Studies in History and Philosophy of Science

The Science of Nature in the Seventeenth Century

Patterns of Change in Early Modern Natural Philosophy

Editors: Anstey, Peter R., Schuster, John A. (Eds.)

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About this book

The seventeenth century marked a critical phase in the emergence of modern science. But we misunderstand this process, if we assume that seventeenth-century modes of natural inquiry were identical to the highly specialised, professionalised and ever proliferating family of modern sciences practised today.

In early modern Europe the central category for the study of nature was ‘natural philosophy’, or as Robert Hooke called it in his Micrographia, the Science of Nature. In this discipline general theories of matter, cause, cosmology and method were devised, debated and positioned in relation to superior disciplines, such as theology; cognate disciplines, such as mathematics and ethics; and subordinate disciplines, such as the ‘mixed mathematical sciences’ of astronomy, optics and mechanics.

Thus, the ‘Scientific Revolution’ of the Seventeenth Century did not witness the sudden birth of ‘modern science’ but rather conflict and change in the field of natural philosophy: Aristotelian natural philosophy was challenged and displaced, as thinkers competed to redefine natural philosophy and its relations to the superior, cognate and subordinate disciplines. From this process the more modern looking disciplines of natural science emerged, and the idea of a general Science of Nature suffered a slow demise.

The papers in this collection focus on patterns of change in natural philosophy in the seventeenth century, aiming to encourage the use and articulation of this category in the historiography of science. The volume is intended for scholars and advanced students of early modern history of science, history of philosophy and intellectual history. Philosophers of science and sociologists of scientific knowledge concerned with historical issues will also find the volume of relevance. Above all, the volume is addressed to anyone interested in current debates about the origin and nature of modern science.

Table of contents (3 chapters)

  • ‘Waterworld’: Descartes’ Vortical Celestial Mechanics

    John A. Schuster

    Pages 35-79

  • Physico-Theology and the Mixed Sciences

    Peter Harrison

    Pages 165-183

  • Experimental Versus Speculative Natural Philosophy

    Peter R. Anstey

    Pages 215-242

Buy this book

eBook $159.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-3703-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $209.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-3603-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $209.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-90-481-6909-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Science of Nature in the Seventeenth Century
Book Subtitle
Patterns of Change in Early Modern Natural Philosophy
Editors
  • Peter R. Anstey
  • John A. Schuster
Series Title
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Series Volume
19
Copyright
2005
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
eBook ISBN
978-1-4020-3703-0
DOI
10.1007/1-4020-3703-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4020-3603-3
Softcover ISBN
978-90-481-6909-2
Series ISSN
0929-6425
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 250
Topics