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HISTORIA MAGISTRA SCIENTIAE

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<title> ABSTRACT </title>The present essay aims to suggest that a didactic view of biography, largely inspired by Plutarch's Lives, prevailed among early modern accounts of the lives of great scientists, since they treated their subjects as examplars, models of a kind of intellectual and moral "virtue" not to be found in the canons of traditional culture.According to such perspective, scientific biographies of the Modem Age played a pedagogical role, shaping the outlines of an ideal portrait of the man of science, an ideal which was to be followed by those who wanted to investigate nature.On this ground, scientific biographies contributed to the process that made science a profession, fostering the spread of the acquaintance of the methods, rules, deontology, values, goals, and codes of conduct distinctive of the scientific enterprise. Hence, one might conclude that beyond its traditional, Ciceronian characterization as magistra vitae ("guidance in life"), history would also have served as magistra scientiae ("guidance in science"), since biographical genre contributed to the growth of the scientific enterprise, by attending the promotion of the innovative, anti-traditionalist figures of its protagonists.

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/content/journals/10.1163/182539106x00050
2006-01-01
2016-12-03

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