Enlightenment thinkers sought to extend the boundaries of science to encompass all of humanity and the natural world, with disciplines for the study of art, beauty, experience, society, politics, and physics. In so doing, they proposed new bases for scientific, natural, technological, political, and cultural authority, which destabilized existing institutions and structures of authority while establishing new bases for such power. This category takes as its starting principle the study of these disciplines with a view to their structures, the influence of their contexts, and their achievements and consequences.

Our research group is studying questions such as these: what are the consequences of the idea that all of nature is a machine? What metaphysical assumptions were required for the development of the psychology of attention, and what needed to change to construct the new psychology? How does scientific authority get established? How did medical science, publishing and debating its subjects in the public realm, construct both a specialized scientific community and the public authority of scientists? How do institutions shape what counts as a body of culture? What decides what it is about the arts that we study (e.g. plot, character, tone, morality), how do artworks get integrated into a single artistic discipline, and what subverts the establishment of such disciplines? What is aesthetic perception? Is enjoyment dignified or base, free or mechanical, and what is the nature of human experience that makes this so? How has the concept of a mature citizen or human being shored up class privilege or provided grounds for critiques of culture and society?

The people who headed this group in 2017 are Mark Sentesy,  Meghan Roberts,  John Grey,  Daniel Smith,  and David McCarthy

Below you will find an explore button that goes to all of the group's research and then their featured items.

Featured Items

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More information on the group image can be found here.