The Emergence of Impartiality


This volume exposes the contested history of a virtue so central to modern disciplines and public discourse that it can seem universal. The essays gathered here, however, demonstrate the emergence of impartiality. From the early seventeenth century, the new epithet ‘impartial’ appears prominently in a wide range of publications. Contributors trace impartiality in various fields: from news publications and polemical pamphlets to moral philosophy and historical dictionaries, from poetry and drama to natural history, in a broad European context and against the backdrop of religious and civil conflicts. Cumulatively, the volume suggests that the emergence of impartiality is implicated in the period’s epochal shifts in epistemology and science, religious and political discourse, print culture, and scholarship. Contributors include: Jörg Jochen Berns, Tamás Demeter, Derek Dunne, Anne Eusterschulte, Christine Gerrard, Rainer Godel, N.J.S. Hardy, Rhodri Lewis, Hanns-Peter Neumann, Joad Raymond, Bernd Roling, Bastian Ronge, Richard Scholar, Nathaniel Stogdill, Anita Traninger, and Anja Zimmermann.
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Biographical Note

Anita Traninger, Ph.D. (1998), is Einstein Junior Fellow at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Freie Universität Berlin. Her areas of research include the history of rhetoric and dialectics, literature and discourses of knowledge in early modern Europe, and the fact/fiction divide. Kathryn Murphy, D.Phil. (2009), is Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oriel College, Oxford. Her research focuses on early modern English prose, discourses of knowledge, and the reception of ancient philosophy.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements Notes on the Editors Notes on the Contributors List of Illustrations Introduction: Instances of Impartiality KATHRYN MURPHY AND ANITA TRANINGER 1. PREHISTORIES OF IMPARTIALITY Taking Sides and the Prehistory of Impartiality ANITA TRANINGER Reasons for Holding Back in Two Essays of Montaigne RICHARD SCHOLAR 2. NEWS AND IMPARTIALITY Parteylichkeit and the Periodical Press JÖRG JOCHEN BERNS Exporting Impartiality JOAD RAYMOND 3. LITERATURE, POLITICS, AND THE LAW ‘Partialitie in a Iudge, is a Turpitude’: Partial Judges and Impartial Revengers in Early Modern English Drama DEREK DUNNE ‘Out of Books and Out of Themselves’: Invigorating Impartiality in Early Modern England NATHAN STOGDILL The Language of Impartiality and Party-Political Discourse in England, 1680–1745 CHRISTINE GERRARD 4. IMPARTIALITY IN CONTROVERSY Impartiality and Disingenuousness in English Rational Religion RHODRI LEWIS The Rise of Controversies and the Function of Impartiality in the Early Eighteenth Century RAINER GODEL Objectivity, Impartiality, and Hermeneutics in the Leibnizian-Wolffian Debates between 1720 and 1750 HANNS-PETER NEUMANN 5. IMPARTIALITY AND THE HISTORY OF SCHOLARSHIP Impartiality and the Early Modern ars critica: The Case of John Selden’s Historie of Tithes (1618) NICK HARDY Pierre Bayle’s Dictionaire historique et critique: Historical Criticism and Impartiality of Judgement ANNE EUSTERSCHULTE 6. A VIEW FROM NOWHERE: IMPARTIALITY AND MORAL PHILOSOPHY Morals Before Objectivity: On the Relation of Moral Cognition and Moral Philosophy in Hume TAMÁS DEMETER Between Impartiality and Parrhesia: Adam Smith’s Figure of the Impartial Spectator BASTIAN RONGE 7. IMPARTIALITY AND THE ART OF OBSERVATION Impartiality in the Matrix of Taxonomy: Carl von Linné and Folklore BERND ROLING Truth Rather Than Elegance: A Paradoxical Case of Impartiality in Alexander Cozens’s Principles of Beauty (1778) ANJA ZIMMERMANN Index


Those interested in the history of knowledge, the history of print culture and the mass media, aesthetics, religion, politics, literature, moral philosophy, history, natural history and the sciences.