The Janus Faces of Genius: The Role of Alchemy in Newton's Thought

The Janus Faces of Genius: The Role of Alchemy in Newton's Thought

by Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521380847

ISBN-13: 9780521380843

Pub. Date: 10/28/2003

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

In this major reevaluation of Isaac Newton's intellectual life, Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs shows how his pioneering work in mathematics, physics, and cosmology was intertwined with his study of alchemy. Professor Dobbs argues that to Newton those several intellectual pursuits were all ways of approaching Truth, and that Newton's primary goal was not the study of nature

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Overview

In this major reevaluation of Isaac Newton's intellectual life, Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs shows how his pioneering work in mathematics, physics, and cosmology was intertwined with his study of alchemy. Professor Dobbs argues that to Newton those several intellectual pursuits were all ways of approaching Truth, and that Newton's primary goal was not the study of nature for its own sake but rather an attempt to establish a unified system that would have included both natural and divine principles. She also argues that Newton's methodology was much broader than modern scholars have previously supposed, and she traces the evolution of his thought on the intertwined problems of the microcosmic "vegetable spirit" of alchemy and the "cause" of the cosmic principle of gravitation.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521380843
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
10/28/2003
Pages:
376
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 8.03(h) x 0.98(d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgments; 1. Isaac Newton, philosopher by fire; 2. Vegetability and providence; 3. Cosmology and history; 4. Modes of divine activity in the world: before the Principia; 5. Modes of divine activity in the world: the Principia period; 6. Modes of divine activity in the world: after the Principia, 1687–1713; 7. Modes of divine activity in the world: after the Principia, 1713–1727; 8. Epilogue; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

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