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I was so looking forward to liking this book But in the end, I did not really warm to it I do not say this lightly, and it even takes me some courage to admit it Why so Because the history of ideas is a subject close to my heart, and I wrote a longish essay at university about the development of historiography in the 17th century That does not mean I am an expert on this subject far from it but it does mean that I researched some of the dynamics this book explores in quite some depth, a I was so looking forward to liking this book But in the end, I did not really warm to it I do not say this lightly, and it even takes me some courage to admit it Why so Because the history of ideas is a subject close to my heart, and I wrote a longish essay at university about the development of historiography in the 17th century That does not mean I am an expert on this subject far from it but it does mean that I researched some of the dynamics this book explores in quite some depth, and that I was hoping to re discover the joy I had at university through reading the book But for the most part, I did not, and here is why This book is a proper work of scholarly researchNow, this of course would rather speak in favour of it than against it But after decades spent outside the world of academia, I had forgotten what academic research can be like The part I had forgotten is that many scholars find it necessary to define the scope of their topic clinically, aiming to make clear precisely where they stand relative to other scholars, how they differ from other research, and who they regard as their intellectual influence.And again, there is not necessarily anything wrong with this But, come on, David, was it really necessary to spend 50 pages on whether the term scientific revolution is appropriate or not to describe the three centuries since the discovery of America The term was invented by Thomas Kuhn, a key scholar in the field, whose book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was met with so much acclaim that the key term from its title re surfaced in the research of other eminent thinkers notably Alexandre Koyre, The Astronomical Revolution Copernicus, Kepler, Borelli Now, apparently, the term revolution is so ingrained in the scholarly psyche that we need a tedious chapter discussing whether naming conventions established by contemporary scholars are appropriate or not I was hoping this book would deepen my insights into a crucial development in the history of ideas Certainly, one or two pages on this would have sufficed So I was off to a disappointing start In fact, I would have preferred it if David had discussed his research methodology to put his analysis onto a sound footing Surprisingly, David chose not to talk about that at all That is surprising in a work of scholarly research But worse than being merely surprising, in the case of this monograph, it is also disappointing It is disappointing because it omits a necessary building block without which much of what David says lacks rigour Well, I thought so, anyway Methodology What s in a word The methodology that I am quibbling with is a linguistic approach to historical analysis Frequently, David traces the usage of a certain expression back through the ages, and identifies a time when the expression was not widely used He then concludes that the concept the expression denotes cannot have existed in the time period before it was coined, and by extension concludes that the concept behind the expression developed first with the emergence of the word.The issue I have with this method is subtle I do not deny that language reflects reality , and that speakers users of the technology language define words through usage and consensus of what they stand for The expression internet did not exist in ancient Greece, the word gay meant something entirely different in 1730 than it does now, and there is rarely ever the need today to use the word abacus , for example.So yes, I agree that language reflects society, and that linguistic archaeology can be a useful and appropriate tool to infer the state of mind of past societies or communities But I wonder how this method needs to be applied, and what the conclusions are that it allows How to apply the toolThe problem with linguistic archaeology is that it requires a statistician, not a historian, to use it properly The first time David uses the linguistic method is in his discussion of the term discovery Basically, he says that prior to the discovery of America there was no term in the European languages that expressed the concept of first finding evidence for something hitherto unknown David argues that the absence of the term also denotes the absence of the concept, and highlights the dominance of the Aristotelian, anti empirical, method I actually find David s idea convincing, and brilliantly insightful in principle But I do not trust myself to accept if fully And the reason is that David has not shown me evidence that frequency of usage actually jumped after 1492 from near zero to something significantly non zero Actually, he never even defines what metric he uses to identify an increase in usage It is number of occurrences per text per year If so, where are the numbers I want to see a bar chart And this introduces another problem how long does the time series have to be before I can conclude that the word discovery really did not exist pre Columbus 100 years 200 If I apply the benchmark of modern science, I could not accept the hypothesis as true unless I can show that the frequency of usage increased to a significant level within a clearly defined confidence interval And that is a problem unless I count words in all relevant texts on a given subject since antiquity.To be fair to David, he does mention EEBO and ECCO Early English Books Online Eighteenth Century Collections Online and comments on the efficiency of search algorithms these facilities offer p592 , so there is evidence that he applied some form of structured statistical anaysis But he never goes into his methodology, he never shows us the results, and he most certainly does not publish the numerical evidence None of this invalidates his insights But what I would see as lack of rigour in this regard diminishes the confidence I have in David s results And this is a problem because his methodology of linguistic archaeology permeates the book I suspect David is fargifted linguist than he is a statistician What conclusions can we draw when applying