Middleton's The Experimenters: A Study of the Academia del Cimento, portrays the informal structure and personal interplay of an important but short-lived Italian group. Rupert Hall spent his early career defending and articulating the internalist perspective, notably in his Scientific Revolution and in his subsequent From Galileo to Newton. Also worth mentioning is Robert Mandrou's balanced study, From Humanism to Science, 1480-1700, which provides a broad cultural and social background for the period. Rupert Hall also has broadened his focus in tracing Newton's famous priority dispute with Leibnitz, a war of words that reverberated through the body politic of learned Europe, a story well told in his Philosophers at War. And there are good reasons.
W hile the works cited above deal in whole or in part with the Scientific Revolution, a number of other influential studies have limited their scope along traditional lines of space, time, topic, and theme, or by restricting themselves to the contributions of an individual. Clearly the definitive biography is R. Since Koyré's early work, much has been done by Stillman Drake to bring Galileo's achievement into a different light, principally as an experimentalist at odds with Aristotelian philosophers. Among the more path breaking is Betty Jo T. In a more limited way, W. To be sure, there are difficulties with any periodization. In England, following Butterfield's lead, A.
Reason, Experiment and Mysticism in the Scientific Revolution and Brian Vickers' Occult and Scientific Mentalities in the Renaissance. In 1931, nearly two decades before Butterfield's classic statement, the Marxist historian Boris Hessen published a classic statement on the application of dialectical materialism, The Social and Economic Roots of Newton's 'Principia. Westfall's Science and Religion in Seventeenth-Century England, R. Research for his edition of The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell was supported by the Royal Society, the Leverhulme Trust, the National Science Foundation and the Arts and Humanities Research Board. But Kuhn's work has further significance. Descartes: the mechanization of the world picture. B ut where to begin? Dobbs' The Foundations of Newton Alchemy, which attempts to place Newton and his philosophy of nature into the broader cultural and intellectual context of alchemical thought.
Here Yates argued, as in her succeeding publications, that alternative philosophies of nature --Hermetic, alchemical, Rosicrusian-- might well serve as a broader cultural backdrop from which to judge the emergence of modern science. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. This shared vision--or at least common coin--provided a forum for discourse, a happy blend of coherence and flexibility for a generation of young scholars keen to connect ideas, individuals, and institutions. Because the Scientific Revolution is the acknowledged birthplace of the history of science, it was the first specialty to benefit from the professionalization of the discipline, from its increasing specialization, diversification of methods, and from the simultaneous broadening of scope and narrowing of focus prompted by sociologists and philosophers of science. Heilbron's delightful essay, The Royal Society Under Newton's Presidency, which artfully combines a concern for the evolution of Newton's later scientific work in the institutional context of the Royal Society, particularly its experimental tradition, changing structures and procedures, and in the publication patterns of its Transactions. .
If I am not mistaken, part of the problem of the Scientific Revolution is tied to the fate of the extended reception of Copernicus' work --to ongoing articulations of the heliocentric theory itself-- and of particular interest here, to the communities that gave shape to subsequent debates on the nature of knowledge itself. Other shorter or less detailed works include Hugh Kearney's Science and Change, 1500-1700, A. Bernard Cohen's Franklin and Newton still provides one of the best traditional surveys of Newton's 'experimental' approach and its legacy into the eighteenth century. B ut the most prominent figure of this early school the so-called internalists was undoubtedly Alexandre Koyré. For a balanced view of Galileo's most creative years, see William Shea's Galileo's Intellectual Revolution, which plots a via media between Koyré's Platonic reading of Galileo and Drake's emphasis on Galileo's positive contributions. Other background studies include Christopher Hill's Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution and his The World Turned Upside Down.
Merton, and his classic study, Science, Technology and Society in Seventeenth Century England. In certain respects, Merton is as central to the historiography of the social underpinnings of this period as Koyré was to the intellectual. Certainly one of the foremost contributions to our understanding of Newton's work in mechanics is R. Christianson has written In The Present of the Creator: Isaac Newton and His Times, which also describes Newton's work for the nontechnical reader while capturing a lively slice of seventeenth-century intellectual life. Descartes: the mechanization of the world picture.
More recently, several excellent surveys have appeared as part of a series. Table of Contents The medieval world picture. The Royal Society and the mechanical world view. Jacob, notably The Newtonians and the English Revolution, 1689-1720, which attempted to find intersections between science and the broader socio-political fabric in England, and most recently in The Cultural Meaning of the Scientific Revolution, which extends this and other themes in suggestive ways for a larger reading audience. Finally, for an understanding of Galileo's difficulties with theological authorities, it is instructive to compare Giorgio de Santillana's lively but polemical The Crime of Galileo with the more recent reconstruction of Redondi, Galileo Heretic, which is boldly conceived and imaginative in approach. I t is not possible to conclude any historiographical discussion of the Scientific Revolution without addressing Thomas S. Westfall's The Construction of Modern Science, one of the most widely used texts in history of science courses.
Kuhn provided a paradigm which, for many historians, held out the prospect of bridging the omnipresent historiographical gaps, the apparent polarities of internal-external, idealist- materialist, and continuity- discontinuity. In large measure philosophers-- or students of philosophy-- established the foundations for the early historiography of the discipline, and they began with the Scientific Revolution. McGuire's Hermeticism and the Scientific Revolution a number of other studies and collections have continued to appear, among them M. Lovejoy's The Great Chain of Being, J. For a more general overview, there are relevant and lucid chapters in J. The role of sociology, anthropology, and gender studies, also are evident in recent scholarship.
For all of that, there may be solace if not consensus in Lord Acton's recurring phrase, 'Study problems in preference to periods. Hatch - University of Florida F orty years ago the British historian Herbert Butterfield proclaimed that the 'so called 'scientific revolution,' popularly associated with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Wallace's Galileo and His Sources: The Heritage of the Collegio Romano in Galileo's Science has attempted to align Galileo's work with a larger textual tradition and institutional community, a concern continued in part with one of Galileo's most influential followers studied by Peter Dear in Mersenne and the Learning of the Schools. Themes such as the spread of Puritanism, the decline of witchcraft and magic, and the incorporation of science as an integral part of the intellectual milieu of late seventeenth-century England. The edition, published in three volumes by Cambridge University Press 1990-2002 and reissued in digital paperback in 2008, encompasses Maxwell's extant correspondence and manuscript papers. The Natural Philosophy of James Clerk Maxwell 1998; reprinted in paperback 2001 , based on his lectures as Zeeman Professor of the History of Physics at the University of Amsterdam in 1995, provides a comprehensive introduction to Maxwell's science and worldview.