Article ID: CBB110547920

The Flow of Cognitive Goods: A Historiographical Framework for the Study of Epistemic Transfer (2019)


Historians of science have described various cases of disciplines influencing one another. Such exchanges across disciplinary boundaries often signal innovation, intellectual change, and breakthroughs. A satisfactory framework from which the historical phenomenon of epistemic transfer between disciplines can be studied systematically, however, has not yet been proposed. This essay introduces the notion of “cognitive goods,” a tool of knowledge making that can be transferred across disciplinary boundaries. Cognitive goods include, for example, methods, concepts, and instruments. The essay proposes to study historical interactions between disciplines as instances of the “flow” of cognitive goods. The notion of cognitive goods may serve as a springboard for a systematic analysis of flows occurring throughout the history of the disciplines. Such an analysis could be instrumental for an integrated historiography of knowledge, including the humanities and the natural and social sciences.

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Authors & Contributors
Feest, Uljana
Sturm, Thomas
Edelstein, Dan
Gierl, Martin
Misa, Thomas J.
Zammito, John H.
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Technology and Culture
Erkenntnis: International Journal of Analytic Philosophy
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Voltaire Foundation
University of Chicago Press
Amsterdam University Press
Historical method
Interdisciplinary approach to knowledge
History of science, as a discipline
Historical reconstruction
Bonnet, Charles
Gatterer, Johann Christoph
Reinhart Koselleck
Comte, Auguste
Canguilhem, Georges
Crick, Francis
Time Periods
21st century
18th century
12th century

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