Rethinking the Scientific Revolution / Edition 1

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This book challenges the traditional historiography of the Scientific Revolution, probably the single most important unifying concept in the history of science. Usually referring to the period from Copernicus to Newton (roughly 1500 to 1700), the Scientific Revolution is considered to be the central episode in the history of science, the historical moment at which that unique way of looking at the world that we call "modern science" and its attendant institutions emerged." "Reexamination of the preoccupations of early modern natural philosophers undermines many of the assumptions underlying standard accounts of the Scientific Revolution. Starting with a dialogue between Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs and Richard S. Westfall, whose understanding of the Scientific Revolution differed in important ways, the chapters in this volume reconsider canonical figures, their areas of study, and the formation of disciplinary boundaries during this seminal period of European intellectual history.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is now the place to look for guidance on whether (and how) we may still speak of a scientific revolution in 17th-century Europe....especially illuminating on contrasts between Boyle and Newton in their alchemy, theology and epistemology. A fitting tribute to Betty Jo Dobbs and Richard S. Westfall, whose competing views set an attractive agenda." John Brooke, Oxford University

"The Scientific Revolution still divides historians into those who see it as an undeniably real period of historical change comparable with the Renaissance and the Reformation, and those who see it merely as a term of convenience for historians of science. In this important new collection each of the authors reassesses the Scientific Revolution, some in the widest possible terms, others by focussing upon one episode or one individual, with a view to redressing this problem. The result should be required reading for all those interested in the formation of the modern world. Margaret Osler has done well to bring together such an impressive group of contributors, from the most promising to the most distinguished." John Henry, University of Edinburgh

"...this is a rich and stimulating collection that shoulf compel any historian to abandon retailing the traditional notion of the 'Scientific Revolution.'" American Historical Review

"...the reader can find here much new information and many interpretations about the roles in the birth of modern science played by lesser known individuals...and by disciplines and topics usually seen now, but not then, as extra-scientific." The Review of Metaphysics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521661010
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Contributors
1 The Canonical Imperative: Rethinking the Scientific Revolution 3
Pt. I The Canon in Question
2 Newton as Final Cause and First Mover 25
3 The Scientific Revolution Reasserted 41
Pt. II Canonical Disciplines Re-Formed
4 The Role of Religion in the Lutheran Response to Copernicus 59
5 Catholic Natural Philosophy: Alchemy and the Revivification of Sir Kenelm Digby 89
6 Vital Spirits: Redemption, Artisanship, and the New Philosophy in Early Modern Europe 119
7 "The Terriblest Eclipse That Hath Been Seen in Our Days": Black Monday and the Debate on Astrology during the Interregnum 137
8 Arguing about Nothing: Henry More and Robert Boyle on the Theological Implications of the Void 153
Pt. III Canonical Figures Reconsidered
9 Pursuing Knowledge: Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton 183
10 The Alchemies of Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton: Alternate Approaches and Divergent Deployments 201
11 The Janus Faces of Science in the Seventeenth Century: Athanasius Kircher and Isaac Newton 221
12 The Nature of Newton's "Holy Alliance" between Science and Religion: From the Scientific Revolution to Newton (and Back Again) 247
13 The Fate of the Date: The Theology of Newton's Principia Revisited 271
14 Newton and Spinoza and the Bible Scholarship of the Day 297
Pt. IV The Canon Constructed
15 The Truth of Newton's Science and the Truth of Science's History: Heroic Science at Its Eighteenth-Century Formulation 315
Index 333
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