the tool To make things worse, I did often not agree entirely with the conclusions he drew To stay with the example of discovery , David concludes that prior to the discovery of America, the concept of discovery did not exist, because the word did not exist But I wonder To me, it isplausible to suggest that discoveries were happening so rarely in pre Americodiscovery times that people had not coined a word for it So after Columbus, the Aristotelian stranglehold on natural philosophy weakened sufficiently to allow findings that had hitherto not been made to occur at an ever increasing rate, and because of this a catchy expression had to be coined This interpretation changes the gist of David s argument only subtly, but I think the difference in viewpoint is still important enough to mention It is different to say the frequency of discoveries increased materially from discoveries did not exist pre Columbus But it is a beautiful bookSo I must admit, what I see as vagueness in the key methodology David employs did not allow me to trust his findings as much as I would have needed to for a truly satisfactory learning experience But there are chapters in the book in which it did live up to my expectations These are chapters 4 to 6, in which David brilliantly lays out the interplay between discoveries and the impact they have on the way we view the world The discovery of America was to be the ultimate death knell for the Aristotelian 4 sphere model of the world, which in turn paved the way for the development of perspective painting and a commensurate re interpretation of the position of man in the world, and of the world in the cosmos The book is full of beautifully reproduced paintings, drawings, and woodcuts At one point, I was so excited by the illustrations that I thought I d buy a first edition copy of Robert Hooke s Micrographia I even found one on Abe Books for 80,000, plus 12 shipping Twelve pounds shipping The cheek of itOk so I didn t buy it But I did buy a facsimile copy And I bought some other books from the time, like Johannes Kepler s Somnium, or Francis Godwin s Man in the Moone, arguably the first ever science fiction novel.So in the end, I did have a fun time with the book, and you can see I did get excited about the time But since it is a proper scholarly treatise, and not pop science, I could not get past what I saw as a methodological weakness But if your opinion on this differs, or you are able to overlook the issue, you will probably gain interesting insights reading it So in the end, I would still recommend the book, even though I did not get the rich intellectual experience I was hoping for (((Free Book))) ⇛ The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution ⇺ We live in a world made by science How and when did this happen This book tells the story of the extraordinary intellectual and cultural revolution that gave birth to modern science, and mounts a major challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy of its historyBeforeit was assumed that all significant knowledge was already available there was no concept of progress people looked for understanding to the past not the future This book argues that the discovery of America demonstrated that new knowledge was possible indeed it introduced the very concept of discovery , and opened the way to the invention of scienceThe first crucial discovery was Tycho Brahe s nova ofproof that there could be change in the heavens The telescoperendered the old astronomy obsolete Torricelli s experiment with the vacuumled directly to the triumph of the experimental method in the Royal Society of Boyle and Newton ByNewtonianism was being celebrated throughout EuropeThe new science did not consist simply of new discoveries, or new methods It relied on a new understanding of what knowledge might be, and with this came a new language discovery, progress, facts, experiments, hypotheses, theories, laws of nature almost all these terms existed before , but their meanings were radically transformed so they became tools with which to think scientifically We all now speak this language of science, which was invented during the Scientific RevolutionThe new culture had its martyrs Bruno, Galileo , its heroes Kepler, Boyle , its propagandists Voltaire, Diderot , and its patient labourers Gilbert, Hooke It led to a new rationalism, killing off alchemy, astrology, and belief in witchcraft It led to the invention of the steam engine and to the first Industrial Revolution David Wootton s landmark book changes our understanding of how this great transformation came about, and of what science is another book I read across time and finished the last few pages in these two free days after the New Year dense, requiring effort both to understand the prose occasionally and to understand the arguments and one I wouldn t recommend for a novice reader in its subject The Scientific Revolution and the crucial change that happened in Western Europe gradually between 1500 and 1700, and most notably between 1600 and 1700 that led to the world of todayThere are always arguments whether there wa another book I read across time and finished the last few pages in these two free days after the New Year dense, requiring effort both to understand the prose occasionally and to understand the arguments and one I wouldn t recommend for a novice reader in its subject The Scientific Revolution and the crucial change that happened in Western Europe gradually between 1500 and 1700, and most notably between 1600 and 1700 that led to the world of todayThere are always arguments whether there was a revolution , what is science and so on, but as the author points out, if you look at the intellectual life world view in 1500, 1600 and 1700 the differences are striking and the fundamental questions tackled in the book are what happened, was it predetermined to happen or an accident that Newton, Locke, Leibniz, Hooke and many others building responding arguing with earlier works by Descartes, Galileo, Copernicus and others and being able to freelyor less and timely meet, communicate, share, dispute happened to live and work in the same historical period, how it happened etcNot a linear or events when, who, how but a full meditation on the subject also regarding it through the prism of current thinking and arguing with such in addition to presenting a panorama of the epochHighly recommended and worth persevering through the book Simply one of the best treatments of the history and philosophy of science I ve read An