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The first Pieter Zeemanlezing organised under auspices of the Vossius Center will be held by Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin). The lecture is titled: On the Narrative Order of Things Experimental.

Detail Summary
Date 2 March 2017
Time 17:00 - 19:30
Location Agnietenkapel
Hans-Jörg Rheinberger


On the Narrative Order of Things Experimental

In the sciences, in one way or another, writing has traditionally been claimed to fulfill the demand to let the things themselves tell their stories. My aim in this lecture is to give this image a particular twist: In taking it up, I intend to subvert it. Posing the question of narration and of narrativity with respect to the representation of scientific knowledge does not only mean to pose the question of its objects and their concatenation, but also the question of the subject of the sciences. In trying to answer this question one stands, sooner or later, before an alternative that can be formulated as follows: Either one lets disappear the scientist behind the transcendence of the - divine or secular – order of things. Or one opposes this kind of hypostatic objectivism and lines up the scientific discourse about the order of things experimental with the stream of all those stories that we humans tell us ourselves. In the lecture, test tube experimentation in the context of the history of molecular biology will serve me as an exemplification of my points.


Hans-Jörg Rheinberger is a molecular biologist and historian of science, and director emeritus of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. His current research interests are history and epistemology of experimentation, history of the life sciences, and the relation between the sciences and the arts. His recent publications include On Historicizing Epistemology (2010); A Cultural History of Heredity (2012, together with Staffan Müller-Wille); Itérations (2013); Natur und Kultur im Spiegel des Wissens (2015); KunstStücke (2015); Die Farben des Tastens (2015).

Pieter Zeemanlezing

The Pieter Zeemanlezing is funded by the Stichting Pieter Zeeman Fonds and organised by the Vossius Center.

Stichting Pieter Zeeman Fonds


17.00 - 17.30 Coffee and tea
17.30 - 18.30 Lecture
18.30 - 19.30 Drinks


The Agnietenkapel has a limited number of seats, so we kindly ask you to register if you wish to attend the lecture.


Oudezijds Voorburgwal 229 - 231
1012 EZ Amsterdam