Michael Ruse is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science at Florida State University. Author and editor of numerous books, most recently Darwinism and its Discontents and The Cambridge Companion to the 'Origin of Species' (with Robert Richards), he has been a Herbert Spencer Lecturer at Oxford University, a Gifford Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, and Reynolds Lecturer at Baylor University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the recipient of three honorary degrees.
However, it is doubtful whether any practising scientist, religious believer or not, now thinks of laws in the way that the word literally implies. How, instead, scientists do or should view scientific laws has been debated since the time of Hume and Kant, and it is a vigorous field of investigation among current philosophers of science.
In this book, scientists (physical and biological), historians and students of ideas, all of them theologically informed, tackle this topic from many angles. They do so in relation to the lead public lecture at the conference from which the book stems, given by the eminent and iconoclastic philosopher of science, Professor Nancy Cartwright. She asked the question, “How could laws make things happen?”, and her answer was “They couldn’t!”
Building on the work undertaken by Foucault in the 1960s and ‘70s, Tarizzo analyzes the slow transformation of eighteenth-century naturalism into a nineteenth-century science of life, exploring the philosophical landscape that engendered biology and precipitated the work of such foundational figures as Georges Cuvier and Charles Darwin.
Tarizzo tracks three interrelated themes: first, that the metaphysics of biological life is an extension of the Kantian concept of human will in the field of philosophy; second, that biology and philosophy share the same metaphysical assumptions about life originally advanced by F. W. J. Schelling and adopted by Darwin and his intellectual heirs; and third, that modern biopolitics is dependent on this particularly totalizing view of biological life.
Circumventing tired debates about the validity of science and the truth of Darwinian evolution, this book instead envisions and promotes a profound paradigm shift in philosophical and scientific concepts of biological life.
This is an essential introduction for all students of science, philosophy, history, and religion wanting a useful guide to Galileo’s great classic.
In this fresh study of the complicated origins of revolutionary science in the age of Bacon, Hobbes, and Boyle, Martin traces one of the most important developments in Western European history: the rise and fall of Aristotelianism from the eleventh to the eighteenth century.
Medieval theologians reconciled Aristotelian natural philosophy with Christian dogma in a synthesis that dominated religious thought for centuries. This synthesis unraveled in the seventeenth century contemporaneously with the emergence of the new natural philosophies of the scientific revolution. Important figures of seventeenth-century thought strove to show that the medieval appropriation of Aristotle defied the historical record that pointed to an impious figure of dubious morality.
While numerous scholars have written on the seventeenth-century downfall of Aristotelianism, almost all of those works have examined how the conceptual content of the new sciences—such as the heliocentric cosmology, atomism, mechanical and mathematical models, and experimentalism—were used to dismiss the views of Aristotle. Subverting Aristotle is the first to focus on the religious polemics accompanying the scientific controversies that led to the eventual demise of Aristotelian natural philosophy.
Martin’s thesis draws extensively on primary source material from England, France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. It alters present perceptions not only of the scientific revolution but also of the role of Renaissance humanism in the forging of modernity.-- John Monfasani, University at Albany, The State University of New York