“Principe says on p. 78 (see also p. 104) that what are today seen as “landmark” experiments in the history of science were in their own day viewed as much more ambiguous and controversial. Only in hindsight do we see these events as marking significant discoveries. Do you think the same might be said of the “landmark” canonical texts of the humanities? Bonus points if you use a Unit 1 reading as your example”
As soon as I read this passage, the first author and historical figure I thought of was Marx. He is still seen as such a controversial figure today, and was just as controversial during his life. I think many times the writings that we view as monumental or turning points as history were seen as weird or random during their time. I wonder what ordinary people reading “The Communist Manifesto” or the “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts” were thinking about them at the time. Did they think they were just crazy ramblings? An interesting way that the humanities differ from science is that different opinions or ideas in the sciences, especially throughout history, were seen as flat out wrong if they differed from the norm, even though as scientists they should have been looking to actually prove ideas right or wrong with the scientific method instead of just brushing them off. In the humanities, since there are less “facts” and more opinions, all the different opinions are regarded more equally. Although some, like Marx, were brushed off as being too radical.
The lecture and readings got me thinking a lot about those who made amazing advancements but for the wrong idea (like an Earth-centric solar system), and how forgotten they are. Should we focus more on the people and their discoveries along the paths to our modern ideas, or only discuss the catalyst thinkers?