Ose who are writing for a popular audience tend to portray the development of modern science as something new a break from past thought about the world rather than a continuation of it It is as though despite Newton s oft uoted remark about the shoulders of giants the ideas of Copernicus Galileo Descartes and Newton and others in other fields came out of nowhere the ideas of Copernicus Galileo Descartes and Newton and others in other fields came out of nowhere facts which show the continuing influence of earlier ideas such as Newton s interest in alchemy are left out or mentioned in passing in an embarrassed mannerThe purpose of Ball s book is to show something of the continuous nature of the development of the philosophical ideas which led to the seventeenth century appearance of modern science in embryonic form Ostensibly he does this by looking at the concept of curiosity how it has changed its meaning and how attitudes towards it changed from The Common Medieval Opinion That It Was To Be Discouraged common medieval opinion that it was to be discouraged likely to lead to heretical thought if uncheckedI say ostensibly because even though the discussion of curiosity is important it did not feel to me that it was the sole focus of the book Apart from anything else Ball is happy to go off on interesting tangents such as the long chapter on seventeenth century ideas about the possibility of life on the moon sparked by Galileo s observations of features similar if a certain amount of wishful thinking was used to earthly terrain as opposed to being a featureless perfect sphere and by the ensuing publication of Kepler s novel Somnium The Dream or Posthumous Work on Lunar Astronomy At least it seems like that is what is happening when the reader starts the chapter in fact it is the first of a series of what are basically case studies examination of some of the popular scientific crazes of the seventeenth century a theme which would make a fascinating book in itselfThere are occasional places where I suspect Ball assumes knowledge in his readership than might be sensible for example he uses the term Whiggish of historical accounts without explaining its meaning It s reasonably clear from the context but could easily confuse anyone who hasn t an interest in the theory of historical writing such as someone interested from the science side of things rather than the history side It is by the way a somewhat derogatory term for old fashioned narrative history which treats the past as a novel from a one sided point of view especially one which paints the individuals as heroes and villains In general though the explanations of what people were doing what they intended how this fitted into the history of science and especially the development of the philosophy of science are admirably clearCuriosity is well worth reading especially if your exposure to history of early modern science is so far LIMITED TO THE TRADITIONAL VERSION WITH HEROES AND VILLAINS to the traditional version with heroes and villains in black and white terms The narrative might become complicated than you had previously thought but then the real world is like that It is curious indeed that a curious person like me never thought that curiosity has a history I thought curiosity was something we re born with Indeed even my dogs are curious as were the racoon babies peering at us as we walked by their nest in the porch of a house in the middle of an inner city neighborhoodCuriously not only has curiosity got a history curiosity had been looked down upon by church and state The history of curiosity is the history of science in the Western World I love the history of science but after the first 200 or so pages curiously I was sick of curious peopleCuriously this is because Ball feels the need to mention such minor curious men that I never heard of Not so curiously I did know of the major and some minor curious men However curious as I am my curiosity failed me as the list of curious thinkers grew and the objects of their curiosity became curiously trivial In short this is well researched and well written but ultimately borin. S a complex story in which the liberation and the taming of curiosity was linked to magic religion literature travel trade and empireBy examining the rise of curiosity we can ask what has become of it today how it functions in science how it is spun and packaged and sold how well it is being sustained and honoured and how the changing shape of science influences the kinds of uestions it may as.
