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Home > Axes of research > Interdisciplinarity in history and philosophy of science 2018-2022 > 1 Writings and uses of the past of sciences

Axis Interdisciplinarity in history and philosophy of science

1 Writings and uses of the past of sciences

Thematics of research / Members / 2018–2022

Research on how the history of ancient mathematics has been written since the eighteenth century has been fruitful, and we intend to continue this work, first of all with a view to finalizing the work in preparation (Writing histories of ancient mathematics, 18th - 21st centuries} (eds Chemla, Keller, Proust).

Some actors in the history of ancient mathematics seem particularly important. We therefore plan to devote specific work to them, in the form of study days, conferences and publications. This is for the United States, D. E. Smith, and Florian Cajori, and in Europe, H. T. Colebrooke.

The categories used in writing the history of science (school, tradition, network, progress, ...) require a critical analysis that we have chosen to start with a historiographical study. For example, we will explore the story of the idea of ​​"Kerala School" in Indian mathematics. It is also in this perspective that the collective project, defined with Lei Hsiang-Lin (Academia Sinica, Taiwan), is based on the history and contemporary use of the "modern" and "traditional" categories. This project is common with the "Center for a History of Science seen from Asia".

With the sub-axis "History and Philosophy of Mathematics, 19th-21st" centuries, we will conduct a study of the relationships between mathematical activities of actors and their research in history of mathematics. With sub-axis "Numbers, quantities, measures", we will prepare a collective book on the nebula of works (in philology, linguistics, anthropology ...) which, particularly in the nineteenth century, undertook to describe the various names of numbers, numeration systems and arithmetic operations on a global scale.

With "History of science, History of the text", we will continue the exploration of the history of the constitutions of collections of documents / objects in which our actors drew from sources of history of sciences as well as the examination of the writing and uses of the catalogs. The genres mobilized for the writing of the history of science, in particular the biographies, will also be the subject of work. We will continue to study how some actors have argued that science is located in national, ethnic or religious collectives. This idea had an impact on the forms of science education which wanted to be better adapted to given collectives. The history of universality of science ideas, their uses and their rejections will also be the subject of specific work.
We will be interested, more generally, in the modalities of the presence of the past of sciences in their present.

In the continuity of the MEREAF project (2011-2015), Guillaume Lachenal will continue his research in Africa on how science and medicine are the subject of memory investments, in connection with debates on heritage and colonial heritage or nostalgia for "years of independence".

Members / Thematics /

Researchers – PhDs students – Post-Docs
DE VARENT Charlotte
MICHEL Nicolas
PROUST Christine
TIMOTEI Paul-Emmanuel
WANG Xiaofei
ZHOU Xiaohan