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How Can We Historically Describe the Evolution of Knowledge and How Can We Account for It?


Renn,  Jürgen
Department Structural Changes in Systems of Knowledge, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Max Planck Society;

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The history of science traditionally focuses on specific time periods or on scientists that made important discoveries. The research presented in this video by JÜRGEN RENN broadens the perspective and looks at the history of knowledge more generally. With the goal to investigate how knowledge evolves historically the researchers looked at it across time periods and disciplinary boundaries. By tracing three dimensions of knowledge, the cognitive, the material and the social dimension, they detect how each of them influences knowledge evolution. Among others they explain that cognitive structures are being formed by concrete practices and how the carriers of knowledge, be it books or digital media, influence the organization of knowledge and its further evolution.