PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

PROGRAM IN HISTORY OF SCIENCE

Graduate Precept for History 291

Professor M.S. Mahoney


The precept runs concurrently with History 291, "The Origins of Modern Science", and the following syllabus supplements the reading and lectures of that course.  The purpose of the graduate precept is to examine at an advanced level current scholarship on the major issues that constitute the "Scientific Revolution" as a subject of historical inquiry and that inform the basic structure of the undergraduate course.

Session 1: Introduction The following works deal with early modern science as a whole and are worth consulting over the course of the semester:
A.R. Hall,  The Revolution in Science, 1500-1750 (the third edition [1983] of a classic dating from the '50s)
Peter Dear, Revolutionizing Science
Lisa Jardine, Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution
Over the semester we will take up many of the themes covered by the contributors to David C. Lindberg and Robert S. Westman, Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution, a collection of interpretive articles that participants may find helpful in orienting them to specific readings below. On the historiographical question of the "Scientific Revolution", see

H. Floris Cohen, The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry
I. Bernard Cohen, Revolution in Science
Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution

Session 2: Aristotle's World: Ancient and Medieval
Aristotle, Physics, Books 2 and 3
Marjorie Grene, A Portrait of Aristotle, Chaps. 3 and 4
G.E.L. Owen, et al., "Aristotle", in Dictionary of Scientific Biography [SSS]
David C. Lindberg, ed., Science in the Middle Ages, Chaps. 3 (Wallace), 7 (Murdoch and Sylla), and 8 (Grant)
Maurice Clavelin, The Natural Philosophy of Galileo, Chap. 2
Edward Grant, "Aristotelianism and the Longevity of the Medieval World View", History of Science 16(1978), 93-106 [SSS]; repr. in Grant, Studies in Medieval Science and Technology, Chap. XVI; cf his Planets, Stars, & Orbs:  The Medieval Cosmos, 1200-1687

General:  David C. Lindberg, The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 B.C. to A.D. 1450, is an excellent survey of the scientific world view overturned in the Scientific Revolution.

For discussion: The aim and structure of Aristotelian natural philosophy

Session 3: Copernicus:  The Last Ptolemaean?
G.J. Toomer, "Ptolemy", DSB; cf. his Ptolemy's Almagest
Otto Neugebauer, "On the Planetary Theory of Copernicus", in Arthur Beer (ed.), Vistas in Astronomy 10(1968), 89-103 (in Astrophysics Library, SO 8402.161, or Fine Hall Library, SK 8402.161); repr. in Neugebauer, Astronomy and History: Selected Essays
J.R. Ravetz, Astronomy and Cosmology in the Achievement of Nicolaus Copernicus
Noel Swerdlow & Otto Neugebauer, Mathematical Astronomy in Copernicus' De Revolutionibus, Part I, Chap. 1, 3-85; cf. Swerdlow's earlier study, "The Derivation and First Draft of Copernicus's Planetary Theory:  A Translation of the Commentariolus with Commentary", Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 117(1973), 423-512 [JSTOR]
George Saliba, "Whose Science is  Arabic Science in Renaissance Europe? [online document]
Curtis Wilson, "Rheticus, Ravetz, and the 'Necessity' of Copernicus' Innovation", in R.S. Westman (ed.), The Copernican Achievement
E.J. Aiton, "Celestial Spheres and Circles", History of Science 19(1981), 75-114 [SSS]
R.S. Westman, "The Astronomer's Role in the Sixteenth Century: A Preliminary Study", History of Science 18(1980), 105-147 [SSS]
-----    "Proof, poetics, and patronage: Copernicus's preface to De revolutionibus", in Lindberg and Westman, Reappraisals, Chap.4

For discussion:
To what problem(s) was Copernicus' heliocentric theory a solution?
In what ways, if any, did that theory entail changes in the practice of astronomy and in its relation to other disciplines?

Session 4: Art, Engineering, and Science in the Renaissance
Picturing Machines, 1400-1700, ed. Wolfgang Lefèvre (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004)
As a resource for the workshop from which the book emerged, Lefèvre and Marcus Popplow, together with coworkers at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science, assembled a multilinked, cross-referenced database of illustrations from the Renaissance machine literature, including many of the works cited in the article by Hall below; start browsing here.

