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The Origins of Modern Science Paperback – April 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0684836379 ISBN-10: 0684836378 Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Revised edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684836378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684836379
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #811,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter J. TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
An important aspect of the book that any perspective reader should be aware of is the subtitle, 1300-1800. Thus, these origins do not go back to the ancient Greeks or even to Ptolemy. The book does, however, cover Newton, which many books on the origins of science neglect because they stop the story well short of the 17th century.

The book covers Copernicus and the development of the theory of gravitation. It also covers the study of the heart and general topics such as the history of the Philosophe Movement during the reign of Louis XIV, the place of the scientific revolution in the history of western civilization and the scientific revolution in chemistry. I particularly liked the section of gravitation as it covered the precursors to Newton and how Newton built on their work.

This book should be of most interest to those interested in the history of science, as opposed to a general audience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Antionette B. Kimball on November 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
I had to read "The Origins of Modern Science" for my history teacher in college in 1970. I started college at age 29 and was out of place at that time. This book inspired me to think about the hurdles and frustrations and disappointments that many of the scientists had to live through in their age of history! Imagine trying to think that the earth was round! Or that the sun revolved around the earth. And people thinking that since you did not agree with the current mode of thought, that you were indeed crazy!

I think this book had a lot of bearing on my growing more into not being afraid to think along different lines. This book should be read by everyone, especially young people.

When years later, I saw my teacher and told him how much this book had influenced me, he couldn't even remember it! It is one book that I have kept and treasured. Thank you, Herbert Butterfield.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Didaskalex VINE VOICE on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Scientific Revolution:
As spelled out in the introduction, to the book based on his lectures in 1948 the Scientific Revolution, popularly associated with the 16th and 17th century, has started much earlier than the Renaissance. Butterfield advanced the notion of its eruption was caused by the 'destruction of Aristotaslian physics,' that was crucial to the development of science that was the basis of western civilization. This is the best praise for an Alexandrian scientist he never mentioned, the sixth century dean of the academy in Alexandria, John Philoponus.

Butterfield's Historiography:
Thomas Kuhn was a milestone in the historiography of science by studying in depth how science evolved with new established concepts and ideas and how these catalyzed displacing the old ways of thinking with brisk new methods. What one of Kuhn's obituaries noted, "We all live in a post-Kuhnian age," so more applies with Butterfield treatment, especially when it concerns origins of modern science, which was not one of his favorite subjects. In the words of a history of science reviewer, Butterfield's observations that better described the underlying reality of the fields of science he considered lacked a scientific analysis that weakened his historiographic conclusions.

The Impetus Theory:
Although he started logically with the historical importance of 'Impetus Theory,'as the point of breakthrough, on obsolesence of the body of Aristotalian physics, he failed to identify, while Kuhn did, to dig out who effectively attacked it into rubble in the sixth century.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin B. Eshbach on September 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Professor Butterfield's history is easy to read and refreshing. Especially interesting are his chapters on pre-Newtonian mechanics and the transfer from Ptolemaic to Copernican models of the universe.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great overview of the interacting development of the different branches of early modern science. Efficiently presented. There were very few pages on which I didn't learn something new and significant.
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