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Doubt and Its Names


This project deals with a root of Western culture: doubt. Its chief aim is produce a history of Renaissance doubt by comparing the professional philosophers’ treatment of doubt to a wider range of contemporary sceptical attitudes. It will single out a select group of concepts of sceptical interest – such as doubt, uncertainty, conjecture, and so on – from well-known Renaissance sources that belong to an eminently ‘conjectural’ discipline such as philology, or more precisely textual criticism. The proposed research aims at identifying the sceptical elements within philology by shedding new light on humanist editorial practices (e.g. critical apparatus, running commentaries, etc.). It will focus on the exact conditions which led outstanding Renaissance philologists such as Angelo Poliziano and Erasmus of Rotterdam, Lorenzo Valla and Beatus Rhenanus, to name only a few, to suspend judgment about a controversial text. This project embraces a strongly interdisciplinary method. Besides textual criticism, it will explore doubt in other non-philosophical domains, such as medicine, law, and history, in order to point out both theoretical connections and historical interactions between these disciplines, and map out doubt and its names in the early modern period. The concrete aim of the project is to produce a monograph entitled ‘Doubt and its names’.

Call for proposal

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Malet Street Senate House
WC1E 7HU London
United Kingdom

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Peter Niven (Mr.)
EU contribution
€ 326 565,05