From Biblical Criticism to Archaeology. A revisionist history of the Scientific Revolution

Alexandru Liciu
William Poole, The World Makers. Scientists of the Restoration and the Search for the Origins of the Earth, Peter Lang, Oxford, 2017, 234 pp. 34$

In one of the already classical revisionist narratives of the Scientific Revolution, Mordechai Feingold showed us that Newton’s followers, i.e. rather mathematically-minded natural philosophers who would almost despise natural history (seen as a process of collecting and classifying) in favor of the more theoretical natural philosophy, were actually outnumbered by the ones that, following a Baconian trope, preferred to “put Weights on the Intellect” (and thus, at least for the moment, focused on collecting, exposing, cataloging and experimenting, rather than theorizing). This position, as it is inherited by the Bibliographic historian William Poole, can be formulated in terms of a “mathematicians (geometers)” vs. “naturalists” debate. Poole chooses to tell the story of the latter (xiii, 171) , and thus, both with appealing prose and admirable precision, takes Feingoild’s programme one step further. Continue reading From Biblical Criticism to Archaeology. A revisionist history of the Scientific Revolution

Silent revolutions and vocal facts: a new history of the Scientific Revolution, or how modern science came to stay

Dana Jalobeanu

• David Wootton, The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution (New York: Harper Perennial, 2015

51uQozdQQaL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Writing, today, on the Scientific Revolution, is one of the most difficult tasks facing the historian of science. Not only because one has to begin by digging through hundreds of thousands of pages of scholarly criticism, but because the existence and the contours of the phenomenon itself are questionable. Not so long ago, a popular book on the same subject famously begun by claiming: “There is no such thing as the Scientific Revolution, and this is a book about it.”[i]

Was science born, discovered or invented in a determinate period in history? Was the advent of science resulting from circumstances which led to points of inflexion, singularities, or a clean break with the past? Are there revolutionary events in the evolution of knowledge, at all? Then, there are the disciplinary questions and allegiances. Is writing about the Scientific Revolution a subject for the historian at all? Or is it, rather, a philosophical enterprise? Does it require a sort of historical and philosophical commitment? (and, if it does, of what kind?). Continue reading Silent revolutions and vocal facts: a new history of the Scientific Revolution, or how modern science came to stay