Like it or not, a big picture of the history of science is something which we cannot avoid. Big pictures are, of course, thoroughly out of fashion at the moment; those committed to specialist research find them simplistic and insufficiently complex and nuanced, while postmodernists regard them as simply impossible. But however specialist we may be in our research, however scornful of the immaturity of grand narratives, it is not so easy to escape from dependence – acknowledged or not – (...) on a big picture. When we define our research as part of the history of science, we implicitly invoke a big picture of that history to give identity and meaning to our specialism. When we teach the history of science, even if we do not present a big picture explicitly, our students already have a big picture of that history which they bring to our classes and into which they fit whatever we say, no matter how many complications and refinements and contradictions we put before them – unless we offer them an alternative big picture. (shrink)
Introduction: the age of reflexion Part I. Romanticism: 1. Romanticism and the sciences David Knight 2. Schelling and the origins of his Naturphilosophie S. R. Morgan 3. Romantic philosophy and the organization of the disciplines: the founding of the Humboldt University of Berlin Elinor S. Shaffer 4. Historical consciousness in the German Romantic Naturforschung Dietrich Von Engelhardt 5. Theology and the sciences in the German Romantic period Frederick Gregory 6. Genius in Romantic natural philosophy Simon Shaffer Part II. Sciences of (...) the Organic: 7. Doctors contra clysters and feudalism: the consequences of a Romantic revolution Nelly Tsouyopoulos 8. Morphotypes and the historical-genetic method in Romantic biology Timothy Lenoir 9. ’Metaphorical mystifications’: the Romantic gestation of nature in British biology Evelleen Richards 10. Transcendental anatomy Philip F. Rehbock 11. Romantic thought and the origins of cell theory L. S. Jacyna 12. Alexander von Humbolt and the geography of vegetation Malcolm Nicholson Part III. Sciences of the Inorganic: 13. Goethe, colour, and the science of seeing Dennis L. Sepper 14. Johann Wilhelm Ritter: Romantic physics in Germany Walter D. Wetzels 15. The power and the glory: Humphrey Davy and Romanticism Christopher Lawrence 16. Oersted’s discovery of electromagnetism H. A. M. Snelders 17. Caves, fossils and the history of the earth Nicholas A. Rupke Part IV. Literature and the Sciences: 18. Goethe’s use of chemical theory in his Elective Affinities Jeremy Adler 19. Kleist’s bedlam: abnormal psychology and psychiatry in the works of Heinrich von Kleist Nigel Reeves 20. Coleridge and the sciences Trevor H. Levere 21. Nature’s book: the language of science in the American Renaissance David van Leer 22. The shattered whole: Georg Buchner and Naturphilosophie John Reddick. (shrink)
Considers the significance that Hume attached to mental activity -- the "craving ... of the human mind ... for exercise and employment" -- with respect to the phenomena of truth-seeking, amusement and morality.
Hume’s understanding of sympathy in section 2.1.11 of the Treatise—that it is a mental mechanism by means of which one sentient being can come to share the psychological states of another—has a particularly interesting implication. What the sympathizer receives, according to this definition, is the passing psychological “affection” that the object of his sympathy was experiencing at the moment of observation. Thus the psychological connection produced by Humean sympathy is not between the sympathizer and the “other” as a “whole person” (...) existing through time, but between the sympathizer and the other’s current mental state, detached from his or her diachronic psychological life. Some commentators profess themselves dissatisfied with the impersonality of this “limited sympathy”. John Bricke, for example, argues that the Humean sympathizer sympathizes with “atomistically rendered desires of some individual who is, thus far, of no further concern,” while Philip Mercer writes more bluntly that Hume’s definition omits the “practical concern for the other” that is the essence of sympathy’s contribution to moral psychology. (shrink)
The main line of argument in Bricke’s stimulating and well-written interpretation of Hume’s moral theory runs roughly as follows: Hume holds that, in practical reasoning, beliefs are subordinate to desires, and is therefore a “conativist” ; we must attribute to Hume the view that both desires and beliefs have representational content, so that they are essentially distinguished by their opposite “directions of fit”—otherwise we cannot forestall the cognitivist from simply insisting that intrinsically motivating beliefs are possible; moral sentiments are motivating (...) and must accordingly be founded in desire, not in belief; moral sentiments are therefore neither true nor false, but, since they arise when an impartial point of view is adopted, intersubjective agreement in moral attitude and a measure of objectivity are possible; this in turn helps to explain the cognitive form of moral language; and conventions underlying the artificial virtues originally arise from, and are sustained by, the natural activity and intercourse of our moral sentiments. Bricke concludes with some penetrating thoughts on the nature of Humean free will and the relation of enduring desires to personal identity. (shrink)
The opposition of science and religion is a recent phenomenon; in the middle ages, and indeed until the middle of the nineteenth century, there was almost no conflict. In the Middle Ages the objective study of nature - the activity we now call science - was largely the province of religious men. This book looks at the origins of western science and the central role played by the Dominican and Franciscan friars. It explains why these two groups devoted so much (...) intellectual effort to the study of physical and biological phenomena, and distinguishes ’Natural Philosophy’ from ’science’ as presently understood. Though the friars were recognisably ’scientific’ in their approach their motives were religious - they wished to understand the mind of God and the beauty of God’s nature. Even so, as this study makes clear, the roots of western science lie in the monasteries and refuges of the medieval friars - the direct forebears of the anti-scientific Popes of the age of Copernicus and Galileo. Contents: Introduction 1. Philosophy and true philosophy 2. Town air 3. Sapienta and scientia: the cloister and the school 4. nature and the twelfth century 5. Heresy and Dominic 6. The evil and good world 7. Conquest and re-education 8. Dominican re-education 9. Fiat lux! Let there be light! 10. Et facta est lux! And there was light 11. Epilogue. (shrink)