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
Natural Philosophies of Fortune—Luck, Vitality, and Uncontrolled Relatedness
Giovanni da Col
Despite the resurgence of interdisciplinary interest in concepts of fortune, luck, and chance, anthropology has failed to engage with the social imagination of these concepts and their incorporation into quotidian moralities and decisions. This essay, which introduces the first of two special issues on this topic, will first present different conceptions and uses of notions of luck and chance and their relation with moral ontologies and notions of skeptical efficacy. By focusing on the interface between cosmology, economics, and human relatedness—that is, cosmoeconomics—this introduction shall then highlight how idioms of luck and fortune foreground a social topology that explicates how innate conceptions of vitality and 'mystical' influence, deemed to be of uncertain and uncontrolled nature, are nonetheless able to connect humans and non-humans, organisms and material entities.
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.