Creative Experiments: Heuristic and Exploratory Experimentation in Early Modern Science

24-25 March 2012
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest


  • Center for the Logic, History and Philosophy of Science, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest
  • Research Center for the Foundations of Modern Thought, University of Bucharest
  • Convenor: Dana Jalobeanu


    Faculty of Philosophy

    Splaiul Independentei 204 Bucharest

    This third edition of the Bucharest colloquium in early modern science is organized as an event of the grant PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0719: From natural history to science: the emergence of experimental philosophy

    The past decade has seen a renewed interest in early modern experimentation. In particular, in its cognitive, psychological and social facets, as well as the complex interrelations between epistemic categories like experience, observation and experiment. Meanwhile, comparatively little has been done towards providing a more detailed, contextual and specific study of what might be described, a bit anachronistically, as the methodology of early modern experimentation. This ‘methodology’ comprises the ways in which philosophers, naturalists, promoters of mixed mathematics and artisans put experiments together, and the ways in which they reflected on the capacity of experiments to extend, refine and test hypotheses, on the limits of experimental activity, and on the heuristic power of experimentation.

    So far, the sustained interest in the role played by experiments in early modern science has usually centered on ‘evidence’-related problems. This line of investigation favors examination of the experimental results but neglected the ‘methodology’ that brought about the results in the first place. It also neglects the creative and exploratory roles that experiments could and did play in the works of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century explorers of nature.

    This colloquium aims to investigate particular cases of early modern experiments or early modern discussions of experimental methodology. We aim to put together a selection of interesting and perhaps relevant case studies that might lead to an innovative and fruitful line of research, namely the investigation of the heuristic, analogical and creative role of early modern experiments.

    The intention of the organizers is to publish some or all the papers presented at the colloquium as a special issue of the Journal of Early Modern Studies. In view of this, the participants are kindly asked to circulate their papers 1 week before the beginning of the workshop.

    Invited speakers:

    Daniel Garber (Princeton University), Stephen Clucas (Birkbeck College, University of London), Christoph Lüthy (Radboud University, Nijmegen), Cesare Pastorino (University of Sussex), Epaminondas Vampoulis (University of Thessaloniki), Sorana Corneanu (University of Bucharest), Sebastian Mateiescu (New Europe College and University of Bucharest), Ian Stewart (University of King’s College, Halifax), Maarten van Dyck (University of Ghent), Martine Pecharman (Maison Francaise, Oxford), Vlad Alexandrescu (University of Bucharest), Doina Cristina Rusu (University of Bucharest, Radboud University, Nijmegen), Madalina Giurgea (University of Ghent), Mihnea Dobre (University of Bucharest), Laura Georgescu (University of Bucharest), Robert Lazu (New Europe College, Bucharest), Grigore Vida (New Europe College, Bucharest), Dana Jalobeanu (University of Bucharest).