Dear colleagues,

We are looking for a person interested to be the chairman of our session “Science and Common Good” (see below) in the framework of the Annual American Society for 18th-Century Studies (Boston, 24-28 mars, 2004). If you are interested, please send a short presentation to <[email protected]>.

Best, Gilles DENIS

Annual ASECS Conference in Boston, March 24-28, 2004 Session Science and Common Good

Organizer: Gilles Denis, University of Lille 1, France

1- Walter H. Keithley, Arizona State University – Paper title: “Sprat, Glanvill, and Oldenburg Again: The Rhetoric of Restoration Scientific Apology Revisited”

2- Eduardo Romero de Oliveira, University of Saõ Paulo, Brasil – Paper title: “The natural philosophy: a new advice for princes tradition”

3- Geraldine Sheridan, University of Limerick, Ireland – Paper title “The role of René-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur in inventing ‘Technology’, with specific reference to the techniques of illustration developed for the Académie Royale des Sciences.”

4- Gilles Denis, University of Lille 1, France – Paper title “International learned mobilization for improving agriculture”

5- Julia V. Douthwaite, University of Notre Dame, IN – Paper title: “Human Perfectibility: Results of Some 18th-c Experiments.”

Brief description of the topic: Mathieu Tillet (1714-1791), metalurgist scholar, worked upon ductility and corn diseases. He explained in 1755 that between the two possible aims of his researches – common good (bien public) and improvement in physics (progres de la physique) – he favored the first goal, one which concerns all men as citizen and not only some of them as learned people. This kind of declaration is very common during the 18th century in relation for example to seeking improvement in trades or in agriculture. Science is more and more presented as a means to improve the human condition. We can find already of course this kind of aim during the 17th century – for example in Locke – but it became very common during the 18th century; often the goal of improving the human conditions and works proposed by numerous authors as a justification for the science. Following the empirism – of Hume – and the sensualism – of Condillac – before the utilitarianism, science seemed for some authors able no other aim. Some learned persons or learned groups leaned on that to propose useful role for their particular field of science. Some political or administrative persons or groups incite the learned world to work out different useful problems. This session seeks to put together perspectives from different fields so to better define this movement in favour of the utility of sciences – a key feature of the new societies.