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  • Cited by 30
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2009
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Book description

This book challenges the traditional historiography of the Scientific Revolution, probably the single most important unifying concept in the history of science. Usually referring to the period from Copernicus to Newton (roughly 1500 to 1700), the Scientific Revolution is considered to be the central episode in the history of science, the historical moment at which that unique way of looking at the world that we call 'modern science' and its attendant institutions emerged. It has been taken as the terminus a quo of all that followed. Starting with a dialogue between Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs and Richard S. Westfall, whose understanding of the Scientific Revolution differed in important ways, the papers in this volume reconsider canonical figures, their areas of study, and the formation of disciplinary boundaries during this seminal period of European intellectual history.


"This is now the place to look for guidance on whether (and how) we may still speak of a scientific revolution in 17th-century Europe....especially illuminating on contrasts between Boyle and Newton in their alchemy, theology and epistemology. A fitting tribute to Betty Jo Dobbs and Richard S. Westfall, whose competing views set an attractive agenda." John Brooke, Oxford University

"The Scientific Revolution still divides historians into those who see it as an undeniably real period of historical change comparable with the Renaissance and the Reformation, and those who see it merely as a term of convenience for historians of science. In this important new collection each of the authors reassesses the Scientific Revolution, some in the widest possible terms, others by focussing upon one episode or one individual, with a view to redressing this problem. The result should be required reading for all those interested in the formation of the modern world. Margaret Osler has done well to bring together such an impressive group of contributors, from the most promising to the most distinguished." John Henry, University of Edinburgh

"...this is a rich and stimulating collection that shoulf compel any historian to abandon retailing the traditional notion of the 'Scientific Revolution.'" American Historical Review

"...the reader can find here much new information and many interpretations about the roles in the birth of modern science played by lesser known individuals...and by disciplines and topics usually seen now, but not then, as extra-scientific." The Review of Metaphysics

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