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The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210-1685 Hardcover – February 8, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

Review


"An impressive and wide ranging book.... Gaukroger's grand beginning of an even grander five-volume narrative is an exceptional book. Its structure of scientific authority, as it were, is certain to stimulate long and lively discussions among academics of every stripe, from medievalists through historical sociologists to historians of science, religion, and the world's civilizations."--Michael H. Shank, Renaissance Quarterly


"Especially useful to philosophers looking for the historical context of particular arguments. Few historians have the ambition to attempt a synoptic treatment of the entire history of Western science at anything more than an introductory level. Certainly, no one has undertaken such a project in recent years, when so much has been added to the secondary literature. Gaukroger's book is a comprehensive, narrative overview of the state of the art. The Emergence of a Scientific Culture and its companion volumes will fill an empty niche on scholars' bookshelves."--David Marshall Miller, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


"A careful reading of this outstanding treatise by Gaukroger brings to life not only 500 crucial years that yielded the emergence of science in the west, but also the religious ferment and motivations that forwarded the new scientific culture."--T. Eastman, CHOICE


"Gaukroger provides an insightful analysis...and the book's...content also reminds us of its author's accomplishments as a historian of philosophy."--Peter Dear, Nature


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


"An impressive and wide ranging book.... Gaukroger's grand beginning of an even grander five-volume narrative is an exceptional book. Its structure of scientific authority, as it were, is certain to stimulate long and lively discussions among academics of every stripe, from medievalists through historical sociologists to historians of science, religion, and the world's civilizations."--Michael H. Shank, Renaissance Quarterly


"Especially useful to philosophers looking for the historical context of particular arguments. Few historians have the ambition to attempt a synoptic treatment of the entire history of Western science at anything more than an introductory level. Certainly, no one has undertaken such a project in recent years, when so much has been added to the secondary literature. Gaukroger's book is a comprehensive, narrative overview of the state of the art. The Emergence of a Scientific Culture and its companion volumes will fill an empty niche on scholars' bookshelves."--David Marshall Miller, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


"A careful reading of this outstanding treatise by Gaukroger brings to life not only 500 crucial years that yielded the emergence of science in the west, but also the religious ferment and motivations that forwarded the new scientific culture."--T. Eastman, CHOICE


"Gaukroger provides an insightful analysis...and the book's...content also reminds us of its author's accomplishments as a historian of philosophy."--Peter Dear, Nature


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


"Monumental, elegant." --Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences


About the Author


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, 1978-1980. Since 1981 he has been in the Philosophy Department at the University of Sydney where he is currently Professor of History of Philosophy and History of Science.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 572 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199296448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199296446
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.8 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,952,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Giuseppe Tulli on July 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This work can be read as the history, or evolution, of "Natural Philosophy", from it's almost total obliteration by Christianity, and specifically, Augustine, to the Scientific Revolution up to Newton.
Even under the wealth of information and extraordinary scholarship, characteristic already of the work of Dr. Gaukroger, and the sheer massiveness of the work, focus on the main theme is sustained throughout with inexhaustable intensity.
By following the evolution of Natural Philosophy side by side with Theology and Metaphysics, as this work does, we also gain a better understanding of how the latter have taken their specific Western form.
Of the Scientific Revolution properly, there's no more complete rendering that I'm aware of. The origin of Mechanism, for instance, which Dr. Gaukroger explains so clearly in his books on Descartes, is here developed into a deeper, more contextual meaning, given it's being entrenched in fact in the conflict between Christian Theology and the nascent Natural Philosophy.
This work is the first of a series, and in the true spirit of Gibbon, namely, of giving as full, complete and as objective an account can be of a specific "time" or "epoch" in history. This book proves that we have today distance enough to give such an account, and so to have a complete understanding of our being "modern".
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Format: Paperback
A really impressive work of scholarship from a leading expert on 17th century thought. This is the first of a planned series of 5 volumes describing the emergence of modern scientific culture. Gaukroger's goal is to understand how the Western natural scientific approach became the paradigmatic way of understanding the world, a decisive break with all prior forms of human approaches to understanding the world. In this detailed volume, Gaukroger lays out the crucial intellectual developments that led to the emergence of modern scientific culture in 17th century Europe. In particular, Gaukroger seeks to understand how this nascent approach developed and became legitimized. It was not, he stresses, because it necessarily produces more useful technologies (though it would eventually). Gaukroger argues that it developed as part of efforts to support Christian theology. Looking back to medieval theology, and even farther back to Patristic and Classical thought, Gaurkroger argues that the Thomistic-Aristotelian synthesis encountered considerable difficulties in early modern Europe and ultimately became unsatisfactory as a prop for Christianity. The Neoplatonically inspired competitor of Augustinian thought was also unsatisfactory and the increasing awareness of and interest in other Classical schools of thought such as Stoicism and Epicurianism fed considerable intellectual ferment. These complex interactions began to incorporate other influences, such as a nascent experimental tradition and increased emphasis on quantification. Emerging from these many complex interactions towards the end of 17th century was the precursor of modern science, including a whole new conception of the role of an active investigator.Read more ›
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Keith D. Houck on March 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinating work. Can't wait to see the next volume when it comes out. Was surprised at the large number of typographical errors in a product from Oxford University (Clarendon) Press, though.
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Format: Paperback
A splendid, wide-ranging treatment of many aspects and thinkers in the science and philosophy of this broad transitional era. However, I think his commentary on Nicholas Malebranche could have been deepened had he assimilated the analysis in Michael E. Hobart fine study of that Cartesian theologian.
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