Revolution in Science

Revolution in Science

by I. Bernard Cohen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674767772

ISBN-13: 9780674767775

Pub. Date: 04/01/1985

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Only a scholar as rich in learning as I. Bernard Cohen could do justice to a theme so subtle and yet so grand. Spanning five centuries and virtually all of scientific endeavor, Revolution in Science traces the nuances that differentiate both scientific revolutions and human perceptions of them, weaving threads of detail from physics, mathematics, behaviorism

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Overview

Only a scholar as rich in learning as I. Bernard Cohen could do justice to a theme so subtle and yet so grand. Spanning five centuries and virtually all of scientific endeavor, Revolution in Science traces the nuances that differentiate both scientific revolutions and human perceptions of them, weaving threads of detail from physics, mathematics, behaviorism, Freud, atomic physics, and even plate tectonics and molecular biology, into the larger fabric of intellectual history.

How did "revolution," a term from the physical sciences, meaning a turning again and implying permanence and recurrence--the cyclical succession of the seasons, the 'revolutions' of the planets in their orbits--become transformed into an expression for radical change in political and socioeconomic affairs, then become appropriated once again to the sciences?

How have political revolutions--French, American, Bolshevik--and such intellectual forces as Darwinism further modified the concept, from revolution in science as a dramatic break with the past to the idea that science progresses by the slow accumulation of knowledge? And what does each transformation in each historical period tell us about the deep conceptual changes in our image of the scientist and scientific activity?

Cohen's exploration seeks to uncover nothing less than the nature of all scientific revolutions, the stages by which they occur, their time scale, specific criteria for determining whether or not there has been a revolution, and the creative factors in producing a revolutionary new idea. His book is a probing analysis of the history of an idea and one of the most impressive surveys of the history of science ever undertaken.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674767775
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
04/01/1985
Pages:
704
Product dimensions:
6.54(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.76(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

I. Science and Revolution

1. Introduction

2. The Stages of Revolutions in Science

3. Evidence for the Occurrence of Revolutions in Science

II. Historical Perspective on 'Revolution' and 'Revolution in Science'

4. Transformations in the Concept of Revolution

5. The Scientific Revolution: The First Recognition of Revolution in Science

6. A Second Scientific Revolution and Others?

III. Scientific Revolutionaries of the Seventeenth Century

7. The Copernican Revolution

8. Kepler, Gilbert, and Galileo: A Revolution in the Physical Sciences?

9. Bacon and Descartes

10. The Newtonian Revolution

11. Vesalius, Paracelsus, and Harvey: A Revolution in the Life Sciences?

IV. Changing Concepts of Revolution in the Eighteenth Century

12. Transformations during the Enlightenment

13. Eighteenth-Century Conceptions of Scientific Revolution

14. Lavoisier and the Chemical Revolution

15. Kant's Alleged Copernican Revolution

16. The Changing Language of Revolution in Germany

17. The Industrial Revolution

V. Scientific Progress in the Nineteenth Century

18. By Revolution or Evolution?

19. The Darwinian Revolution

20. Faraday, Maxwell, and Hertz

21. Some Other Scientific Developments

22. Three French Views: Saint-Simon, Comte, and Cournot

23. The Influence of Marx and Engels

24. The Freudian Revolution

VI. The Twentieth Century, Age of Revolutions

25. The Scientists Speak

26. The Historians Speak

27. Relativity and Quantum Theory

28. Einstein on Revolution in Science

29. Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics: A Revolution in Earth Science

30. Conclusion: Conversion as a Feature of Scientific Revolutions

Supplements

A Note on Citations and References

Notes

References

Index

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