Synopses & Reviews
Exploring the natural scientific foundations of far-reaching social ideologies
The nineteenth century produced scientific and cultural revolutions that forever transformed modern European life. Although these critical developments are often studied independently, Richard G. Olson's Science and Scientism in Nineteenth-Century Europe provides an integrated account of the history of science and its impact on intellectual and social trends of the day. Focusing on the natural scientific foundations underlying liberalism, socialism, positivism, communism, and social Darwinism, Olson explores how these movements employed science to clarify their own understanding of Enlightenment ideals, as well as their understanding of progress, religion, industry, imperialism, and racism. Starting with the impact of the French Revolution on scientific thought, Olson engages with key texts from J. B. Say, Henri Saint-Simon, Kant, Goethe, Darwin, Walter Bagehot, and Edward Bellamy to demonstrate the complex set of forces that shaped nineteenth-century thinking.
"Olson provides another in a series of fine works detailing the social history of science. . . . Masterfully detailed. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice
"No brief review can so this book justice. Suffice to say that both the student and seasoned scholar will find his synthesis and insight compelling."--FCS Quarterly
"Both the student and seasoned scholar will find his synthesis and insight compelling."--Review of Metaphysics