Visions of Science ePUB ê Visions of PDF/EPUB ²

Visions of Science ePUB ê Visions of PDF/EPUB ²

Visions of Science ❰Reading❯ ➼ Visions of Science Author James A. Secord – The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed an extraordinary transformation in British political literary and intellectual life There was widespread social unrest and debates raged regarding ed The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed an extraordinary transformation in British political literary and intellectual life There was widespread social unrest and debates raged regarding education the lives of the working class and the new industrial machine governed world At the same time modern science emerged in Europe in or less its current form as new disciplines and revolutionary concepts including evolution and the vastness of Visions of PDF/EPUB ² geologic time began to take shape                     In Visions of Science James A Secord offers a new way to capture this uniue moment of change He explores seven key books—among them Charles Babbage’s Reflections on the Decline of Science Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology Mary Somerville’s Connexion of the Physical Sciences and Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus—and shows how literature that reflects on the wider meaning of science can be revelatory when granted the kind of close reading usually reserved for fiction and poetry These books considered the meanings of science and its place in modern life looking to the future coordinating and connecting the sciences and forging knowledge that would be appropriate for the new age Their aim was often philosophical but Secord shows it was just as often imaginative projective and practical to suggest not only how to think about the natural world but also to indicate modes of action and potential conseuences in an era of unparalleled change                         Visions of Science opens our eyes to how genteel ladies working men and the literary elite responded to these remarkable works It reveals the importance of understanding the physical ualities of books and the key role of printers and publishers from factories pouring out cheap compendia to fashionable publishing houses in London’s West End Secord’s vivid account takes us to the heart of an information revolution that was to have profound conseuences for the making of the modern world.

3 thoughts on “Visions of Science

  1. Stephen Case Stephen Case says:

    Most people believe history is made up of people and their ideas Maybe also the things they do But I tend to think of history as being made up much of books The majority of people live and die and leave no record no imprint on history You’ll never know what they thought; you’ll never have any contact with them Great historians can get around this to some extend; I know social historians who can tease a wealth of information about the past from statistics censuses documents and other clues If you’re lucky you might find a trove of letters or journals related to particular individuals as well But these are the fringes and margins of intellectual history and such evidences only go back a couple hundred years at the mostBooks are a different story Books are like the shelled organisms in the fossil record By their very nature they leave a mark on intellectual history They’re ideas given form preserved read and interpreted And yet they’re not static A person’s ideas are in some way solidified in a text but that person’s thoughts change over time and there’s always also the uestion of how good a reflection of a person’s true views or ideas a book truly is But books like the Origin of Species for instance or the works of Newton leave an impact they’re read and their ideas spread They’re the bones we build our intellectual histories uponBut this isn’t enough If we simply try to read the classical texts of the past without regard for the context in which they were written or without understanding the ways contemporary readers would have interpreted them then we’re only getting a portion of the picture It’s this context that the historian of science James Secord brings to a cluster of pivotal texts in his new work Visions of ScienceThe subtitle of the work is “Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age” The first half of the 1800s happens to be a period in which I’m uite comfortable having written my dissertation on one of the authors whose work Secord examines But it’s not an arbitrary choice of period as Secord makes clear The dawn of the Victorian Age was in many ways the dawn of modern science as we know it Society was changing particularly in Great Britain where there was a growing middle class population technological innovations were making texts cheap and accessible and scientific progress was seen as the panacea for solving social ills The early 1800s saw the beginning of the devotion to science as a means of progress that we continue though a bit jaded disillusioned and hopefully wiser to live within today This is the world on the cusp of Darwin and the professionalization of science steeped in the early enthusiasm of the industrial revolutionSecord examines seven texts from this period Humphrey Davy’s Consolations in Travel published near the end of the chemist’s life as a retrospective on the progress of humanity to date; Charles Babbage’s Reflections on the Decline of Science in England his tract against the perceived stagnation of science in England compared to the Continent which Secord uses as a segue into the politics and personalities of practicing science during this period; John Herschel’s Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy often seen as the first modern text on the philosophy of science; Mary Somerville’s popularization of science On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences; the geologists Charles Lyell’s Principle of Geology which set the groundwork for thinking of deep time and Darwin’s revolution; George Combe’s immensely popular work on phrenology Constitution of Man; and finally Thomas Carlyle’s weird and wonderful critiue of the science of his day Sartor ResartusSecord has previously published a book length treatment of another important book during this period that should be included in this list the anonymously written Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation which created a “Victorian sensation” In that earlier work Secord does in greater depth for the Vestiges a text that brought ideas of naturalistic evolution to a widespread audience decades before Darwin what he does for each of the texts listed above His treatments in Visions of Science are brief synopses almost vignettes about each book and it would have been nice to have an abbreviated version of his examination of the Vestiges among them as well for completeness; I don’t think any readers would have minded repetition with his previous studyFor each of these works Secord is interested in showing how these primary sources many of which students of the history of science in modern Britain would know well was initially perceived More than that he dives into the structure of the physical books themselves who published them how they were printed and what this meant about potential audience and cost Secord also provides biographical sketches of the authors but these are complete only in as far as needed to show how the writing of the particular book fit in the context of their lives Who were these authors what was their role in the nascent community of modern science and why did they write? Secord's exploration gives a clearer picture of the transitional world of early Victorian science and its rise to cultural prominence Visions of Science would be ideal for a course focusing on the history of science and culture in this period Such a course would likely involve the assignment of large portions of the primary texts for reading with the chapters of Secord’s work as supplementary material so today’s readers could do than simply filter these works through their own interpretive frameworks The studies in Secord’s work are a primer for a much difficult task seeing the works as they appeared in their own time In this Visions of Science succeeds in making these foundational texts three dimensional helping them come alive as we approach them as a Victorian reader would and seeing in a new way how foundational they were in shaping society and thought into molds we largely take for granted today

  2. Wan Mohd Aimran Wan Mohd Aimran says:

    The notion of scientific practice as a form of ideal conduct not just in reforming useful knowledge but also as a model for reforming behavior and society has resonance for us in the early 21st century as much as it has in early 19th century Britain

  3. Bettie Bettie says:

    to look intowatch ratings

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