*The Invention of Science*

That is the new, magisterial and explicitly Whiggish book by David Wootton, with the subtitle A New History of Scientific Revolution.

I wish there were a single word for the designator “deep, clear, and quite well written, though it will not snag the attention of the casual reader of popular science books because it requires knowledge of the extant literature on the history of science.”  Here is one excerpt, less specific than most of the book:

My argument so far is that the seventeenth-century mathematization of the world was long in preparation.  Perspective painting, ballistics and fortification, cartography and navigation prepared the ground for Galileo, Descartes and Newton.  The new metaphysics of the seventeenth century, which treated space as abstract and infinite, and location and movement as relative, was grounded in the new mathematical sciences of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and if we want to trace the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution we will need to go back to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, to double-entry bookkeeping, to Alberti and Regiomontanus.  The Scientific Revolution was, first and foremost, a revolt by the mathematicians against the authority of the philosophers.

769 pp., recommended — for some of you.

I had to order my copy from UK, in the US it comes out in December and can be pre-ordered.


Comments for this post are closed