Research Category

Current Research

I have finished a number of books recently, all of which I hope to post some comments on soon. These books include Neil Postman’s classic epistemological critique of a technologically obsessed culture, Amusing Ourselves to Death.  I have also finished  Steven Shapin’s The Scientific Revolution, where in the Introduction he provocatively states, “There was no […]

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Peter Dear’s Historiography of Not-so-Recent Science

I came across Peter Dear’s “Historiography of Not-so-Recent Science” (Hist. Sci. 1, 2012) while doing some research last week at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Memorial Library. It is a fine article, reviewing some of the most recent themes and trends on the historiography of science on the period c. 1500-c.1700; that is, on the late Scientific […]

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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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The Secularization of the European Mind

A popular mind, even when that mind is middle class…has a need to inflate if it is to understand. It seizes upon a salient point; the point which is easy to identify; the point which is graphic, can be pictured; the point which a newspaper can make readable. In seizing upon the salient point it […]

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The Enlightenment: A Genealogy

Dan Edelstein, associate professor of French at Stanford University, begins his The Enlightenment: A Genealogy (2010) with a provocative introduction: “Every age needs its story. In the story we tell ourselves about our values, our government, and our religions, the Enlightenment plays a starring role.” We tell ourselves that the Enlightenment was the founding moment […]

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Big Questions Indeed

I recently found this website, Big Questions Online. Published by the John Templeton Foundation, it aims “ to ask and explore the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality, with a focus on science, religion, markets, morals, and the dynamic intersection among them.” One of its leading articles is an interview with Robert Bellah […]

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