Giorgio de Santillana, "The Role of Art in the Scientific Renaissance", in M. Clagett (ed.), Critical Problems in the History of Science [SSS]; repr. in Santillana, Reflections on Men and Ideas
Guglielmo Righini, "New Light on Galileo's Lunar Observations" in M.L. Righini Bonelli and William R. Shea, Reason, Experiment, and Mysticism in the Scientific Revolution, 59-76; cf. commentaries by Owen Gingerich and Willy Hartner immediately following
Horst Bredekamp, "Gazing Hands and Blind Spots: Galileo as Draftsman", Science in Context 13,3-4(2000), 423-462 (a more recent take on the subject )
Samuel Y. Edgerton, "The Renaissance Artist as Quantifier", in Margaret A. Hagen (ed.), The Perception of Pictures, I, 179-212 [xerox on shelf]; cf. his The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective
Michael S. Mahoney, "Diagrams and Dynamics: Mathematical Perspectives on Edgerton's Thesis", in John W. Shirley and F. David Hoeniger (eds.), Science and the Arts in the Renaissance, Chap. 10 [online] and "Drawing Machines", in Picturing Machines, ed. Lefèvre[online]
Eugene S. Ferguson, "The Mind's Eye:  Non-Verbal Thought in Technology", Science 197(1977), 827-836 [online]; cf his Engineering and the Mind's Eye (MIT, 1992)
Bertrand Gille, Engineers of the Renaissance [RES]
Bert S. Hall, "'Der Meister sol auch kennen schreiben und lesen': Writings about Technology, 1400-1600, and their Cultural Implications", in Early Technologies (ed. D. Schmandt-Basserat) [online]
S. Drake and I.E. Drabkin, The Science of Mechanics in Sixteenth-Century Italy.  Read introduction and Tartaglia, Nova Scientia; skim other texts to get a sense of their style and content [RES]
Bruce T. Moran, "German Prince-Practitioners:  Aspects in the Development of Courtly Science, Technology, and Procedures in the Renaissance," Technology and Culture, 22(1981), 253-274 [JSTOR]; cf. his "Princes, Machines, and the Valuation of Precision in the 16th Century", Sudhoffs Archiv 61(1977), 209-228
David Goodman, "Philip II's Patronage of Science and Engineering," British Journal for the History of Science, 16(1983), 49-66

Supplementary
S. Alpers, The Art of Describing
Brian S. Baigrie, Picturing Knowledge: Historical and Philosophical Problems Concerning the Use of Art in Science
Eileen Reeves, Painting the Heavens: Art and Science in the Age of Galileo

For discussion:
What, if anything, did artists have to teach natural philosophers in the Renaissance?
What were the steps leading from engineering to a science of mechanics?

Session 5: Galileo at Work
Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning the Two Great World Systems [RES]
Discourses and Demonstrations Concerning Two New Sciences [RES]

Maurice Clavelin, The Natural Philosophy of Galileo, Chap. 3 [SH]; cf. also his "Conceptual and Technical Aspects of the Galilean Geometrization of the Motion of Heavy Bodies" in Nature Mathematized (ed. W.R. Shea), 23-50, with Shea's commentary, 51-60

Stillman Drake, Galileo at Work, Chaps. 2-7, 19-20
                          "Galileo's Discovery of the Law of Free Fall", Scientific American 228,5(1973), 84-92
                         and James MacLachlan, "Galileo's Discovery of the Parabolic Trajectory", ibid. 232,3(1975), 102-110

Peter Damerow, et al. Exploring the Limits of Preclassical Mechanics, 2nd. ed., Chap 3 (a close examination of Galileo's early Notes on Motion, cf. the online edition jointly assembled by the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and the Istituto e Museo di Storia delle Scienze in Florence)

William A. Wallace, Galileo and His Sources: The Heritage of the Collegio Romano in Galileo's Science, Chaps. 4 and 5, and part 3 of Chap. 6 (read for main argument and nature of evidence adduced)

Thomas B. Settle, "Galileo and Early Experimentation", in Springs of Scientific Creativity (ed. R. Aris, H.T.  Davis, R.H. Steuwer), Chap.1
"An Experiment in the History of Science", Science 133(1961), 19-23 [JSTOR]
"Galileo's Use of Experiment as a Tool of Investigation", in Galileo, Man of Science (ed. E. McMullin), 315-337

A.G. Molland, "The Atomisation of Motion: A Facet of the Scientific Revolution", Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 13(1982), 31-54

M.S. Mahoney, "The Mathematical Realm of Nature", in D.E. Garber et al.(eds.), Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy, Vol. I, pp. 702-55; esp. 706-710 ("2.2 Galileo and the New Science of Motion")

Supplementary
Mario Biagoli, Galileo, Courtier
Peter Machamer, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Galileo

For discussion:
What role did experiment (and/or technical experience) play in Galileo's formulation of a new science of motion?
What conceptual hurdles, if any, lay in the way of making that new science mathematical, and how did Galileo surmount them?

