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i - The Uses of Science

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2020

David W. Carrithers
Affiliation:
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Philip Stewart
Affiliation:
Duke University, North Carolina
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Summary

On the Motives that Should Encourage Us Towards the Sciences (1725) represents Montesquieu’s advocacy of accelerating the pace of scientific inquiry to build on the progress made in astronomy, physics, and physiology. In addition to stressing the lasting intellectual pleasures of pursuing science and its practical benefits to mankind, he emphasizes the important role of scientific learning in combating superstition. His Essay on the Causes that Can Affect Minds and Characters (1736–1738/1739) reveals his deep interest in physiology and brain functions and explains his view that both physical and moral causes affect human behavior, with moral causes predominating. Their cumulative effect produces a people’s general character, or spirit. The Essay dispels any notion that Montesquieu was a climatological determinist, a conclusion some have wrongly reached after a superficial reading of Book XIV of The Spirit of Law.

Type
Chapter
Information
Montesquieu
Discourses, Dissertations, and Dialogues on Politics, Science, and Religion
, pp. 23 - 59
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • The Uses of Science
  • Edited and translated by David W. Carrithers, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Philip Stewart, Duke University, North Carolina
  • Book: Montesquieu
  • Online publication: 02 November 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108882521.002
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  • The Uses of Science
  • Edited and translated by David W. Carrithers, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Philip Stewart, Duke University, North Carolina
  • Book: Montesquieu
  • Online publication: 02 November 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108882521.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The Uses of Science
  • Edited and translated by David W. Carrithers, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Philip Stewart, Duke University, North Carolina
  • Book: Montesquieu
  • Online publication: 02 November 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108882521.002
Available formats
×