In the last twenty years Franco Moretti’s ‘distant reading’ approach has provided a fresh understanding of literature and its historical development not by studying in detail a few particular texts (as in the so-called ‘close reading’), but rather by aggregating and analyzing large amounts of information.
The central role of data in this approach is not determined only by their quantity. It is also important to look for different kinds of data, not investigated before, drawn from a variety of sources. In this sense this approach may be regarded as a form of Data-Driven Research in the humanities.
The authors of this blog share the conviction that it is now time to apply Distant Reading and Data-Driven Research to the history of thought, and in particular to the history of philosophy, very broadly conceived.
This kind of methodological innovation can be of interest for scholars working on different historical periods (ancient, medieval, modern, contemporary) and from the perspective of different fields (history of philosophy, history of science, history of ideas and intellectual history, sociology of knowledge, and so forth).
The blog is intended as a way to raise attention on this approach, as an opportunity to communicate results and discuss tools and techniques of our research, and as a space for open and public peer-reviewing of our research work.