History of Science Category

A Prolegomena to A History of Evolution: Taking Biology from Metaphysics

A little learning is a dang’rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. Fir’d at first sight with what the Muse imparts, In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts, While from the bounded level of our mind Short views […]

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Alvargonzález on Whig history and the History of Science

David Alvargonzález, in his recent Is the History of Science Essentially Whiggish? (Hist. Sci. li, 2013) argues that Whig history is a necessary process of historical research. Since the mid-1970s, the labels “Whig” or “Whiggish” have been frequently used in history of science jargon to denigrate and repudiate certain histories of science which accept the […]

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Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science

An invaluable resource to me lately has been The Oxford Companion to The History of Modern Science, edited by J.L. Heilbron(OUP, 2003). This is not a science encyclopedia but, as the title states, a companion guide to the history of science. The time covered is limited to the modern period, from around 1550, dwelling especially […]

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Myths about Science and Religion: That Copernicanism Demoted Humans from the Center of the Cosmos

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Dennis R. Danielson tells us, alleged that science had inflicted on humanity “two great outrages upon its naive self-love”: the first, associated with the sixteenth-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), “when it realized that our earth was not the centre of the universe, but only a tiny speck in a world-system of a […]

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Myths about Science and Religion: That Medieval Christians Taught that the Earth was Flat

Here is the classic story. People living in the “Dark Ages” were so ignorant (or so deceived by Catholic priests) that they believed the earth was flat. For thousands of years they lingered in ignorant obscurity, and were it not for the heroic bravery of Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) and other explorers, they might well have […]

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