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Autumn 2010 Epistemic Objects III: The Concept of the "Thing" and its Cultures

Organized by Günter Abel (TU Berlin) Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (MPIWG)


Since Michel Foucault’s Les mots et les choses (1966), the concept of „thing“ (Ding, chose) has gained new currency in philosophical, historical, social, and cultural studies of science and of knowledge. The turn to the material side of science, the “scientific real” (Bachelard), in its many guises, is the focus of this workshop. Specifically, it asks for and intends to analyze the peculiar role of the concept of “thing” as compared to the more common notion of scientific, or knowledge, “object.” To this end, it tries to bring together philosophers, historians, sociologists, and literary and cultural critics in a common reflection on past and present uses of the concept of “thing” for the study of knowledge phenomena.