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 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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)