Intelligibility of Nature How Science Makes Sense of the World

ISBN-10: 0226139492
ISBN-13: 9780226139494
Edition: 2007
Authors: Peter Dear
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Description: Throughout the history of the Western world, science has possessed an extraordinary amount of authority and prestige. Despite numerous evolutions and revolutions, it maintains its distinction as the knowing endeavor that explains how the natural  More...

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Book details

List price: $17.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 3/1/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 254
Size: 2.00" wide x 3.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.572
Language: English

Throughout the history of the Western world, science has possessed an extraordinary amount of authority and prestige. Despite numerous evolutions and revolutions, it maintains its distinction as the knowing endeavor that explains how the natural world works and offers insight into the meaning of the universe. InThe Intelligibility of Nature, Peter Dear considers how science as such has evolved and positioned itself. His intellectual journey begins with a crucial observation: that scientific ambition is, and has been, directed toward two distinct but frequently conflated ends—doing and knowing. The ancient Greeks articulated the difference between craft and understanding, and according to Dear, that separation hasnbsp;survived to shape attitudes toward science ever since. Teasing out the tension between doing and knowing during key episodes in the history of science—mechanical philosophy and Newtonian gravitation; elective affinities and the chemical revolution; enlightened natural history and taxonomy; evolutionary biology; the dynamical theory of electromagnetism; and quantum theory—Dear reveals how the two principles became formalized into a single enterprise, science, that would be carried out by a new kind of person, the scientist.nbsp; Finely nuanced and elegantly conceived,The Intelligibility of Naturewill be essential reading for aficionados and historians of science alike. nbsp; “Just as the body of knowledge evolves over time, so does the way scientists view the world they are explaining. This interplay between knowledge and mental model is the subject of Peter Dear's book. He shows how mechanistic explanations in physics and chemistry became ever more frequent after the industrial revolution, only to be supplanted by the nihilism of quantum theory in the social turmoil that followed the first world war. It is full of insights into how society, culture and people's perception interweave across biology, chemistry and physics.”—Adrian Barnett,New Scientist

Acknowledgments
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Science as Natural Philosophy, Science as Instrumentality
The Mechanical Universe from Galileo to Newton
A Place for Everything: The Classification of the World
The Chemical Revolution Thwarted by Atoms
Design and Disorder: The Origin of Species
Dynamical Explanation: The Aether and Victorian Machines
How to Understand Nature? Einstein, Bohr, and the Quantum Universe
Conclusion: Making Sense in Science
Bibliographical Essay

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