From Library Journal
Shapin argues that the validity and trust we place in today's scientific endeavors evolved to a large extent out of the gentlemen's codes of civility in 17th-century England. Science was a gentleman's pastime, and when an idea was disputed gentlemen appropriated the civil codes of their time to solve the dispute. Shapin, best known for Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life (Princeton Univ. Pr., 1985), opens this book with a very complete and sometimes difficult-to-read introduction to the questions of what civility, truth, trust, and moral order are. The rest can be read separately as a history of gentlemanly conduct and gentlemanly science as a means of finding truth. Shapin also discusses Robert Boyle as an example of a gentleman scientist. Offering a new way to look at early modern science, Shapin presents an intellectual history of a formative period of English science to illustrate a source of the collective trust we place in scientific truth. Recommended for history and philosophy collections.Eric D. Albright, Galter Health Sciences Lib., Northwestern Univ., Chicago
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About the Author
Shapin is professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego.