Synopses & Reviews
Natural Science in Western History provides an up-to-date and comprehensive survey of western science from ancient times through the Enlightenment to the present. Author Frederick Gregory, past president of the History of Science Society, applies his expertise in teaching the history of science to this thorough and visually interesting survey. Numerous photographs and line drawings throughout this dynamic text illustrate some of the more complex scientific principles. Every chapter discusses a philosophical topic in the history of western science, including such topics as science vs. magic, mathematics vs. nature, and evolution vs. natural selection.
Table of Contents
Note: Each chapter contains Suggestions for Reading. 1. The Ancient Western Heritage Nature in Ancient Civilizations The Cosmos of Plato and Aristotle The Greek Heritage in Natural Philosophy After Aristotle The Nature of Science: The Problem with Ptolemy's Equant 2. Learning in the Middle Ages Transmission of Greek Learning to the Near East Revitalization of Intellectual Pursuits in the West The Assimilation of Ancient Knowledge of Nature The Nature of Science: Delimiting Faith and Reason Late Medieval Natural Philosophy 3. Early Modern Innovations Recasting the Medieval Intellectual Heritage The Nature of Science: Magic and Science The Impact of Printing Expanding Geographical Horizons 4. The Renaissance of Natural Knowledge Humanism The Study of the Human Body Natural History: Animals, Vegetables, Minerals The World of Copernicus The Nature of Science: Osiander and the Motion of the Earth 5. Heliocentrism Considered The Immediate Reception of Copernican Heliocentrism Tycho Brahe and the Copernican Theory Johannes Kepler's Heliocentrism The Nature of Science: Science and Mysticism The Status of Heliocentrism 6. Galileo Galilei: Heliocentrism Gains a Champion Galileo's Early Career The Nature of Science: Mathematics and Nature Court Philosopher The Path to Conflict Last Years 7. Natural Philosophy Transformed British Conceptions French Ideas on Matter and Motion The Question of Materialism The Mechanical Philosophy in Britain The Nature of Science: The Vulnerability of Experiment A Scientific Revolution? 8. Isaac Newton: A Highpoint of Scientific Change The Background to Newton's Achievement Newton's Central Interests The Nature of Science: The Status of Newton's Proof Fame and Power 9. The Newtonianism, the Earth, and the Universe During the Eighteenth Century The Rise of Newtonianism An Expanding Cosmos The Nature of Science: Was Newton Right About Hypotheses? The Earth as a Cosmic Body 10. The Emergence of Chemical Science "Chymistry" in the Seventeenth Century German Rational Chemistry British Contributors The New French Chemistry The Nature of Science: The Challenge of Objectivity 11. The Nature of Electrical Fire The Historical Legacy of Electricity and Magnetism Gathering Information: Early Eighteenth-Century Experiments Erecting Theories: What Is Electricity? The Nature of Science: Must Theories Be Faultless to Succeed? 12. The Organization and Growth of Living Things How Living Things Are Arranged The World of Carl Linnaeus The Nature of Science: The Subtleties of Classification New Ideas Challenging the Fixity of Species How Living Things Grow 13. Understanding and Treating Illness Healers in the Eighteenth Century Understanding Health and Disease New Directions in Medicine The Nature of Science: Why Mesmerism Failed Medicine and the New Century 14. The Watershed of the Enlightenment The Transformation of Life and Society Enlightenment Intellectual Culture The Fate of Reason The Nature of Science: The Fate of the Enlightenment Agenda The End of the Enlightenment 15. Science, Revolution, and Reaction Weathering the Storm in France The Reaction to Eighteenth-Century Change The Nature of Science: Do Investigators of Nature See What They're Looking For? 16. An Era of Many Forces Investigating Nature's Mysterious Forces The Nature of Science: Lasting Disagreements in Science New Institutions of Natural Science 17. New Ideas About Life and Its Past The Romantic Understanding of the History of Living Things Evolutionary Controversies in France The Nature of Science: Purpose, Mechanism, and Law in Science British Catastrophism 18. Evolution Comes into Its Own Charles Darwin's Early Life and Education A Formative Period for Evolution The Making of Darwin's Origin The Nature of Science: Cultural Influence on the Formation of Theory 19. The Aftermath of the Origin The Immediate Reception of the Origin of Species Scientific Objections to Darwin's Theory Religious Considerations The Nature of Science: Evolution, God, and Nature Implications for Social and Political Philosophy 20. Matter, Energy, and the Emerging Spirit of Realism New Directions in Understanding Matter Thermodynamics and the Future The Power of Classical Mechanics The Nature of Science: How Seriously Should We Take Models? The Flowering of Scientific Materialism Medicine Becomes Scientific An Age of Realism 21. The Erosion of Realism The Changing Structure of Order The Enigma of the Ether Unrealistic Radiation The Nature of Science: Is Light a Particle? 22. The Changing Contours of Biology The New Physiology Heredity Reconsidered Competing Ideas of Evolution The Nature of Science: Evolution Versus Natural Selection Turn-of-the-Century Debates About Darwinism 23. The Synthesis of Biological Issues Genetics and the Resurgence of Darwinism The Nature of Science: Idea and Reality in Population Thinking Human Evolution The Rejection of Lamarckism Molecular Biology 24. Earth in the Balance The Earth's Dynamic Surface Framing a Science of Ecology The Nature of Science: Are Humans the Problem and the Solution? Environmental Science Comes of Age 25. The Changing Worlds of the Large and Small A Changing Universe The Quantum Mechanical Explanation of the Atom The Nature of Science: Quantum Mechanics and the Nature of Knowledge Toward a More Dangerous World 26. The Nuclear Age The Path to the Atomic Bomb The Politics of High Energy The Nature of Science: Science and Morality Nuclear Fears 27. Ongoing Issues The Physical Sciences The Biological Sciences Understanding the Nature of Science The Nature of Science: The Science Wars The Challenge Ahead