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 .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Philosophical arguments must be understood in relation to the historical contexts in which they were produced. This yields the recognition that the distinction between early modern “philosophy” and “science” is an anachronistic imposition—the philosophical foundation of modernity and the Scientific Revolution are facets of the same transformations. However, the “contextualist turn” presents methodological difficulties arising from the opposition of philosophical analysis and historical narrative. This introduction presents two strategies for resolving these tensions in the study of the period. First, examination of how authors identified with peers and opposed themselves to foes generates a fine-grained understanding of early modern disciplines, without anachronistic impositions. Second, shifts in disciplinary boundaries can be used as entry points into the networks of influences that ramified across the intellectual landscape, yielding narratives that are sensitive to a wide range of textual and contextual factors. Together, awareness of disciplinary boundaries and their “inflection points” offers an updated methodology for the investigation of the early modern period. Anachronistic grand narratives of early modern philosophy and of the Scientific Revolution will be superseded by more modest but much more sophisticated accounts of the multiplication and reorganization of intellectual disciplines.
Sidereus Nuncius was a seminal text of the Scientific Revolution. It reported celestial observations whose implications upended the geocentric cosmology few had ever doubted. But Galileo’s treatise also combined topics and methodologies that traditionally had been assigned separately to mixed mathematics and natural philosophy. Whereas the bounds between these disciplines had been weakened by earlier controversies, particularly about the regressus method and about the certainty of mathematics (i.e., the Quaestio de Certitudine), Sidereus Nuncius broke them down altogether, to the delight and dismay of readers. Galileo’s application of mathematical methods—empiricism and quantification—to natural philosophy framed the ensuing discussions, such that even those who disagreed with his conclusions responded on those grounds. Thus, the book was pivotal in the process of disciplinary admixture that reorganized the study of nature into modern science.
The early modern era produced the Scientific Revolution, which originated our present understanding of the natural world. Concurrently, philosophers established the conceptual foundations of modernity. This rich and comprehensive volume surveys and illuminates the numerous and complicated interconnections between philosophical and scientific thought as both were radically transformed from the late sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth century. The chapters explore reciprocal influences between philosophy and physics, astronomy, mathematics, medicine, and other disciplines, and show how thinkers responded to an immense range of intellectual, material, and institutional influences. The volume offers a unique perspicuity, viewing the entire landscape of early modern philosophy and science, and also marks an epoch in contemporary scholarship, surveying recent contributions and suggesting future investigations for the next generation of scholars and students.