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Theological Foundations for Modern Science?*

  • Catherine Wilson (a1)


It is often said that philosophy in the seventeenth century returned from a Christian otherworldliness to a pagan engagement, theoretically and practically, with material nature. This process is often described as one of secularization, and the splitting off of science from natural philosophy and metaphysics is a traditional figure in accounts of the emergence of the modern. At the same time, the historiographical assumption that early modern science had religious and philosophical foundations has informed such classics as E. A. Burtt's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1932), Gerd Buchdahl's Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science (1969), and Amos Funkenstein's Theology and the Scientific Imagination (1986). A recent collection testifies to continuing interest in the theme of a positive relationship between theology and science.



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1 Lindberg, David C. and Numbers, Ronald L., eds., God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter Between History and Science (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986).

2 Schuster, J. A., “Descartes and the Scientific Revolution 1618–1634” (Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1977), pp. 622–47.

3 Prost, V. G., Atomisme et occasionalisme dans la philosophie cartesienne (Paris: H. Paulin, 1907).

4 Joy, Lynn Sumida, Gassendi the Atomist (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).

5 Lennon, Thomas, The Battle of the Gods and Giants (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).

* Margaret J. Osier, Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), xi + 284 pp.

Theological Foundations for Modern Science?*

  • Catherine Wilson (a1)


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