Session 6: From Magic to Science
Frances Yates, "The Hermetic Tradition in Renaissance Science", in Art, Science, and History in the Renaissance, ed. Charles Singleton, 255-74
Robert S. Westman and J.E. McGuire, Hermeticism and the Scientific Revolution
Brian Vickers (ed.), Occult and Scientific Mentalities in the Renaissance
Charles Webster, From Paracelsus to Newton:  Magic and the Making of Modern Science
   
cf. the essay review of Vickers' and Webster's books by Patrick Curry, "Revisions of Magic and Science", History of Science 23(1985), 299-325 [SSS]

Paolo Rossi, Francis Bacon: From Magic to Science [SSS]
Benjamin Farrington, The Philosophy of Francis Bacon

William R. Newman and Lawrence M. Principe, Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle, and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry
William R. Newman, Promethean Ambitions: Alchemy and the Quest to Perfect Nature

Supplementary
Frances Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition
William H. Huffman, ed., Robert Fludd, Essential Readings
Jolande Jacobi, ed., Paracelsus, Selected Writings

For discussion: What are the Baconian themes that point to a transition from magic to science, where did they come from, and what difference did they make to the practice of natural philosophy?

Session 7: Truth, Light, and Science
(In addition to Mersenne's Truth of the Sciences and Descartes' Optics, set out for this week's reading in the undergraduate syllabus, please look ahead to the opening chapters of Descartes' The World)
Richard H. Popkin, The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Spinoza (use the second edition of 1979) [RES]
E.M. Curley, Descartes Against the Skeptics [RES]
Nicholas Jardine, "The Forging of Modern Realism: Clavius and Kepler against the Sceptics", Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 10(1979), 141-173
Peter Dear, "Marin Mersenne and the Probabilistic Roots of 'Mitigated Scepticism'", Journal of the History of Philosophy 22(1984), 173-205
Daniel Garber, Descartes Embodied, 85-110 ("Descartes and Experiment in the Discourse and Essays" and 111-129 ("Descartes on Knowledge and Certainty: From the Discours to the Principia") [ebrary]
Philip R. Sloan, "Descartes, the Sceptics, and the Rejection of Vitalism in Seventeenth-Century Physiology", Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 8(1977), 1-28

Supplementary
Stephen Gaukroger (ed.), Descartes: Philosophy, Mathematics, and Physics
John Cottingham (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Descartes

For discussion: What light does the crise pyrrhonienne shed on Descartes' scientific career, in particular his optics and his cosmology of light, and conversely?

Session 8: The Mechanical Philosophy
R. Descartes, The World (trans. M.S. Mahoney) [ online]
Isaac Newton, Principia mathematica, General Scholium
Marie Boas Hall, Robert Boyle on Natural Philosophy, Part I, Chap. 3; Part II, Sect. 2 ("The Mechanical Philosophy") [SSS]
Robert H. Kargon, Atomism in England from Hariot to Newton
Keith Hutchison, "What happened to occult qualities in the Scientific Revolution?", Isis 73(1982), 233-253 [JSTOR]
Hutchinson, "Supernaturalism and the mechanical philosophy", History of Science 21(1983), 297-333 [SSS]
Alan Gabbey, "Mechanical Philosophies and Their Explanations", Late Medieval and Early Modern Corpuscular Matter Theories, ed. Christophe Lüthy et al., 441-65
D.J.deS. Price, "Automata and the origins of mechanism and the mechanistic philosophy", Technology and Culture 5(1964), 9-23 [JSTOR]
Graham Rees, "Atomism and 'subtlety' in Francis Bacon's philosophy", Annals of Science 37(1980), 549-571
John W. Lynes, 'Descartes' theory of elements:  From Le Monde to the Principes", Journal of the History of Ideas 43(1982), 55-72 [JSTOR]
Frederick J. O'Toole, "Qualities and powers in the corpuscular philosophy of Robert Boyle", Journ. Hist. Phil. 12(1974), 295-325
T.S. Kuhn, "Boyle and Structural Chemistry in the 17th century", Isis 43(1952), 12-36 [JSTOR]
William R. Newman, Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution, Chaps. 6-7

For discussion: What do machines have to do with corpuscles?

Session 9: Harvey and Circulation
Robert G. Frank, Jr., Harvey and the Oxford Physiologists:  Scientific Ideas and Social Interaction (1980)
Gweneth Whitteridge, William Harvey and the Circulation of the Blood (1971)
Jerome J. Bylebyl, "The Growth of Harvey's De motu cordis", Bulletin of the History of Medicine 47(19 ), 427-70
Peter W. Graham, "Harvey's De motu cordis:  The Rhetoric of Science and the Science of Rhetoric", Journal of the History of Medicine 33(1978), 469-476
Andrew Wear, "William Harvey and the 'Way of the Anatomists'", History of Science 21(1983), 223-249 [SSS]
[To get a sense of the literature on Harvey see the collection assembled by I.B. Cohen, Harvey Studies (1981)]

For discussion:
How did Harvey arrive at the conclusion that the blood circulates?  In particular, what were the novel elements in that process and what role did traditional notions play?
How does the theory of circulation as set forth by Harvey fit together with developments in other fields of scientific inquiry at the time?