exploration of how science developed, what tools and cultural conditions made it possible, and how and why it has progressed It is also presents a very clear understanding of what science is and why it works for explicating nature and making progress in prediction I teach History and Philosophy of Biology at my university and this has been a treasure trove in detailing the nuances of how and why science is Simply one of the best treatments of the history and philosophy of science I ve read An exploration of how science developed, what tools and cultural conditions made it possible, and how and why it has progressed It is also presents a very clear understanding of what science is and why it works for explicating nature and making progress in prediction I teach History and Philosophy of Biology at my university and this has been a treasure trove in detailing the nuances of how and why science is what it is today A book rich in historical details that I will return to again and again I m sure This book defends the traditional idea of the scientific revolution as a break in Western history that so radical that it introduced the idea of progress, disenchanted the world , created a worldview based on the idea that knowledge was not based on authority but objective fact In other words it was the foundation of the mindset of modern people and a clear break from all traditional societies which came before it It deserves the name revolution The author looks at many of the strands of this This book defends the traditional idea of the scientific revolution as a break in Western history that so radical that it introduced the idea of progress, disenchanted the world , created a worldview based on the idea that knowledge was not based on authority but objective fact In other words it was the foundation of the mindset of modern people and a clear break from all traditional societies which came before it It deserves the name revolution The author looks at many of the strands of this epochal change from causes to long lasting effects very good This is no lightweight book both literally and metaphorically It packs in nearly 600 pages of decidedly small print, and manages to assign about 10 per cent of these simply to deciding what is meant by a scientific revolution the subtitle is a new history of the scientific revolution While warning of the importance of being aware of the change in meaning of some terms, the author successfully demolishes the arguments of those who argue that terms like science, scientist and revolution This is no lightweight book both literally and metaphorically It packs in nearly 600 pages of decidedly small print, and manages to assign about 10 per cent of these simply to deciding what is meant by a scientific revolution the subtitle is a new history of the scientific revolution While warning of the importance of being aware of the change in meaning of some terms, the author successfully demolishes the arguments of those who argue that terms like science, scientist and revolution can t be applied to the seventeenth century because they re anachronistic He doesn t say it, but this is a bit like saying you shouldn t call a dinosaur a dinosaur because the word wasn t in use when they were around What s also very apparent in a section on history and philosophy of science is why so many scientists are dubious of philosophers and historians of science When an adult can seriously suggest that we can t say that current science is better than that of the Romans all we can say, suggest these philosophers and historians of science, is that our science is different it makes it very clear that some academics have spent far too much time in ivory towers examining their philosophical navels and really haven t got a clue about the real world.We then get into the main content of the gradual process of science, in the current sense of the word, coming into being It s certainly interesting in a dry way to see this analytically dissected, though the slightly tedious nature of the exposition makes it clear why popular science has to simplify and concentrate on the narrative if readers are to be kept on track I appreciate that an academic like David Wootton wants to ensure that every i is dotted and t crossed, but I think that all the arguments of this book could have been made in half the length by cutting back on some of the detail and repetition.This book, then, is not popular science in the usual sense, but neither is it a textbook If you are prepared to put the effort in, you will receive huge insights into what lies beneath one view of the true history of science That s why the book gets 5 stars I ve learnedabout the history of science from this one book than any other five I can think of that I have read in the past I have to emphasise that one view part, though History is well, not an exact science As far as I can see I m not equipped to criticise the content this is a superbly well researched piece of scientific history, but in the end, the conclusions drawn are down to Wootton and he enjoys making it clear where he is strongly contradicting other historians of science.There s a huge amount to appreciate here Wootton convincingly demolishes Kuhn s idea that scientific revolutions require heavy disagreements among scientists, showing how exposure to experience often thanks to new technology, such as the telescope can swing the argument surprisingly painlessly And he shows what a remarkable influence words have on the development of science music to the ear of a writer Perhaps most remarkable of all is Wootton s careful, very detailed exposition of the idea that the real trigger for modern scientific thought was Columbus s discovery of America, which demolished the existing model of the Earth and made it possible to see how experience can triumph over the philosophical quagmire of authority.If you ve a fair amount of time to spare and really want to dig into the way that the scientific revolution came about, I would heartily recommend giving this title a try This book will look, I trust, realist to relativists and relativist to realists that is how it is meant to look The Invention of Science isn t an easy book to read Neither is it particularly difficult, thanks to Wootten s felicitous prose But it does require a high degree of concentration as Wootten ranges both far and deep in his exploration of how science got its start His argument is intentionally provocative, precise, plainly stated and copiously supported The writing is lively, witty This book