What is the role of exactitude in the genesis of knowledge? The aim of this decidedly interdisciplinary research project is to analyze, together with our international partner Columbia University in New York City, the historical development, theoretical structure, and practical efficacy of those procedures that, beyond the natural sciences and engineering, shape knowledge production in art, social science, and humanities contexts. The central question is how, within each academic discipline and area of research, a specific concept of exactitude determines the manner in which knowledge is gleaned and embedded. Through which representations, media, and practices is it realized and how does it directly modify the results-prints and paintings, literary texts, economic prognoses-and, not least, the very methodology of the discipline? After a fundamental clarification of terms and concepts, we shall-on the basis of case studies-analyze the conditions and genesis of the cultural techniques, rhetoric, and representations of exactitude. Aim is to determine the way in which ideas of ›exact‹ work are similar across the disciplines as well as how they differ and where they mutually effect one another. To date, there has been almost no reflection on the fact that the varying methodologies of the arts, the humanities, and the social sciences make recourse to specific concepts of scientific exactitude, whether in researching, reading, judging, interpreting, describing, correcting, producing, narrativizing, or revising. Neither has the role of exactitude in the theoretical toolbox of the humanities yet been analyzed in any depth.
The project consists of four research parts: Image (Ubl), Writing (Honold), Number (Dommann), and Cultural Techniques (Krajewski). The structure follows a historical and a systematic axis: The historical axis shall structure the reconstruction of media of exactitude in the social sciences and humanities along a historical trajectory. It builds a temporal arc (from the Greek ακρίβεια to algorithmic precision in the digital humanities) within which the ideals, procedures, and forms of representation of generation of exact knowledge can be placed. The systematic axis shall differentiate between the individual processes and practices through which exactitude is created, secured, and verified in varying methods, as well as in work and research routines. In these explorations, all research parts refuse both a one-sided anthropocentric view of exact work as the purview of (ingenious) scientific, scholarly and artistic subjects as well as a purely technical definition as precision aided by instruments. Instead they examine specific medial practices, means of representation, and epistemological ideals of exactitude in the context of images, writing, and numbers through a historical and systematic study of the cultural techniques with which they are engendered and applied (such as, for example, comparing, correcting, detailing, classifying, controlling, etc.)..subpro
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Members of the Sinergia-Project