Session 10: The Experimenters
Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life
T.S. Kuhn, "Mathematical vs. Experimental Traditions in the Development of Physical Science", The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 7(1976), 1-31 [JSTOR]; repr. in his The Essential Tension
W.E.K. Middleton, The Experimenters:  A Study of the Accademia del Cimento (including trans. of the Accademia's Saggi di naturali esperienze, also available in trans.  of Richard Waller, Essayes of Natural Experiments Made in the Academie del Cimento)
Barbara Shapiro and Robert G. Frank, English Scientific Virtuosi in the 16th and 17th Centuries (cf. Frank's Harvey and the Oxford Physiologists, Chap. 6)
Peter Dear, "Totius in verba:  Rhetoric and Authority in the Early Royal Society", Isis 76(1985), 145-161 [JSTOR]
Steven Shapin, "Pump and Circumstance:  Robert Boyle's Literary Technology", Social Studies of Science 14(1984), 481-519 [JSTOR]
D.J.deS. Price, "The Manufacture of Scientific Instruments from c.1500 to c.1700", in Chas. Singer et al., History of Technology, III, 620-641 [SSS]
M.S. Mahoney, "Mariotte, Edme", in Dictionary of Scientific Biography [SSS]

Supplementary
D. Graham Burnett, Descartes and the Hyperbolic Quest: Lens Making Machines and Their significance in the Seventeenth Century
Gerald L’E. Turner, Elizabethan Instrument Makers: The Origins of the London Trade in Precision Instrument Making
Mariotte: savant et philosophe ([d.] 1684), pref. by Pierre Costabel

For discussion:
What do the methods and the style of presentation reveal about the purposes of "natural experiments"?
In what ways, if any, do these experimental inquiries differ from Galileo's use of experiment in the study of motion?

Session 11: The New Societies:  Collaboration and Conflict
[The 291 readings on the Mariotte-Pecquet and Newton-Hooke disputes are particularly pertinent to this week's discussion.]
Kathleen Wellman, Making Science Social: The Conferences of Théophraste Renaudot, 1633-1642
Martha Ornstein, The Role of Scientific Societies in the 17th Century [SSS]
Michael C. Hunter, Establishing the New Science : The Experience of the Early Royal Society
                             The Royal Society and its Fellows, 1660-1700:  The Morphology of an Early Scientific Institution
Charles Webster, The Great Instauration:  Science, Medicine and Reform, 1626-1660, Chap. 2
Roger Hahn, The Anatomy of a Scientific Institution: The Paris Academy of Sciences, 1666-1803, Chaps. 1-2
Alice Stroup, A Company of Scientists: Botany, Patronage, and Community at the Seventeenth-Century Parisian Royal Academy of Sciences
Edme Mariotte, Essay de logique, contenant les principes des sciences et la manière de s'en servir pour faire des bons raisonnements [Paris, 1678], ed. Picolet and Gabbey (Paris, 1992)
K. Theodore Hoppen, The Common Scientist in the 17th Century:  A study of the Dublin Philosophical Society, 1683-1708

For discussion:
What motives lay behind the foundation of the Royal Society and the Académie des Sciences?
Given that both groups shared an ideal of collaborative inquiry, how did each respond to controversy among its members?

Session 12: Falling Bodies, Pendulums, and Moons
René Descartes, [Laws of impact from Principles of Philosophy]
Christiaan Huygens, "On the Motion of Bodies Resulting From Impact", "On Centrifugal Force", and "On the Center of Oscillation"
Isaac Newton, Principia mathematica, Preface; Definitions; Axioms or Laws of Motion; and Book I, Section II
Richard S. Westfall, Force in Newton's Physics: The Science of Dynamics in the 17th Century (Obviously, you cannot read the whole of this massive work, nor even major portions of it; try, however, to get a sense of its main themes and of the problem-structure of mechanics at the time.  For some assistance in this, cf. the review by E.J. Aiton, "The Concept of Force", History of Science 10(1971), 88-102)
E.J. Aiton, The Vortex Theory of Planetary Motion (ditto; look over for main theme)
D.T. Whiteside, "The Mathematical Principles Underlying Newton's Principia mathematica", Journal for the History of Astronomy 1(1970), 116-138; sep. as 9th Gibson Lecture in the History of Mathematics, Glasgow, 1970 [online]

Supplementary
For a guide through the details of Newton's mathematics in the original geometrical form, see J. Bruce Brackenridge, The Key to Newton's Dynamics:  The Kepler Problem and the Principia.

For discussion: What were the major lines of inquiry that produced the new mechanics, and how did each particular set of problems shape the results that flowed from it?