The workshop 'Epistemic Virtues in the Sciences and the Humanities' brings together historians of science and historians of the humanities by exploring to what extent the influential nineteenth-century division line between the natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) and the humanities (Geisteswissenschaften) existed on the level of epistemic virtues.
The distinction between the natural sciences and the humanities not only became a crucial feature of the self-image of emerging humanities disciplines around 1900 – with the sciences serving as their positive and/or negative 'other' – but also shaped the history of science by providing the nomenclature of 'sciences' and 'humanities' as well as by creating a division of labour between 'historians of science' and 'historians of the humanities.'
Epistemic virtues are the character traits (dispositions, attitudes) that scholars have to practice in order to gain such epistemic goods as knowledge, understanding, and explanation. Epistemic virtues are the marks of what nineteenth-century scholars called a 'scientific mind' or a 'scholarly personality.' Accordingly, the concept of epistemic virtues draws attention, not primarily to scholarly methods, paradigms, epistemologies, institutions, or discourses, but to the person of the scholar, or to the kind of behaviour that, at some point in time, was considered as distinctive of good scholarly conduct.
Among the speakers are Rens Bod (Amsterdam), Kasper Risbjerg Eskildsen (Roskilde), Ian James Kidd (Durham), Matthew Stanley (New York), and Jessica Wang (Vancouver). The workshop is organised with the support of Utrecht University's Descartes Centre and open to public.
Download programme (pdf)