Subject: Science / General

Subject: Science / General

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Styles of Reasoning in the British Life Sciences

|9780822944768|Shared Assumptions, 1820–1858|Elwick explores how the concept of “compound individuality” brought together life scientists working in pre-Darwinian London. Scientists conducting research in comparative anatomy, physiology, cellular microscopy, embryology and the neurosciences repeatedly stated that plants and animals were compounds of smaller independent units. Discussion of a “bodily economy” was widespread. But by 1860, the most flamboyant discussions of compound individuality had come to an end in Britain. Elwick relates the growth and decline of questions about compound individuality to wider nineteenth-century debates about research standards and causality. He uses specific technical case studies to address overarching themes of reason and…

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Free Will and the Human Sciences in Britain, 1870-1910

|9780822944928| From the late nineteenth century onwards religion gave way to science as the dominant force in society. This led to a questioning of the principle of free will—if the workings of the human mind could be reduced to purely physiological explanations, then what place was there for human agency and self-improvement? Smith takes an in-depth look at the problem of free will through the prism of different disciplines. Physiology, psychology, philosophy, evolutionary theory, ethics, history and sociology all played a part in the debates that took place. His subtly nuanced navigation through these arguments has much to contribute to…

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Theories On The Scrap Heap

|9780822958734|Scientists and Philosophers on the Falsification, Rejection, and Replacement of Theories|In a recent issue of the Atlantic Monthly, Cullen Murphy wrote that “It is always a little disconcerting when audacious scientific theories come a cropper.” In this case, he was speaking of Stephen Hawking’s now self-repudiated idea that information swallowed by cosmic black holes might be escaping into “baby universes.” John Losee looks at the subject of rejected scientific theories through an analysis of case studies from more than two centuries of science. Losee excerpts the work of prominent scientists and philosophers of science accompanied by evaluative comments from the…

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Recreating Newton

|9780822944775|Newtonian Biography and the Making of Nineteenth-Century History of Science|Higgitt examines Isaac Newton’s changing legacy during the nineteenth century. She focuses on 1820-1870, a period that saw the creation of the specialized and secularized role of the “scientist.” At the same time, researchers gained better access to Newton’s archives. These were used both by those who wished to undermine the traditional, idealised depiction of scientific genius and those who felt obliged to defend Newtonian hagiography. Higgitt shows how debates about Newton’s character stimulated historical scholarship and led to the development of a new expertise in the history of science.| Rebekah…

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The Transit of Venus Enterprise in Victorian Britain

|9780822944782|In the nineteenth century, the British Government spent money measuring the distance between the earth and the sun using observations of the transit of Venus. This book presents a narrative of the two Victorian transit programmes. It draws out their cultural significance and explores the nature of “big science” in late-Victorian Britain.| Jessica Ratcliff| Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century| Science / General Science / History

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