, Germany, and in other places in Europe among the 16th and the eighteenth centuries, much more than at the present time? Why used to be interest a modern subject in early smooth behavior manuals, collage dissertations, medical treatises, sermons, newspapers, novellas, performs, operas, ballets, poems, from Corneille to Diderot, from Johann Valentin Andreae to Gottlieb Spizel? Universities, church buildings, and different associations invoked interest on the way to control wisdom or habit, to set up who should still try and recognize or do what, and below what conditions. in addition to investigating an important episode within the background of information, this examine makes a particular contribution to historiographical debates concerning the nature of "concepts." interest was once continually reshaped by way of the makes use of of it. And but, surprisingly, besides the fact that a lot humans contested what interest used to be, they typically agreed that what they have been disagreeing approximately used to be one and an analogous factor.

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De polup[r]ag mosun a[u]tem, quatenus Jurisprudentiae quoque dispositioni subjicitur, acturus facilè quidem . . ’ [Brunnemann]/Henel 1691, [A2r–v]). 24 ‘When I began writing this exercise, I had seen and read few authors, who had subjected this matter to the anvil of their learned inquiry. 1 University 37 topic that people started debating the less familiar-sounding polypragmosyne and periergia rather than curiositas: all but one of the disputations and orations on curiosity in the 1720s and 1730s highlighted these Greek terms, which were also becoming increasingly useful for some purposes because they still harboured the pejorative meanings that had now become weaker in the Latin term.

Not that those illocutionary aims are always clear: many are now inaccessible; some were more specific than others; not every definition can be precisely linked to particular aims. ). 3 I am trying to link the two, to show how epistemological and moral claims about curiosity had social uses. 3 For a survey of these recent developments, see Golinski 1998. 28 Institutions The uses of curiosity varied by faculty. 4), which is why I treat these faculties in that order rather than according to their usual hierarchy.

28 By contrast, the many university writers who considered curiosity to be wholly or partly positive had a much more difficult task in authorizing this view with reference to older usage. ’ Stolle/Schlosser 1724, [3]–4). See also Bierling/Pestel 1740, 12: ‘curiosity itself has begun to be explored and explained more curiously in recent times’ (‘ipsa curiositas recentioribus demum temporibus curiosius indagari ac explicari coepit’). g. Kromayer/Scherzer/Rechenberg 1675, C3r, E2r. g. Bierling/Pestel 1740, 7; Rinder/Lasius 1699, A[1]v.

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