Sjang ten Hagen (Amsterdam)
The concept of fact has a history. Over the past few centuries it has acquired different meanings in different contexts. In my talk I will discuss one crucial episode in the history of the “fact”, which occurred around 1800, and bears relevance to the history of the sciences and the humanities. I am going to show that, in the German language, the concept of fact (Thatsache or Faktum) emerged as part of a historical knowledge tradition, which comprised both human and natural empirical study. Furthermore, I will demonstrate how the concept transformed at the beginning of the nineteenth century in the context of discipline formation in the sciences and the humanities.