The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210-1685

Paperback | December 1, 2008

byStephen Gaukroger

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Why did science emerge in the West and how did scientific values come to be regarded as the yardstick for all other forms of knowledge? Stephen Gaukroger shows just how bitterly the cognitive and cultural standing of science was contested in its early development. Rejecting the traditionalpicture of secularization, he argues that science in the seventeenth century emerged not in opposition to religion but rather was in many respects driven by it. Moreover, science did not present a unified picture of nature but was an unstable field of different, often locally successful but just asoften incompatible, programmes. To complicate matters, much depended on attempts to reshape the persona of the natural philosopher, and distinctive new notions of objectivity and impartiality were imported into natural philosophy, changing its character radically by redefining the qualities of itspractitioners.The West's sense of itself, its relation to its past, and its sense of its future, have been profoundly altered since the seventeenth century, as cognitive values generally have gradually come to be shaped around scientific ones. Science has not merely brought a new set of such values to the task ofunderstanding the world and our place in it, but rather has completely transformed the task, redefining the goals of enquiry. This distinctive feature of the development of a scientific culture in the West marks it out from other scientifically productive cultures. In The Emergence of a ScientificCulture, Stephen Gaukroger offers a detailed and comprehensive account of the formative stages of this development---and one which challenges the received wisdom that science was seen to be self-evidently the correct path to knowledge and that the benefits of science were immediately obvious to thedisinterested observer.

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Why did science emerge in the West and how did scientific values come to be regarded as the yardstick for all other forms of knowledge? Stephen Gaukroger shows just how bitterly the cognitive and cultural standing of science was contested in its early development. Rejecting the traditionalpicture of secularization, he argues that scien...

Stephen Gaukroger has a BA (Philosophy) from the University of London and a Ph.D (History and Philosophy of Science) from the University of Cambridge. He was Research Fellow in the Philosophy of Science, Clare Hall, Cambridge, 1977-1978; Research Fellow, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Melbourne, 1978-19...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:576 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.2 inPublished:December 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199550018

ISBN - 13:9780199550012

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I1. Science and modernityPart II2. From Augustinian synthesis to Aristotelian amalgam3. Renaissance natural philosophies4. The interpretation of nature and the origins of physico-theologyPart III5. Reconstructing natural philosophy6. Reconstructing the natural philosopher7. The aims of enquiryPart IV8. Corpuscularianism and the rise of mechanism9. The scope of mechanism10. Experimental natural philosophy11. The quantitative transformation of natural philosophyPart V12. The unity of knowledge

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`A project of breathtaking ambition...is an impressive performance...and synthesizes a lot of difficult material into a coherent body. 'Times Literary Supplement