Research by members of the Stevin Centre concerns a variety of subjects, which partly connect with the research programmes of CLUE+, the RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR CULTURE, COGNITION, HISTORY AND HERITAGE of the Vrije Universiteit.
Common research theme of the Stevin Centre is Knowledge practices and normativity within their historical context. This theme includes normative and philosophical as well as religious and legal aspects. In this approach the concept of ‘science’ is problematised and the historical development of knowledge and knowledge practices are the object of study. Historians have become aware that knowledge is more than scientific knowledge; it can be intellectual, rational, artisanal, intuitive, sensory, religious, ideological etc. It has been realized that views of what knowledge is or should be, and of the role it should play in society are different in different places and at different times and are normative in character. Knowledge practices can be found among all kinds of intellectual, social and religious groups and in many different domains: from law, religion, statistics and education theory to technology or art. Questions can be asked about the production, transmission, circulation, appropriation and consumption of knowledge. These processes are influenced by views of what counts as a good explanation and at various levels normativity thus plays an inextricable role.