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The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science (Studies in European History) ePub download

by John Henry

  • Author: John Henry
  • ISBN: 0312165404
  • ISBN13: 978-0312165406
  • ePub: 1136 kb | FB2: 1701 kb
  • Language: English
  • Category: Humanities
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (June 1997)
  • Pages: 137
  • Rating: 4.2/5
  • Votes: 952
  • Format: lrf lrf docx mobi
The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science (Studies in European History) ePub download

The Scientific Revolution - by whatever name - marks a period of fundamental historical change

The Scientific Revolution - by whatever name - marks a period of fundamental historical change. In this little book, John Henry provides a clearly organized and gracefully written introduction to its complexities; not only to past achievements and enduring aspirations, but to the unfinished business of historical interpretation. - Robert A. Hatch, University of Florida.

This study provides a brief survey and guide to the most important aspects of the Scientific Revolution. Europe European history historiography history reformation Renaissance revolution. Authors and affiliations.

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Other books in the series. Studies in European History (1 - 10 of 30 books).

Not as definitive a survey of the scientific revolution as it is often made out to be. It just isn't big picture enough. Other books in the series.

series Studies in European History. Studies in European History.

Studies in European History (Paperback). The Scientific Revolution - by whatever name - marks a period of fundamental historical change

Studies in European History (Paperback). By (author) John Henry. The Scientific Revolution - by whatever name - marks a period of fundamental historical change. JOHN HENRY is a Reader in the History of Science at the University of Edinburgh, UK. He has published widely on the history of science from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century.

Автор: John Henry Название: The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of. .

Описание: Ian Wood explores how Western Europeans have looked back to the Middle Ages to discover their origins and the origins of their society.

Based upon a selected but extensive annotated bibliography, which represents an ideal course of study on the scientific revolution.

This study provides a brief survey and accessible guide to the most important aspects of the Scientific Revolution. As well as considering the development of the mathematical and experimental approaches to an understanding of the natural world, it looks at the crucial role of magical traditions in the origins of modern science and the importance of the Christian world-view in the shaping of the scientific endeavour. Written with the non-scientist in mind, it does not dwell on technical details but seeks to show the social, cultural, and intellectual factors which shaped the development of science in its formative stage and prepared the way for the predominance of science in modern Western culture. Taking account of the latest developments in our understanding of this vital aspect of European history, it is also a useful guide to more detailed literature for students and other interested readers.
Outdoing John Henry's "The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science" would not be easy. The function of the work is to bring the reader up to speed on the "state of the debate," as he says in the preface. Moreover, it has the overtly pragmatic function as a bibliographical guide for anyone, the student or general reader, to the key resources necessary to fast-track research and get one's feet wet with the "key" works. Beyond that, the text is a pleasant read, focusing on amorphous nature of pre-science that crystalizes into early modern science. Important elements highlighted in this amorphous miasmic pre-science cloud of practices are descriptively religious, mathematical, material procedural (method and experiment), philosophical (esp. mechanical), and magical in nature. As with any survey, the text presents a study that is by no means systematic. In my judgment, John Henry does draw out those features of the period that spring to mind as being the most salient. Even though not systematic, I think Henry does well to tie themes together and develop a large-scale picture of what's going on (primarily) in the sixteenth and start of the seventeenth century. As far as existing scholarship goes, the author does make clear that much, much more research on the relation between mathematics, magic, and science is needed, a truism I have found in history of mathematics literature.

The book definitely has some shortcomings. For example, in chapter 3 (pg. 43 of 1st edition), he says, "The pragmatism of magic is obvious." That's definitely not the case for the student. From my perspective, a contemporary philosopher of science with some training in history, having only been recently introduced to primary sources in magic, see little of pragmatic value in many of the magic texts. Many magicians did not even espouse to have performed any of the "recipes" that they had written down. Other texts espouse functional utility, but, in some cases, it is still unclear whether the rituals, etc., were ever performed by a single soul. It is clear that procedures from other texts were performed, and efficaciously so. For this reason, I wished Henry had not made the half dozen, or so, unsupported statements that occur throughout the text. There are a few other little details, but they make no significant detraction from this very valuable and well-written text.
Henry's overview of the key figures and concepts of the scientific revoulution is an admirable general resource for studying the political, cultural and religious background to early modern science.
This small and highly accessible book is organized around an extensive bibliography that is referenced throughout the chapters in bracketed footnote form, allowing readers to pursue histories, concepts and themes by simply checking the back of the book for the articles and books Henry lists as key texts (the bibliography is extensive, up to date, and annotated).
The text is accessible and well-written and would serve as a resource for undergraduates, novices, or as guide for more advanced studies -- I'm beginning a dissertation on this period and have found this to be an invaluable organizational tool and reference manual for my reading.
My only criticism is that the book is rather sparse on feminist/gender studies/critiques, though it does offer a few key texts and a very brief overview of feminist contributions. A broader description and more inclusive listing of the recent contributions of gender studies to the field would have extended the range of this impressive little volume.
In addition to chapters on the alchemical, cultural, and religious influences on early natural philosophy, readers will find a succinct and thought-provoking analysis of historigraphical approaches to science studies.
The bibliography is comprised of secondary sources and manages to be both extensive (245 entries) and selective, offering the principal texts for the terms of each debate or discussion point.
This is on the whole a competent survey text with a modern flavour. It would be too innocuous to review were it not for its one unique chapter on "Magic and the Origins of Modern Science," which is, I believe, Henry's primary area of expertise. This unimpressive chapter opens with a predictable straw man:

"A number of historians of science have refused to accept that something which they see as so irrational could have had any impact whatsoever upon the supremely rational pursuit of science. Their arguments seem to be based on mere prejudice, or a failure to understand the richness and complexity of the magical tradition." (p. 56)

Alas, our hero has barely issued this condemnation before he himself exhibits "prejudice" and "failure to understand" of the most blatant kind:

"Kepler ... can also be seen to have been deeply affected by the magical tradition of numerology. It is well known that a major stimulus to his work in cosmology was his attempt to answer the question of why there were only six planets. This is not a scientific question" (p. 58)

Of course this was in fact an eminently scientific question; Kepler thought so and his contemporaries agreed. Of course nowadays this old question is not part of the scientific corpus; it has been discarded just as the old question of what keeps a cart moving after one has stopped pushing it has been replaced by the new question of what makes it stop eventually. But these old questions were abandoned because they were no longer fruitful, not because they were intrinsically "unscientific"---nothing but "mere prejudice" can lead anyone to claim otherwise.

We may flip ahead to Newton for some more nonsense:

"The fact remains, anyway, that Newton was able to immediately accept Hooke's suggestion [of the inverse square law of gravity etc.], even though it depended upon the occult idea of forces capable of acting at a distance, because he was already attuned to think this way by his alchemical work." (pp. 64-65)

"Fact"?! What on earth is the justification for calling this a "fact"? Newton himself never asserted this "fact." Nor is it a "fact" of necessity, obviously, since history is full of people who "immediately accepted" the inverse square law without being "already attuned to think this way by alchemical work."

Although further examples would severely exacerbate the predicament, these two examples alone are enough, I think, to show that Henry's umbrella-conception of magic is so enormously vague and opportunistic that the entire chapter becomes pointless.
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