Seeking nature's logic : natural philosophy in the Scottish enlightenment /
David B. Wilson.
University Park, Penn. : Pennsylvania State University Press, c2009.
xvi, 344 p.
0271035250 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780271035253 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
University Park, Penn. : Pennsylvania State University Press, c2009.
0271035250 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780271035253 (cloth : alk. paper)
"Studies the path of natural philosophy (i.e., physics) from Isaac Newton through Scotland into the nineteenth-century background to the modern revolution in physics. Examines how the history of science has been influenced by John Robison and other notable intellectuals of the Scottish Enlightenment"--Provided by publisher.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-02-01:
From the radical discoveries, accomplishments, and speculations of Galileo, Descartes, and Newton in the previous century or so emerged the unique era of the Scottish Enlightenment, roughly 1680-1810. It was unique in that, as one historian states, "No small nation--except ancient Greece--achieved an intellectual and cultural breakthrough of this magnitude." In this impressively detailed, erudite book, Wilson (Iowa State) serves to buttress that opinion. Dealing chiefly with the discoveries/theories related to natural philosophy, i.e., the physical sciences, he also elaborates on the concomitant philosophical underpinnings. Beyond the familiar names, e.g., Adam Smith, James Watt, and David Hume, Wilson discusses at least a dozen other notable scholars working out of Edinburgh and Glasgow universities. The material is so finely diced (and so finely tuned) that it leads to dissections such as Newtonian, Aristotelian, and Cartesian Newtonism, to say nothing of Newtonian anti-Newtonism--all concluding ultimately in the triumph of Newtonian over Cartesian Copernicanism. The era culminates with the heroic figure of John Robison (1739-1805), who overcame chronic debilitating illness to write brilliantly about astronomy, chemistry, and optics, all while denouncing everything French, including the revolution. It is difficult to imagine this material more learnedly or more comprehensively treated. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers/faculty, and general readers. M. Schiff CUNY College of Staten Island
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Choice, February 2010
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Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introduction: Descartes, Newton, and Leibnizp. 1
Changing Newton: The Legacy of Early Scottish Newtonians, 1690-1740p. 33
Midcentury Glasgow University, 1740-1760p. 69
The Natural Philosophy of Common-Sense Philosophy: Thomas Reid and His Colleagues, 1760-1788p. 103
The Natural Philosophy of Chemistry: Joseph Black and His Disciples, 1760-1786p. 133
Contemplating Knowledge and Nature: John Anderson, 1760-1796p. 171
John Robison's Phlogiston Physics, Circa 1780p. 201
John Robison's Boscovichian Physics, Circa 1800p. 235
Turn-of-the-Century Edinburgh University, 1790-1810p. 273
Bibliographyp. 309
Indexp. 335
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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