A Final Story: Science, Myth, And Beginnings by Nasser ZakariyaA Final Story: Science, Myth, And Beginnings by Nasser Zakariya

A Final Story: Science, Myth, And Beginnings

byNasser Zakariya

Hardcover | November 14, 2017

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Popular science readers embrace epics—the sweeping stories that claim to tell the history of all the universe, from the cosmological to the biological to the social. And the appeal is understandable: in writing these works, authors such as E. O. Wilson or Steven Weinberg deliberately seek to move beyond particular disciplines, to create a compelling story weaving together natural historical events, scientific endeavor, human discovery, and contemporary existential concerns.

In A Final Story, Nasser Zakariya delves into the origins and ambitions of these scientific epics, from the nineteenth century to the present, to see what they reveal about the relationship between storytelling, integrated scientific knowledge, and historical method. While seeking to transcend the perspectives of their own eras, the authors of the epics and the debates surrounding them are embedded in political and social struggles of their own times, struggles to which the epics in turn respond. In attempts to narrate an approach to a final, true account, these synthesizing efforts shape and orient scientific developments old and new. By looking closely at the composition of science epics and the related genres developed along with them, we are able to view the historical narrative of science as a form of knowledge itself, one that discloses much about the development of our understanding of and relationship to science over time.
Nasser Zakariya is assistant professor of history and rhetoric of science at the University of California, Berkeley.  
Title:A Final Story: Science, Myth, And BeginningsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:562 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.6 inPublished:November 14, 2017Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022647612X

ISBN - 13:9780226476124

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Table of Contents


Part I
1. Varieties of Natural History: The Whole of the Natural and the Known
2. Dogmas of Unity and Questions of Expertise
3. The Many Faces of Force and the Mutability of Energy
4. Schisms

Part II
5. Undoing and Reassembling Scales and Histories
6. Other Emerging Genres of Synthesis: From the Fabulaic to the Foundational
7. Humanisms, Nuclear Histories, and Nuclear Ages
8. Scientific Myth and Mysticism

Part III
9. Scientific Tribes and Totalizing Myths
10. Cosmos and the Structure of “Epic Myth”
11. Political Cosmologies
12. A New Version of Genesis
Coda: Epic Humanisms


Editorial Reviews

"Nasser Zakariya has written an insightful, erudite, historical account of generalist scholars—the lumpers—who have tried mainly over the past century to unify science amidst the majority of specialist researchers—the splitters.  Of course, both lumpers and splitters are needed to gain ever-better approximations of reality, and Zakariya does a credible job relating the progress of the natural-science synthesizers.  Highly recommended to anyone seriously interested in the broadest view of the biggest picture."