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The Idea of the Sciences in the French Enlightenment: A Reinterpretation
     

The Idea of the Sciences in the French Enlightenment: A Reinterpretation

by G. Matthew Adkins
 

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This book traces the development of the idea that the sciences were morally enlightening through an intellectual history of the secrétaires perpétuels of the French Royal Academy of Sciences and their associates from the mid-seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth century. Academy secretaries such as Fontenelle and Condorcet were critical to the

Overview

This book traces the development of the idea that the sciences were morally enlightening through an intellectual history of the secrétaires perpétuels of the French Royal Academy of Sciences and their associates from the mid-seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth century. Academy secretaries such as Fontenelle and Condorcet were critical to the emergence of a central feature of the narrative of the Enlightenment in that they encouraged the notion that the “philosophical spirit” of the Scientific Revolution, already present among the educated classes, should guide the necessary reformation of society and government according to the ideals of scientific reasoning. The Idea of the Sciences also tells an intellectual history of political radicalization, explaining especially how the marquis de Condorcet came to believe that the sciences could play central a role in guiding the outcome of the Revolution of 1789.

Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
Adkins provides a fresh intellectual history of the idea of cultivation of the sciences . . . as it relates to individual virtue and political rationality.
H-France
The Idea of the Sciences is a book whose title and introduction promise a discipline enriching 'reinterpretation.' . . . The book will . . . be of interest to historians and philosophers of science, historians of Enlightenment thought, and those interested in the old regime. Its main achievement is its claim that Neostoic philosophy was at the root of a new and politically important moral idea or way of thinking that was forged and explored by early Enlightenment savants. Among them was the enterprising Samuel Sorbière, whose aspirations to secure resources to fund scientific investigation place him in good company in 2014.
H-France Review
The Idea of the Sciences is a book whose title and introduction promise a discipline enriching 'reinterpretation.' . . . The book will . . . be of interest to historians and philosophers of science, historians of Enlightenment thought, and those interested in the old regime. Its main achievement is its claim that Neostoic philosophy was at the root of a new and politically important moral idea or way of thinking that was forged and explored by early Enlightenment savants. Among them was the enterprising Samuel Sorbière, whose aspirations to secure resources to fund scientific investigation place him in good company in 2014.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611496406
Publisher:
University of Delaware Press
Publication date:
11/15/2016
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
174
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

G. Matthew Adkins teaches European history at Columbus State Community College.

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