Practical Mystic: Religion, Science, and A. S. Eddington

Practical Mystic: Religion, Science, and A. S. Eddington

by Matthew Stanley
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226770974

ISBN-13: 9780226770970

Pub. Date: 11/01/2007

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Science and religion have long been thought incompatible. But nowhere has this apparent contradiction been more fully resolved than in the figure of A. S. Eddington (1882–1944), a pioneer in astrophysics, relativity, and the popularization of science, and a devout Quaker. Practical Mystic uses the figure of Eddington to shows how religious and

Overview

Science and religion have long been thought incompatible. But nowhere has this apparent contradiction been more fully resolved than in the figure of A. S. Eddington (1882–1944), a pioneer in astrophysics, relativity, and the popularization of science, and a devout Quaker. Practical Mystic uses the figure of Eddington to shows how religious and scientific values can interact and overlap without compromising the integrity of either.

Eddington was a world-class scientist who not only maintained his religious belief throughout his scientific career but also defended the interrelation of science and religion while drawing inspiration from both for his practices. For instance, at a time when a strict adherence to deductive principles of physics had proved fruitless for understanding the nature of stars, insights from Quaker mysticism led Eddington to argue that an outlook less concerned with certainty and more concerned with further exploration was necessary to overcome the obstacles of incomplete and uncertain knowledge.

By examining this intersection between liberal religion and astrophysics, Practical Mystic questions many common assumptions about the relationship between science and spirituality. Matthew Stanley’s analysis of Eddington’s personal convictions also reveals much about the practice, production, and dissemination of scientific knowledge at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226770970
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
11/01/2007
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 
Introduction 
 
1. The Quaker Renaissance: Making a Religious Scientist 
2. Mysticism: Seeking and Stellar Models 
3. Internationalism: The 1919 Eclipse and Eddington as Quaker Adventurer 
4. Pacifism: Confronting the State and Maintaining Identity in War 
5. Experience: From Relativity to Religion 
6. Religion in Modern Life: Science, Philosophy, and Liberal Theology in Interwar Britain 
7. Thinking about Values and Science 
 
Notes  
Bibliographic Note 
Bibliography 
Index  

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