The present essay aims to suggest that a didactic view of biography, largely inspired by Plutarch's Lives, prevailed among early modern accounts of the lives of the great scientists, since they treated their subjects as exemplars, models pf a kind of intellectual and moral "virtue" not to be found in the canons of traditional culture. According to such perspective, scientific biographies of the Modern Age played a pedagogical role, shaping the outlines of an ideal portrait of the man of science, an ideal which was to be followed by those who wanted to investigate nature. On this ground, scientific biographies contributed to the process that made science a profession, fostering the sprad of the acquaintance of the methods, rules, deontology, values, goals, and codes of conduct distinctive of the scientific enterprise. Hence, one might conclude that beyond its traditional, Ciceronian characterization as 'magistrate vitae', history would also served as 'magistrate scientiae', since biographic genre contributed to the growth of the scientific enterprise, by attending the promotion of the innovative, anti-traditionalist figures of its protagonists.

Historia Magistra Scientiae. Preliminary Remarks on the Pedagogical Function of Scientific Biographies in the Modern Age

CAMEROTA, MICHELE
2006

Abstract

The present essay aims to suggest that a didactic view of biography, largely inspired by Plutarch's Lives, prevailed among early modern accounts of the lives of the great scientists, since they treated their subjects as exemplars, models pf a kind of intellectual and moral "virtue" not to be found in the canons of traditional culture. According to such perspective, scientific biographies of the Modern Age played a pedagogical role, shaping the outlines of an ideal portrait of the man of science, an ideal which was to be followed by those who wanted to investigate nature. On this ground, scientific biographies contributed to the process that made science a profession, fostering the sprad of the acquaintance of the methods, rules, deontology, values, goals, and codes of conduct distinctive of the scientific enterprise. Hence, one might conclude that beyond its traditional, Ciceronian characterization as 'magistrate vitae', history would also served as 'magistrate scientiae', since biographic genre contributed to the growth of the scientific enterprise, by attending the promotion of the innovative, anti-traditionalist figures of its protagonists.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/19016
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