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“Wherever and whenever we touch on something, we are always in the very midst and never at the beginning of cognition.”

Ludwik Fleck, “On the crisis of ‘reality’” (1929)

The Ludwik Fleck Center at the Collegium Helveticum is the executor of Ludwik Fleck’s academic estate. In collaboration with the Archives of Contemporary History it manages the Fleck Archive, in which the documents comprising Fleck’s estate or relevant to the history of his reception are deposited, processed and made publicly accessible.

The Center’s establishment was made possible by Professor Marcus Klingberg, who in May of 2005 transferred to the Collegium Helveticum the rights to Fleck’s estate accorded him by Fleck as the executor and manager of his estate. The main motivation for founding the Center was the desire to make Fleck’s papers available over the long term to anyone with an interest in his thought. In addition to papers from Fleck’s estate, the basic holdings of the Center also include the documentation developed by Thomas Schnelle in his research and editing activities and kindly made available on the occasion of the Center’s founding, as well as part of Fleck’s correspondence with Schwabe Verlag in Basel.

Fleck’s ideas have from the outset constituted a mainstay of the interdisciplinary research carried out at the Collegium Helveticum, which holds the nuanced handling of various styles of thought to be an essential prerequisite for successful cooperation among the disciplines.

On the occasion of the exhibition entitled “... was überhaupt möglich ist – Zugänge zum Leben und Denken Ludwik Flecks im Labor der Moderne” [= “...what is at all possible – approaches to the life and thought of Ludwik Fleck in the laboratory of modernity”], curated by the Ludwik Fleck Kreis and held from 4 May to 10 June 2004 in the Meridian Room of the Semper Observatory, contacts were made that led to the foundation of the Ludwik Fleck Center on 7 July 2005.

The driving force behind the founding of the Ludwik Fleck Centre was Professor Johannes Fehr, who led the centre from 2005 to 2014. Since March 2015, the centre has been managed by PD Dr. Hartmut von Sass.