3rd Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science

Bucharest Colloquium in Early Modern Science is a yearly event organized by CELFIS (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest) and the Research Center FME (University of Bucharest). This third edition is an event of the grant PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0719: From natural history to science: the emergence of experimental philosophy, director of grant Dana Jalobeanu.

CREATIVE EXPERIMENTS: HEURISTIC AND EXPLORATORY EXPERIMENTATION IN EARLY MODERN SCIENCE

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.