Peter Mack (University of Warwick)
Brian Ogilvie (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Joanna Picciotto (University of California, Berkeley)
“… that which we take for true being is actually a method.”
The desire for method shaped the culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Method’s importance to early modernity can be felt in proportion to its variety, as there was not one method but several. While the subject has long been a focal point for historians of science, methods are found in many renaissance arts, including grammar, logic and rhetoric; poetry, history and philosophy; and theology, politics and ethics. What were these methods, and why were they held in such high social and cultural esteem? Which methods—e.g., Lullist, Ramist, Jesuit—affected which areas of inquiry, and how? To what extent were the fundamental achievements of the period—such as humanist pedagogy, popular drama and vernacular devotion—results of methodization, or reactions against it?