Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and Its Ambitions, 1500-1700

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"It is a pleasure to have someone with Peter Dear's knowledge and ability take on the problem of the textbook. Dear includes both the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in his survey and gives the reader a clear and informative account of some of the basic philosophical issues in natural philosophy. His chapters are economically written and well designed to cover broad and important issues. Dear's work addresses a lacuna by providing a chronologically organized introduction to the context and events of the scientific revolution."—Paula Findlen, Stanford University

"This is an entirely excellent work and it will make an important contribution to our understanding of the development of early modern science."—John Henry, University of Edinburgh

"It is lucid, well written and shows a thorough command of the subject matter. The author succeeds admirably in making complex ideas intelligible and interesting for readers and employs effective examples to illustrate the changing nature of scientific thought."—Marisa Linton, Kingston University

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Winner of the Watson Davis And Helen Miles Davis Prize

[Dear] throws interesting light on the changing criteria used to evaluate natural knowledge, especially the increasing emphasis on experiment. . . . As a full and accurate account of such matters, this book is the best available, and I would recommend it to anyone."—Michael Hunter, Nature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691088600
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/12/2001
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 365
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Dear is professor of history and science and technology studies at Cornell University.
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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction: Philosophy and Operationalism 1
1. "What was Worth Knowing" in 1500 10
2. Humanism and Ancient Wisdom: How to Learn Things in the Sixteenth Century 30
3. The Scholar and the Craftsman: Paracelsus, Gilbert, Bacon 49
4. Mathematics Challenges Philosphy: Galileo, Kepler, and the Surveyors 65
5. Mechanism: Decartes Builds a Universe 80
6. Extra-Curricular Activities: New Homes for Natural Knowledge 101
7. Experiment: How to Learn Things about Nature in the Seventeenth Century 131
8. Cartesians and Newtonians 149
Conclusion: What was Worth Knowing by the Eighteenth Century 168
Notes and References 171
Documentation and Further Reading 181
Dramatis Personae 193
Glossary of Major Terms 197
Ondex 201

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