Our present understanding of innovation is closely linked to science and research on the one hand and economy and industry on the other. It has not always been so. Back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the concept was mainly used in religious and political discourses. In these contexts, actors used it in a pejorative sense. Innovation, imagined as a radical transformation, was considered a peril to the established social order. Such was natural philosophers’ understanding. This article documents Francis Bacon’s work as an eminent example of such a representation. To Bacon, natural philosophy and innovation are two distinct spheres of activity. It is documented that Bacon’s uses of the concept of innovation are found mainly in political, legal, and moral writings, not natural philosophy, because to Bacon and all others of his time, innovation is poli tical.
A View from Natural Philosophy
From the English Philosophical Context to the Greek-Speaking Regions of the Ottoman Empire
Eirini Goudarouli and Dimitris Petakos
The Philosophical Grammar: Being a View of the Present State of Experimented Physiology, or Natural Philosophy, In Four Parts (1735) by Benjamin Martin was translated into Greek by Anthimos Gazis in 1799. According to the history of concepts, no political, social, or intellectual activity can occur without the establishment of a common vocabulary of basic concepts. By interfering in the linguistic structure, the act of translation may affect crucially the encounter of different cultures. By bringing together the history of science and the history of concepts, this article treats the transfer of the concept of experiment from the seventeenth-century British philosophical context to the eighteenth-century Greek-speaking intellectual context. The article focuses mainly on the different ways Gazis’s translation contributed to the construction of a particular conceptual framework for the appropriation of new knowledge.