Today the 'two cultures' - art and science - have come to be treated as fundamentally opposed, their aims incompatible. Scientific research is castigated for its inhumane methods & lack of moral responsibility, while art is treated as an enduring source of essential guidance to society's spiritual well-being. Lisa Jardine makes clear in this ...
Today the 'two cultures' - art and science - have come to be treated as fundamentally opposed, their aims incompatible. Scientific research is castigated for its inhumane methods & lack of moral responsibility, while art is treated as an enduring source of essential guidance to society's spiritual well-being. Lisa Jardine makes clear in this remarkable book that this is a distinction which is both artificial & historically inaccurate. The intellectual revolution of the 17th & early 18th eighteenth centuries was the single most formative event in Western history, bringing together the humanities & natural sciences in an unprecedented ferment of conceptual & practical creativity. She documents the forces for change which brought the human & natural sciences together & gave them shape. Each of her series of key components - among them, precise time measurement, enhanced astronomical observation, selective animal & plant breeding & technological advances in navigation - lays a crucial part of the foundations for modern thought. INGENIOUS PURSUITS brilliantly illuminates the practice of science, its impact on the emerging modern world & its continuing relevance to society.
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Publishers Weekly, 1999-10-25 How do periods of great intellectual energy come about? Why are major discoveries made at certain historical moments? To answer such questions, Jardine (Worldly Goods; coauthor of Hostage to Fortune, a biography of Francis Bacon, Forecasts, Apr. 26) studies the intellectual community of late-17th-century London, beautifully evoking the excitement accompanying that period's major inventions and discoveries. Jardine traces relationships among the most famous figures of the period (e.g., Sir Isaac Newton, Christopher Wren, John Locke) and links their work to a network of scientists and philosophers generated by the founding of the Royal Society in London. A portrait emerges of a community of adventurous and imaginative people interested in science for its contribution to human understanding. Jardine's central contention is that the period was characterized by so much cross-pollination between what we now call the sciences and the humanities that the distinction between the two realms we now take for granted didn't yet exist. The chapters range across a huge body of ideas, discoveries and processes, which turn out to be closely connected: mapping the elliptical orbits of comets; tracing blood circulation; importing rare and remote plants to England; founding Britain's famous museums; inventing air pumps, diving bells, spring watches. The volume's comprehensive catalogue of gizmos and brainstorms comes at the expense of historical analysis, but Jardine gives a memorable account of cultural ferment and individual genius during the scientific revolution. Illustrations. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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