will look, I trust, realist to relativists and relativist to realists that is how it is meant to look The Invention of Science isn t an easy book to read Neither is it particularly difficult, thanks to Wootten s felicitous prose But it does require a high degree of concentration as Wootten ranges both far and deep in his exploration of how science got its start His argument is intentionally provocative, precise, plainly stated and copiously supported The writing is lively, witty, even barbed qualities generally absent in scholarly texts I also appreciated Wootten s approach to the footnote endnote conundrum references are saved for the endnotes to accommodate readers who want to hunt down sources but comments that amplify the argument are placed at the bottom of the page, to keep the reader in the flow In addition, he s placed a series of longer notes at the end of the book, where his basic arguments are outlined with brio andancillary texts.In Wootten s account, science is essentially the triumph of experience over philosophy All the standard characters are there Galileo, Kepler, Boyle, Newton but also an entertaining, anarchic host of lesser known scientists, mathematicians, theologians and philosophes, doctors and clergymen Wootten gives the standard accounts an interesting spin, looking as much at the tools of thought as at the tools of discovery and invention telescopes, prisms, air pumps He investigates the history and meaning of words such as discovery, invention, facts, experiments, laws, hypotheses, and evenordinary and apparently obvious terms such as progress and common sense Another excellent review on this page found this procedure a problem I didn t I was fascinated although, as I said at the start, one needs a strong cup of coffee and plenty of quiet concentration to make it through a few of these chapters.This is a book that fully lives up to its title I read it after reading Noam Chomsky s recent lectures as a kind of luxuriant, deeply satisfying postscript but that was just to amuse myself The author did a good job by laying out the historic events that make The Scientific Revolution possible He did detailed language evolution of what he called intellectual tools of modern science for example Facts, Discovery, Hypothesis, Theory, Laws of Nature etc I enjoyed most of language details and comparisons French, Italian, latin, German but sometimes i am like come on Prof Wootton don t go there The book is great interest for people that are into the debate of Realism vs Rela The author did a good job by laying out the historic events that make The Scientific Revolution possible He did detailed language evolution of what he called intellectual tools of modern science for example Facts, Discovery, Hypothesis, Theory, Laws of Nature etc I enjoyed most of language details and comparisons French, Italian, latin, German but sometimes i am like come on Prof Wootton don t go there The book is great interest for people that are into the debate of Realism vs Relativism in the field of understanding history of science The author is neither realist nor relativist he is some what between and calls himself constructivist He criticised relativists a lotthan realists in this book HIGHLY recommended for science nerds This is a sweeping summary, very well sourced and noted, of the basic idea repercussions of the Scientific Revolution Here s the whole glorious thing summarized in a perfect little quote A basic description of the Scientific Revolution is to say that it represented a successful rebellion by the mathematicians against the authority of the philosophers, and of both against the authority of the theologians Well, obviously there sto it than that, but HIGHLY recommended for science nerds This is a sweeping summary, very well sourced and noted, of the basic idea repercussions of the Scientific Revolution Here s the whole glorious thing summarized in a perfect little quote A basic description of the Scientific Revolution is to say that it represented a successful rebellion by the mathematicians against the authority of the philosophers, and of both against the authority of the theologians Well, obviously there sto it than that, but you ll just have to RAFO I wrote an unreasonably long, rambling review that you can read HERE, if you re into that sort of thing.This review is based on an e ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss Even though the book is apparently already out in the UK, it isn t released in the US until December I am not really qualified to critique the content of this book, but I will comment for other readers like me who enjoy history of science as amateurs This is clearly a scholarly work, however I only felt that about 10% of it was above my head e.g using historian philosophy jargon that I needed to either look up or just skip over Having had one college course discussing Kuhn helped me It is a long book, and having made the effort to read it I now regret not having taken a few notes, as ther I am not really qualified to critique the content of this book, but I will comment for other readers like me who enjoy history of science as amateurs This is clearly a scholarly work, however I only felt that about 10% of it was above my head e.g using historian philosophy jargon that I needed to either look up or just skip over Having had one college course discussing Kuhn helped me It is a long book, and having made the effort to read it I now regret not having taken a few notes, as there were many hmmm, very interesting moments that changed my basic understanding of an aspect of history The whole thing about beliefs about the shape of the Earth was wayfascinating than the cartoonish impression I think many people retain after school Wootton s basic thesis is that a series of inventions, discoveries, and new ideas mostly within the 16th 17th centuries were necessary game changers for real science as we know it to develop He makes quite a thorough case for each point, though I have seen other published reviews aren t quite convinced these developments aren t just part of acontinuous arc of history Despite wishing it was a bit shorter, I m glad I read this Whether or not his thesis is important to the average person, all the discussions were worthwhile updates to my understanding of western history An added note Wootton s thesis was wayconvincing to me than that of The Swerve by Greenblatt That shorter book was definitely an enjoyable read, but, again, as an amateur, I was not convinced by its grand claims about Lucretius