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The Scientific Revolution

A Historiographical Inquiry

In this first book-length historiographical study of the Scientific Revolution, H. Floris Cohen examines the body of work on the intellectual, social, and cultural origins of early modern science. Cohen critically surveys a wide range of scholarship since the nineteenth century, offering new perspectives on how the Scientific Revolution changed forever the way we understand the natural world and our place in it.

Cohen’s discussions range from scholarly interpretations of Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, to the question of why the Scientific Revolution took place in seventeenth-century Western Europe, rather than in ancient Greece, China, or the Islamic world. Cohen contends that the emergence of early modern science was essential to the rise of the modern world, in the way it fostered advances in technology.

A valuable entrée to the literature on the Scientific Revolution, this book assesses both a controversial body of scholarship, and contributes to understanding how modern science came into the world.

Table of Contents

1: Almost a New Nature
Part I Defining the Nature of the Scientific Revolution
2: The Great Tradition
Concepts and approaches in studying the Scientific Revolution
3: The New Science in a Wider Setting
The cultural, social, and historical context of the new science
Part II The Search for Causes of the Scientific Revolution
4: The Emergence of Early Modern Science from Previous Western Thought on Nature
Why the Scientific Revolution did not take place in Ancient Greece and how early modern science emerged from Renaissance thought
5: The Emergence of Early Modern Science from Events in the History of Western Europe
Religion and the rise of early modern science, and the social legitimation of the new science
6: The Nonemergence of Early Modern Science Outside Western Europe
Why the Scientific Revolution eluded China and the Islamic world, and the contributions of non-Western science to the Scientific Revolution
Part III Summary and Conclusions
7: The Scientific Revolution: Fifty Years in the Life of a Concept
Past and future conceptions of the Scientific Revolution
8: The Structure of the Scientific Revolution
An outine of the event and possible causes

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