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New book: Dogmatism: On the History of a Scholarly Vice (open access)

Dogmatism is generally regarded as a bad thing. For scientists in particular, there are few more disconcerting vices than dogmatism. But what exactly does this term mean? Where does it come from and how does its centuries-long history resonate in current debates?

A new open access book, co-authored by Herman Paul and Alexander Stoeger, traces the history of dogmatism as a scholarly vice term. Starting in ancient Greece, but with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it follows the term across periods, countries, and disciplines. It shows how new layers of meaning emerged over time, while older ones sometimes remained surprisingly persistent.

According to Paul and Stoeger, this combination of semantic flexibility and historical connotations helps explain why dogmatism, unlike other ancient vice terms, is still with us as a chameleonic concept that can be pitted against open-mindedness, critical thinking, progress, and innovation.

The book makes an original contribution to the history of scholarly virtues and vices and, more broadly, to a transdisciplinary history of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.