Companion to the History of Modern Science

By R. C. Olby; G. N. Cantor et al. | Go to book overview

to its sister science – an intrusion that was resisted. Even more imperceptibly, Lavoisier's synthesis undermined the entire doctrine of chemical principles, substituting a combinatorial view in which the properties of simple substances bore no necessary relation to those of their compounds. These changes were considerable. Nineteenth-century historians, comparing the concepts, language and methods of Lavoisier's chemistry with its predecessors, saw in them the beginnings of modern chemistry.

The Chemical Revolution is a classic instance of conceptual change in science – one of the first to be foretold. Venel had called for a breakthrough that would exploit the distinctive methods and concepts of chemistry to establish it as the independent peer of physics. Ironically, Lavoisier found that breakthrough in the chemical role of air, but pursued it by the methods of experimental physics. His innovations transformed the structure and language of chemistry, generating a crisis that split the community. Chemistry emerged from the conflict as a more mature discipline with the public recognition Venel had desired. A new historiographic synthesis is called for, one that neither imposes another strait-jacket nor trivialises the episode, but incorporates the full richness of the transformation.


NOTES
1
The conventional view is clearly articulated in H. Butterfield, The origins of modern science, 1300–1800 (rev. ed., New York, 1965), chap, 11; for recent reviews see M. Crosland, 'Chemistry and the chemical revolution', in The ferment of knowledge, (eds.), G. S. Rousseau and R. Porter (Cambridge, 1980), pp. 389–416; J. R. R. Christie and J. V. Golinski, 'The spreading of the word: new directions in the historiography of chemistry 1600–1800', History of science, 20 (1982), 235–66.
2
M. A. Pictet, 'Lettre de M. le professeur Pictet aux rédacteurs du Journal', Journal de Genève, 28 November 1789.
3
G. F. Venel, 'Chymie', Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 3 (Paris, 1753), pp. 409–10.
4
Lavoisier's reading notes from the period have been preserved, Archives de l'Académie des Sciences, Lavoisier Papers, Dossier 251.
5
The significance of the notes on Eller was first brought out by J. Gough, 'Lavoisier's early career in science: an examination of some new evidence', British journal for the history of science, 4 (1968), 52–7.
6
The reconstruction given here relies upon a recently discovered manuscript; see C. E. Perrin, 'Lavoisier's thoughts on calcination and combustion, 1772–1773', Isis (forthcoming).
7
R. Schofield, 'The counter-reformation in eighteenth-century science – last phase', in Perspectives in the history of science and technology, ed. D. H. D. Roller (Norman, 1971), pp. 39–54; E. M. Melhado, 'Chemistry, physics, and the chemical revolution', Isis, 76 (1985), 195–211.

