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Epistemic Objects


Günter Abel (TU Berlin), Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (MPIWG
), Jürgen Renn (MPIWG)


In order to provide a common discussion ground for historians of science along with art historians and philosophers, the group began with a consciously broad definition of an ‘epistemic object’ to include anything which attracts our epistemic curiosity. Within a scientific context, epistemic objects are the basic objects of research, such as viruses, electrons, or brain mechanisms.
Since their first meeting in August 2007, the members set up a series of research colloquia to examine the concept of the epistemic object from philosophical and historical perspectives. The first Research Colloquium Epistemic Objects dealt with the dynamics of epistemic objects as well as their relations to signs and modelling, amongst other subjects. A second colloquium on the concept of ‘challenging objects’ and a third on ‘The Concept of the “Thing”’ are being planned. The research colloquia are intended to have an exploratory character, with a round table discussion an integral part of the format. In addition a reading group for classic texts on epistemic objects was formed.
Additionally a reading group has been set up meeting at the TU Berlin.