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Journal Articles British Journal for the History of Science Year : 2012

Openness versus Secrecy?

Koen Vermeir


Traditional historiography of science has constructed secrecy in opposition to openness. In the first part of the paper, I will challenge this opposition. Openness and secrecy are often interlocked, impossible to take apart, and they might even reinforce each other. They should be understood as positive categories that do not necessarily stand in opposition to each other. In the second part of this paper, I call for a historicization of the concepts of 'openness' and 'secrecy'. Focussing on the early modern period, I briefly introduce three kinds of secrecy that are difficult to analyse with a simple oppositional understanding of openness and secrecy.
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Dates and versions

halshs-00609361 , version 1 (18-07-2011)
halshs-00609361 , version 2 (27-07-2013)



Koen Vermeir. Openness versus Secrecy?: Historical and Historiographical Remarks. British Journal for the History of Science, 2012, 45 (2), pp.165-188. ⟨10.1017/S0007087412000064⟩. ⟨halshs-00609361v2⟩
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