History and Philosophy of Science, Press Releases

Press Release: Dear, The Intelligibility of Nature

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Now Available in Paperback
Peter Dear’s intellectual journey begins with a crucial observation: that scientific ambition is, and has been, directed toward two distinct but frequently conflated ends—doing and knowing. Teasing out this tension between doing and knowing during key episodes in the history of science, he reveals how the two principles became formalized into a single enterprise, science, that would be carried out by a new kind of person, the scientist.
“The portraits of individual scientists, from Newton, Boyle, and Faraday to Einstein and Bohr, are vivid and pithy; [Dear] has a good ear for the apt quote that lets us hear their voices.”—Eric Ormsby, New York Sun
“[Dear] shows how mechanistic explanations in physics and chemistry became ever more frequent after the industrial revolution, only to be supplanted by the nihilism of quantum theory in the social turmoil that followed the first world war. It is full of insights into how society, culture and people’s perception interweave across biology, chemistry and physics.”—Adrian Barnett, New Scientist
Read the press release.