This essay aims to elucidate the collaborative dimension of the knowledge-making process in eighteenth-century Linnaean botany. Due to its ever increasing and potentially infinite need for information, Linnaean botany had to rely more and more heavily on the accumulation and aggregation of contributions by many people. This, in turn, had a crucial impact on the genesis and form of botanical publications: the more comprehensive the project, the larger the effect. It was the botanist Carl Linnaeus who managed to establish himself as the centre of this contributory knowledge-making process. Given the exponential growth in the number of known species and the resulting need for observation, this was the necessary condition which allowed him continuously to update and correct his systematic works, and allowed them to maintain their status as the central catalogues of a global botany for decades.
Scopus Subject Areas
- History and Philosophy of Science