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Leviathan and the Air-Pump examines the conflicts over the value and propriety of experimental methods between two major seventeenth-century thinkers: Thomas Hobbes, author of...Read more

Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life by Simon Schaffer, Steven Shapin (Paperback, 2011)

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    Description
    Leviathan and the Air-Pump examines the conflicts over the value and propriety of experimental methods between two major seventeenth-century thinkers: Thomas Hobbes, author of the political treatise Leviathan and vehement critic of systematic experimentation in natural philosophy, and Robert Boyle, mechanical philosopher and owner of the newly invented air-pump. The issues at stake in their disputes ranged from the physical integrity of the air-pump to the intellectual integrity of the kwledge it might yield. Both Boyle and Hobbes were looking for ways of establishing kwledge that did t decay into ad hominem attacks and political division. Boyle proposed the experiment as cure. He argued that facts should be manufactured by machines like the air-pump so that gentlemen could witness the experiments and produce kwledge that everyone agreed on. Hobbes, by contrast, looked for natural law and viewed experiments as the artificial, unreliable products of an exclusive guild. The new approaches taken in Leviathan and the Air-Pump have been ermously influential on historical studies of science. Shapin and Schaffer found a moment of scientific revolution and showed how key scientific givens - facts, interpretations, experiment, truth - were fundamental to a new political order. Shapin and Schaffer were also invative in their ethgraphic approach. Attempting to understand the work habits, rituals, and social structures of a remote, unfamiliar group, they argued that politics were tied up in what scientists did, rather than what they said. Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer use the confrontation between Hobbes and Boyle as a way of understanding what was at stake in the early history of scientific experimentation. They describe the protagonists' divergent views of natural kwledge, and situate the Hobbes-Boyle disputes within contemporary debates over the role of intellectuals in public life and the problems of social order and assent in Restoration England. In a new introduction, the authors describe how science and its social context were understood when this book was first published, and how the study of the history of science has changed since then.

    Key Features
    Author(s)Simon Schaffer, Steven Shapin
    PublisherPrinceton University Press
    Date of Publication15/08/2011
    LanguageEnglish
    FormatPaperback
    ISBN-100691150206
    ISBN-139780691150208
    SubjectScience: General & Reference

    Publication Data
    Place of PublicationNew Jersey
    Country of PublicationUnited States
    ImprintPrinceton University Press
    Content Note15 halftones. 7 line illus.

    Dimensions
    Weight657 g
    Width152 mm
    Height229 mm
    Spine23 mm

    Editorial Details
    Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)

    Description
    Author BiographySteven Shapin is the Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. Simon Schaffer is professor of history of science at the University of Cambridge.

    eBay Product ID: EPID108640428
    Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited or by the publishers or by their respective licensors: all rights reserved.

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