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Experiencing Nature, honoring the renowned historian of science, Allen G Debus, explores ideas of science – 'experiences of nature' – from within a historiographical tradition that Debus has done much to define. As his work shows, the sciences do not develop exclusively as a result of a progressive and inexorable logic of discovery. A wide variety of extra-scientific factors, deriving from changing intellectual contexts and differing social millieus, play crucial roles in the overall development of scientific thought.
These essays represent case studies in a broad range of scientific settings – from sixteenth-century astronomy and medicine, through nineteenth-century biology and mathematics, to the social sciences in the twentieth-century – that show the impact of both social settings and the cross-fertilization of ideas on the formation of science. Aimed at a general audience interested in the history of science, Experiencing Nature closes with Debus's personal perspective on the development of the field.
Paperback reprint of the original 1997 edition.
P. H. Theerman, K. Hunger Parshall
Experiencing Nature in Intellectual Contexts
1. The Body Politic Before and After the Scientific Revolution; I.B. Cohen
2. The Geometrical Kabbalahs of John Dee and Johannes Kepler: The Hebrew Tradition and the Mathematical Study of Nature; M.T. Walton, P.J. Walton
3. The Theological Foundations of Darwin's Theory of Evolution; R.J. Richards
4. Chemistry through Invariant Theory? James Joseph Sylvester's Mathematization of the Atomic Theory; K. Hunger Parshall
Experiencing Nature in Social Contexts
5. Religion, Science, and the Public Imagination: The Restoration of Order in Early Modern France; T.D. Murphy
6. Dancing with Spiders: Tarantism in Early Modern Europe; M. Baldwin
7. Nature and Culture in the Discourses of the Virtuosi of France; K. Wellman
8. Dionysius Lardner's American Tour: A Case Study in Antebellum American Interest in Science, Technology, and Nature; P. H. Theerman
Establishing an Historiographical Tradition: From the Sciences to History: A Personal and Intellectual Journey; A.G. Debus
Selected Bibliography A. G. Debus