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The Invention of Science: A New History of…
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The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution (Original 2015; 2016. Auflage)

von David Wootton (Autor)

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398950,680 (4.05)4
"The Invention of Science goes back five hundred years in time to chronicle this crucial transformation, exploring the factors that led to its birth and the people who made it happen. Wootton argues that the Scientific Revolution was actually five separate yet concurrent events that developed independently, but came to intersect and create a new worldview. Here are the brilliant iconoclasts--Galileo, Copernicus, Brahe, Newton, and many more curious minds from across Europe--whose studies of the natural world challenged centuries of religious orthodoxy and ingrained superstition. From gunpowder technology, the discovery of the new world, movable type printing, perspective painting, and the telescope to the practice of conducting experiments, the laws of nature, and the concept of the fact, Wootton shows how these discoveries codified into a social construct and a system of knowledge." -- Publisher's website… (mehr)
Mitglied:Erasmvs
Titel:The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution
Autoren:David Wootton (Autor)
Info:Harper Perennial (2016), Edition: Illustrated, 784 pages
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The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution von David Wootton (2015)

  1. 20
    The Baroque Cycle: Quicksilver; The Confusion; The System of the World von Neal Stephenson (themulhern)
    themulhern: Both are lively accounts of the invention of science.
  2. 00
    Asimov, Isaac : Asimov, Isaac: Die exakten Geheimnisse unserer Welt. - München : Droemer Knaur [1]., Kosmos, Erde, Materie, Technik 1. Aufl. von Isaac Asimov (themulhern)
    themulhern: Asimov's general discussion of science and its invention, which in his book is only in the first chapter, really complement Wootton's, and vice-versa. By the time Asimov's fourth guide, "Asimov's New Guide to Science" was published in the 1980s he had done some pretty deep thinking and it's remarkable how his thoughts and Wootton's seem to align.… (mehr)
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Antes de 1492 acreditava-se que todo o conhecimento relevante já se encontrava disponível, não havia um conceito de progresso e as pessoas procuravam compreender o passado e não o futuro. David Wootton argumenta que a descoberta da América demonstrou que era possível o novo conhecimento. Aliás, introduziu mesmo o conceito de «descoberta» e abriu o caminho à invenção da ciência. A nova cultura teve os seus mártires (Giordano Bruno e Galileu Galilei), os seus heróis (Johannes Kepler e Robert Boyle) e os seus artesãos pacientes (William Gilbert e Robert Hooke). Conduziu a um novo racionalismo, extinguindo a alquimia, a astrologia e a crença na feitiçaria. Levou à invenção da máquina a vapor e à primeira Revolução Industrial.
A obra fundamental e de referência de David Wootton altera a nossa compreensão de como se deu esta grande transformação e do que é a ciência.
  LuisFragaSilva | Nov 9, 2020 |
This is probably a very important book to read if you're a philosopher of science who thinks that the theories of phlogiston and evolution are of equal validity. Of course, those people do not exist. This is clearly a failure of editing, agenting, and a triumph of misleading marketing. This book is not at all a general reader's book about the scientific revolution, and certainly not about the invention of science. it is, instead, scholarly articles embedded in a polemic against postmodernists (the book was apparently conceived in 1982).

Others have written about the book's many structural flaws; I will just note two intellectual flaws. First, Wootton opposes the sociology of science, because they approach science sociologically, without any regard for the truth claims of scientific theories. Does he feel the same way about the sociology of religion, I wonder? To make my point clear: sociologists study human interactions. They do not care what those interactions are *about*, and if they did, they would be betraying the point of sociology.

Second, Wootton's positive arguments are horrific. To take the most obvious: he claims that Columbus' discovery* of the Americas made science possible, by introducing the very concept of discovery. It was not possible to 'discover' gravity, in other words, without the concept of discovery; without that concept, one could just go on adjusting already existing theories, rather than taking account of new facts (he also covers the invention of the idea of the fact). Slight problem here: Columbus' 'discovery' of the Americas was also the Americans' 'discovery' of Europe. And yet, science did not develop in the Americas until after the Europeans had really, really, really 'discovered' it. Why not? Because concepts are useless in the absence of economic development, political support, and so on. Science may rely on the concept of discovery *grammatically* (Wootton loves him some Wittgenstein, and is at pains to show that Wittgenstein was not a relativist), but not *historically*. There is nothing here about the importance of economic development for the development of science, which is no failing in an academic article about the concept of 'discovery,' but a rather glaring one in a book about the scientific revolution.

A true disappointment.

*: Columbus did not, of course, 'discover' the Americas. They'd been discovered for some time by, you know, the many civilizations spread out over the continent for a millenium or more. Wootton does not care. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
This a very comprehensive, detailed history of the scientific revolution. The author lays out, in extensive detail, both the events and environment which led to the development of science as we know it today.

The book is extremely thorough. As a result, it is also quite dense and requires reading of the extensive footnotes as you go to completely understand many of the observations/conclusions of the author. In some cases, it seemed as if significant parts of the analysis were relegated to footnotes when the reader would be better served having the information included in the text.

On more than one occasion, an event the author described reminded me of something in Neal Stevenson's Baroque Cycle, which I found enjoyable.

This is a challenging book that requires perseverance. It is well worth the effort if you have a real interest in history and science. ( )
1 abstimmen grandpahobo | Sep 26, 2019 |
This is a book with a simple argument to make: that the scientific revolution was a real thing, it definitely happened, and it happened at a specific point in time, namely, ‘between 1572, when Tycho Brahe saw a nova, and 1704, when Newton published his Opticks’. In that century and a half, a staggering number of new truths about reality became understood – we went from living at the centre of a universe of celestial spheres, reading manuscripts to glean the lessons of the ancient Greeks, to living on a terraqueous globe orbiting the sun, and studying printed books from a new breed of modern experimental scientists. And it was all driven by advances in instruments, a new awareness of the potential for discovery, and a growing conviction that empirical experience was more important than philosophical dogma or classical authority.