FURTHER READING

M. P. Crosland, Historical studies in the language of chemistry (London, 1962).

M. Daumas, Lavoisier-théoricien et expérimentateur (Paris, 1955).

C. C. Gillispie, 'The rationalization of matter', in The edge of objectivity (Princeton, 1967), pp. 202–59.

-276-

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Companion to the History of Modern Science
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Part I - The Study of the History of Science 1
  • Section Ia - History of Science in Relation to Neighbouring Disciplines 3
  • 1 - The Development of the Historiography of Science 5
  • Notes 21
  • 2 - The History of Science and the Working Scientist 23
  • Further Reading 31
  • 3 - The History of Science and the History of Society 32
  • Notes 46
  • 4 - The History of Science and the Philosophy of Science 47
  • Notes 57
  • Bibliography and Further Reading 58
  • 5 - Sociological Theories of Scientific Knowledge 60
  • Notes 72
  • Further Reading 72
  • Section Ib - Analytical Perspectives 75
  • 6 - Marxism and the History of Science 77
  • Notes 85
  • 7 - The Sociology of the Scientific Community 87
  • Notes 98
  • 8 - Feminism and the History of Science 100
  • 9 - Language, Discourse and Science 110
  • Notes 121
  • Further Reading 122
  • Section IC - Philosophical Problems 125
  • 10 - Continental Philosophy and the History of Science 127
  • Further Reading 146
  • 11 - Discovery 148
  • Further Reading 165
  • 12 - Rationality, Science and History 166
  • Notes 179
  • 13 - Realism 181
  • Part II - Selected Writings in the History of Science 197
  • Section Iia - Turning Points 199
  • 14 - The Copernican Revolution 201
  • 15 - The Scientific Revolution 217
  • Further Reading 242
  • 16 - Newton and Natural Philosophy 243
  • Further Reading 262
  • 17 - The Chemical Revolution 264
  • Further Reading 276
  • 18 - Laplacian Physics 278
  • Further Reading 293
  • 19 - Natural History, 1670–1802 295
  • Notes 312
  • 20 - The History of Geology, 1780–1840 314
  • 21 - Energy 326
  • Notes 340
  • 22 - Electromagnetic Theory in the Nineteenth Century 342
  • Notes 355
  • 23 - Cell Theory and Development 357
  • Notes 371
  • Further Reading 372
  • 24 - Origins and Species Before and After Darwin 374
  • Further Reading 394
  • 25 - Wilhelm Wundt and the Emergence of Experimental Psychology 396
  • Further Reading 408
  • 26 - Behaviourism 410
  • Further Reading 423
  • 27 - Freud and Psychoanalysis 425
  • Further Reading 440
  • 28 - The Theory of Relativity 442
  • 29 - Quantum Theory 458
  • Notes 477
  • 30 - Classical Economics and the Keynesian Revolution 479
  • 31 - From Physiology to Biochemistry 494
  • Further Reading 502
  • 32 - The Molecular Revolution in Biology 503
  • Notes 519
  • 33 - The Emergence of Genetics 521
  • Notes 535
  • 34 - Cybernetics and Information Technology 537
  • Notes 552
  • Section Iib - Topics and Interpretations 555
  • 35 - Aristotelian Science 557
  • Further Reading 566
  • 36 - The Heart and Blood from Vesalius to Harvey 568
  • Notes 581
  • 37 - Magic and Science in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries 583
  • Notes 594
  • Further Reading 595
  • 38 - Atomism and the Mechanical Philosophy 597
  • Notes 609
  • 39 - Newtonianism 610
  • Notes 625
  • 40 - Physical Optics 627
  • Notes 637
  • 41 - Cosmology: Newton to Einstein 639
  • 42 - Geometry and Space 651
  • Notes 659
  • 43 - Particle Science 661
  • 44 - The Foundations of Mathematics 677
  • Further Reading 688
  • 45 - Probability and Determinism, 1650–1900 690
  • Further Reading 700
  • 46 - The Mind–body Problem 702
  • Further Reading 710
  • 47 - Paradigmatic Traditions in the History of Anthropology 712
  • Notes 726
  • 48 - Physiology and Experimental Medicine 728
  • Notes 741
  • 49 - Geography 743
  • Notes 759
  • Section Iic - Themes 761
  • 50 - Science and Religion 763
  • Notes 782
  • 51 - Science and Literature 783
  • Further Reading 797
  • 52 - Science and Philosophy 799
  • 53 - The Development of Philosophy of Science 1600–1900 816
  • Notes 836
  • 54 - The Development of Philosophy of Science Since 1900 838
  • 55 - The Classification of the Sciences 853
  • Further Reading 868
  • 56 - Marginal Science 869
  • Notes 882
  • Further Reading 883
  • 57 - Science, Alienation and Oppression 886
  • Further Reading 896
  • 58 - Orthodoxies, Critiques and Alternatives 898
  • 59 - Nationalism and Internationalism 909
  • Notes 918
  • 60 - Science and Imperialism 920
  • Notes 931
  • 61 - Science and War 934
  • Notes 943
  • Further Reading 944
  • 62 - Science Education 946
  • Notes 958
  • 63 - The Organisation of Science and Its Pursuit in Early Modern Europe 960
  • Notes 975
  • Appendix 977
  • 64 - Professionalisation 980
  • 65 - Science and the Public 990
  • Notes 1006
  • 66 - Science and Political Ideology, 1790–1848 1008
  • Notes 1022
  • 67 - Natural Science and Social Theory 1024
  • Further Reading 1042
  • The Contributors 1044
  • Index of Names 1047
  • Index of Subjects 1060
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