'As an introduction to early modern thinking and the impact of past ideas on present lives, this book can find few equals and no superiors. Porter is a witty, humane writer with an extraordinary vocabulary and a sparkling sense of fun. Whether he is quoting from obscure medical texts or analysing scabrous diaries, dishing the dirt on long-dead bigwigs or evoking sympathy for human suffering, his grasp is masterly and his erudition appealing. I wish I could read it again for (...) the first time: you can.' Times Educational Supplement, Book of the Week In this startlingly brilliant sequel to the prize-winning ENLIGHTENMENT Roy Porter completes his lifetime's work, offering a magical, enthusiastic and charming account of the writings of some of the most attractive figures ever to write English. (shrink)
This study critically examines the implications of Foucault's work for students and researchers in a wide selection of areas in the social and human sciences.Though Foucault is now widely taught in universities, his writings are notoriously difficult. Reassessing Foucault critically examines the implications of his work for students and researchers in a wide array of areas in the social and human sciences.Focusing on the social history of medicine, successive chapters deal with his historiographical, methodological and philosophical writings, his ideas about (...) prisons, hospitals, madness and disease, and his thinking about the body. They engage with principal aspects of his thought and relevance and suggest ways in which Foucault's influence will continue to dominate cultural history and the social sciences. (shrink)
The Enlightenment has often been written about as a sequence of disembodied 'great ideas'. The aim of this book is to put the beliefs of the Enlightenment firmly into their social context, by revealing the national soils in which they were rooted and the specific purposes for which they were used. It brings out the regional divergences of the Enlightenment experience, shaped by different local intellectual and economic priorities. At the same time it also shows how central concerns were shared (...) everywhere, and how the writings of certain key areas came to be influential elsewhere. The thirteen essays, each written by a historian specialising in the particular country, examine national contexts from Sweden to Italy, from Russia to North America. As well as focusing attention on the interplay of thought and action, ideology and society, the book offers important insights into the place of the intelligentsia in the modern world. (shrink)
Rewriting the Self is an exploration of ideas of the self in the western cultural tradition from the Renaissance to the present. The contributors analyze different religious, philosophical, psychological, political, psychoanalytical and literary models of personal identity from a number of viewpoints, including the history of ideas, contemporary gender politics, and post-modernist literary theory. Challenging the received version of the "ascent of western man," they assess the discursive construction of the self in the light of political, technological and social changes. (...) Contributors include: Peter Burke, Roger Cardinal, Stephen Connor, Jonathan Dollimore, Terry Eagleton, Kate Flint, E.J. Hundert, John Mullan, Linda Nead, Daniel Pick, Nikolas Rose, Jonathan Sawday, Jane Shaw, Roger Smith, Sylvana Tomaselli and Carolyn D. Williams. (shrink)
The thirteen original essays in this book examine the status and development of the sciences in the eighteenth century. The last generation has seen a revolution in the methodology adopted by historians of science: The development of science is no longer described as a steady progress towards truth - certainties have given way to questions. The essays in this volume scrutinize these changing perspectives in historiography and recommend paths for future study. The eighteenth century has been a neglected and much-misunderstood (...) era in the development of science, all too often viewed as something of a trough between the towering achievements of the 'Scientific Revolution' and the nineteenth century. Yet it was a period of notable developments; it saw the establishment of such fields as electricity and heat, the 'chemical revolution', the new science of gases, the isolation of oxygen, the nebular hypothesis in cosmology, the foundation of rational mechanics, and the birth pangs of biology, geology and psychology. It was, indeed, an age when knowledge was in ferment. (shrink)
History is the science which investigates the successive changes that have taken place in the material and intellectual conditions of man; it inquires into the causes of those changes, and the influence which they have exerted in modifying the life and mind of mankind.
The human sciences—including psychology, anthropology, and social theory—are widely held to have been born during the eighteenth century. This first full-length, English-language study of the Enlightenment sciences of humans explores the sources, context, and effects of this major intellectual development. The book argues that the most fundamental inspiration for the Enlightenment was the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. Natural philosophers from Copernicus to Newton had created a magisterial science of nature based on the realization that the physical world operated (...) according to orderly, discoverable laws. Eighteenth-century thinkers sought to cap this achievement with a science of _human_ nature. Belief in the existence of laws governing human will and emotion; social change; and politics, economics, and medicine suffused the writings of such disparate figures as Hume, Kant, and Adam Smith and formed the basis of the new sciences. A work of remarkable cross-disciplinary scholarship, this volume illuminates the origins of the human sciences and offers a new view of the Enlightenment that highlights the period's subtle social theory, awareness of ambiguity, and sympathy for historical and cultural difference. (shrink)
Central to the development of geology has been the growth of systematic empirical observation as a programme of scientific practice. Fieldwork has focused on many objects—strata, fossils, and landforms—and has issued in a variety of products, such as maps, sections, and monographs on regional geology, particular rock formations and fossils. Early in the nineteenth century, above all, many influential geologists sought to define their science as one exclusively of field observation, description, and the accumulation of data. The rise of fieldwork, (...) in Britain as elsewhere, is an important phenomenon in the making of geology. It must be explained. (shrink)
In general terms, one way of describing the world we live in is to say that it is made up of nature and society, and that human beings belong to both. This is the first volume to be published that addresses the historical contexts of the relations between these two characteristics of human nature. Individual essays and the general conclusions of the volume are important not only for our understanding of the evolution of knowledge of nature and of society, but (...) also for an awareness of the types of truth and perception produced in the process. (shrink)
The Companion focusses on the international intellectual movement of the Enlightenment, and the individuals who shaped it. A number of substantial essays survey the main topics of dictionaries, encyclopedias, art, music and theatre, while central philosophical concepts such as human nature are also examined. Specialized topics receive short definitions and there are several hundred biographies. Chronology. 100 halftones. Bibliographies. Index.
It is a great privilege to have been invited to speak on this occasion. I shall not talk about Janet Semple's life, since I did not know Janet Semple well. I first came across her work when the Oxford University Press sent me a copy of her Ph.D. thesis, asking for my opinion as to its publishability. I groaned—yet another study of the panopticon! I opened it, started reading—and read it straight through. It was so clear, insightful, powerful in its (...) interpretation and beautifully written. I am delighted to see that it has appeared as Bentham's Prison. I was, at a later stage, equally pleased to be involved in persuading Janet to publish some of her research on Bentham's medical and health interests. I shall not try to evaluate her work today. I think I might best honour her by trying to reflect upon some of the wider issues that surround Bentham's concerns with prisons and hospitals—issues raised by her work. (shrink)
Viewed in the light of the discussions of scientific lecturing in eighteenth-century London contained in this issue, the case of medicine may be said to be both more of the same but also something different.