The simplicity of Wootton's premise is, in a way, a clue to his defensiveness. He is explicitly arguing against the claims of ‘postmodernist’ historians, who have suggested that successful scientific theories are, in terms of historical description, not fundamentally different from unsuccessful ones, and that anyway scientific ‘truths’ are culturally dependent and enforced by political authority. Wootton is having none of this.

More power to him; but unless you have gone through life with a steely conviction of the right-mindedness of Bloor's strong programme, Wootton's intramural aggression may quickly become tiresome. His arguments are aimed at his historiographical opponents, not at the general reader. And he is not above frequent asides to make this point explicit (‘It should be obvious that he was not right about this’; ‘the notion…seems to escape Boghossian’). Time and again he interrupts his narrative to bring the evil relativists on stage behind him, so we can shout at them like a pantomime audience. Look out, it's Simon Schaffer! It's Michel Foucault, with waxed moustaches and a black cape! Boo! Hiss! They're behind you (for a given local value of ‘behind’)!

I imagine that fifty or sixty years ago, histories of the scientific revolution presented a standard timeline of Great Men And Their Discoveries. Happily, things have moved on a bit since then; and yet, reading Wootton, I found myself yearning for some basic facts and figures about what actually happened and who did what. In the end, this is not (as its subtitle claims) a ‘history of the scientific revolution’ at all, but rather a history of the attitudes and thought processes that contributed to or grew out of it. Instead of looking at a steady progress of breakthroughs and developments, Wootton concerns himself with changes in the era's conceptual tools; he analyses texts in great detail, focusing on specific items of vocabulary as markers of changing attitudes – indeed, some chapters seem to consist of little more than a timeline of neologisms – and he lavishes much more time and attention on the coining of such terms as ‘discovery’, ‘fact’ or ‘experiment’ than he does on actual discoveries, facts or experiments.

I have a very high tolerance of this kind of semantic approach, but even I found it a bit exhausting after a while. Finally hitting a chapter on Newton, you rub your hands with anticipation, only to read: ‘My first goal in this chapter, then, is to establish why Newton was hostile to the word “hypothesis”…’ and your heart just sinks. Wootton's arguments about how language reflects mental attitudes are well-made and convincing, but what you don't get in this book is much sense of the grubby reality of early-modern science – the long nights, the sweating over furnaces, the trial and error of different practical approaches.

Combined with his combative stance vis-à-vis other historical treatments, it all serves to make his undoubted learning sound uncomfortably like pedantry in places. (This is not helped by a somewhat finicky approach to notation: Wootton uses Latin numerals for endnotes and Roman numerals for footnotes, so that many sentences end in a superscripted mishmash of characters: ‘…even then it was at first confined to political revolutionsˣˣˣⁱᵛ⁴¹’.)

Overall, I'm unsure how much I'd recommend this. On the one hand, it really has changed the way I think about the long seventeenth century, especially in terms of how I interpret the language of all these early scientists. And fundamentally I share Wootton's impatience with a lot of relativist history. All the same, the sad truth is that I'm just left craving a plainer, more chronological description of the key breakthroughs of the period. Doubtless many such histories exist, but this one, which positions itself as a new standard, feels too polemical to be in a position to fully replace them. ( )
4 abstimmen Widsith | Feb 13, 2018 |
Just started the audio version - names, dates, theories, discoveries, inventions - drinking from a firehouse, wonderful. Looking forward to adding it back into my que and reading the book in the future. ( )
  MichaelC.Oliveira | Apr 25, 2017 |
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David WoottonHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Taylor, JarrodUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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Modern science was invented between 1572, when Tyco Brahe saw a nova, or new star, and 1704, when Newton published his Opticks, which demonstrated that white light is made up of light of all the colours of the rainbow, that you can split it into its component colours with a prism, and that colour inheres in light, not in objects.
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Epigraph for the introduction: "This is the age wherein (me-thinks) Philosophy comes in with a Spring-tide; and the Peripateticks may as well hope to stop the Current of the Tide, or (with Xerxes) to fetter the Ocean, as hinder the overflowing of free Philosophy. Me-thinks, I see how all the old Rubbish must be thrown away, and the rotten Buildings be overthrown, and carried away with so powerful and Inundation. These are the days that must lay a new Foundation of a more magnificent Philosophy, never to be overthrown: that will Empirically and Sensibly canvass the Phaenomena of Nature, deducing the causes of things from such Originals in Nature, as we observe are producible by Art, and the infallible demonstration of Mechanicks, and certainly, this is the way, and no other, to build a true and permanent Philosophy..." - Henry Power, "Experimental Philosophy" (1664)
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"The Invention of Science goes back five hundred years in time to chronicle this crucial transformation, exploring the factors that led to its birth and the people who made it happen. Wootton argues that the Scientific Revolution was actually five separate yet concurrent events that developed independently, but came to intersect and create a new worldview. Here are the brilliant iconoclasts--Galileo, Copernicus, Brahe, Newton, and many more curious minds from across Europe--whose studies of the natural world challenged centuries of religious orthodoxy and ingrained superstition. From gunpowder technology, the discovery of the new world, movable type printing, perspective painting, and the telescope to the practice of conducting experiments, the laws of nature, and the concept of the fact, Wootton shows how these discoveries codified into a social construct and a system of knowledge." -- Publisher's website

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