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Elusive Knowledge in Transfer

Subproject by professor Ulrike Schneider

This subproject focuses on Dominique Bouhours and Antoine Gombaud as crucial agents of cultural and social life in France during the second half of the 17th century. It investigates the ways in which these two writers tackle forms of elusive knowledge and in which the different genres of their texts determine the specific conceptualizations of elusive knowledge in their own way. Particular attention is paid to the historical examination and systematic positioning of the two categories je ne sais quoi (Bouhours) and justesse (Méré). Thereby, the subproject analyses various facets of transfer processes and of institutional frameworks and settings. With this approach, the project assesses the claim to validity ascribed to elusive knowledge during the siècle classique. Based on the texts’ reflections and, partially, their problematizations of this epistemic mode, the project also aims at both a theoretical delineation of elusive knowledge and a systematization of different strategies of conceptualizing this epistemic mode within the textual discourse.