It is no longer controversial or suspicious to be curious. But, until recently, there has been little curiosity about curiosity itself. This has begun to change, with the publication of a series of books asking what curiosity is and why it matters. Though an eclectic and slippery subject, taking different forms in different times and places, curiosity has two common threads. The first is ‘care’, comprising commitment or interest (committed rather than ‘mere’ curiosity) and a quality of attention (carefulness). The second is concerned with ‘questions’, and this highlights the drivers and parameters of enquiry: the mixture of virtue, pleasure and passion that drives explorers (in all their forms) to uncover the new. Critical attention to curiosity – examining relations of care that drive curiosity, and drawing attention to the origin and form of questions – speaks to fundamental questions about knowledge: how we come to know the things we know.
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