review é PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ô Philip BallA mixed bag for me Some chapters were fascinating others dull or misleading The best parts were Ball s takes on the literary responses to the scientific revolution in England chapters 8 and 12 first the slew of Moone books that appeared starting in the 1630s speculating about the possibility of life on the moon second the satirical tradition that emerged in the later part of the 17th c If ever there was a book I should give 5 to this is it Unfortunately it is superbly written from a syntax standpoint but totally unengaging If anything it is a 3 dB tougher read than Vom Kreig The subject is not only enthralling but critically Important To Our Civilization Admittedly To Our Civilization Admittedly our civilization Admittedly is complex so the author can be forgiven IMHO for not uite managing to integrate a story I recommend this strongly for any scientist who is an actual nerd and not ust a careerist geek Review title What do we really want to knowAuthor Ball frames a fascinating subject what do we want to know what should we want to know what is and isn t appropriate to know What does science want to know and why what does theology want us to know what to accept by faith and what never to uestion All of these uestions Ball categorizes as curiosity in this deep and sometimes too dense study of the history of science and the scientific revolution which Ball states was neitherIn part as a corrective for those who believe that science developed out of and distinct from magic alchemy and natural philosophy in a small defined set of events in clear contrast to those past and concurrent ways of thinking Ball shows how these ways of thinking all overlapped and intertwined in their subject matter and methods Ball documents how early thinkers now adopted as founding figures of science such as Galileo Newton and Robert Boyle who made a clear break with the unscientific past actually thought in such as Galileo Newton and Robert Boyle who made a clear break with the unscientific past actually thought in and studied subjects congruent with their alchemical peers He also traces philosophies of appropriate areas of study back to Aristotle and Plato and shows how much influence these ancient Greek philosophers still carried in intellectual life centuries later As the definition of curiosity broadened the allowable and patron approved and funded areas of study expanded in the fertile span of years from the 16th to the 18th centuries that are at the core of Ball s historyThe subject matter is sometimes better than Ball s approach to it While he throws out names uotes sources and historical allusions in dense arguments and rapid and sometimes confusing transitions his central uestions can be boiled down to this1 What was allowable and would be funded The church and the governments and kings it both owned and answered to had a large part to say in answer to this uestion Science even before the days of big science cost money and needed royal approval to proceed unhindered Government church authorities and wealthy patrons could provide or withhold as the church did from Galileo these vital necessities and also direct how they were used Ball talks about the cabinets of curiosities wealthy collectors assembled to satisfy their own curiosities and shows how these data collection efforts sometimes drove science and sometimes favored magical and alchemical displays of wonder and sometimes the recipients of the finding or the collections moved freely between both ways of thinking2 What did the thinkers themselves consider worthy of curiousity What did they want to know The answer was sometimes everything which some thinkers considered indiscriminate collection that wasted precious money and brainpower In contrast Ball uotes Francis BaconGod has framed the mind like a glass capable of the image of the universe and desirous to receive it as the eye to receive light and thus it is not only pleased with the variety and vicissitudes of things but also endeavours to find out the laws they observe in their changes and alterationsThis uote powerfully amplifies the philosophy that I esp. There was a time when curiosity was condemned To be curious was to delve into matters that didn't concern you after all the original sin stemmed from a desire for forbidden knowledge Through curiosity our innocence was lostYet this hasn't deterred us Today we spend vast sums trying to recreate the first instants of creation in particle accelerators out of pure desire to know There seems now to. Ouse in The catholic reader the lunchcom website where I post my reviews On the other side were those pro why is the sea salty have animals souls or intelligence has opinion its foundation in the animate body why do human beings not have horns how is it that sound in its passage makes its way through any OBSTACLE WHATEVER HOW IS IT THAT JOY CAN BE whatever how is it that oy can be
CAUSE OF TEARS WHY ARE THEof tears why are the of uneual length why if you have intercourse with a woman after she has lain with a leper will you catch the disease while she will escape what reason is there for the universality of death why do we need food so freuently or at all why are the living afraid of the bodies of the dead how is the globe supported in the middle of the air why does the inflow of the rivers not increase the bulk of the ocean why if a vessel be full and its lower part open does water not issue from it unless the upper lid be first removed when one atom is moved are all moved since whatever is in a state of motion moves something else thus setting up infinite motion why do winds travel along the earth s surface and not in an upward direction why does a sort of perpetual shadow brood over the moon granted that the stars are alive on what food do they live ought we regard the cosmos as an inanimate body a living thing or a god Adelard of Bath c1120 This took me such a long time to get into that I decided to abandon it The language was often dense and lofty which made the first chapters nearly inaccessible for me Plus the opening is mostly hair splitting about what the word curiosity meant in a variety of cultures contexts and languages So I was doing a lot of mental wandering and zoning out needing to back up and start pages paragraphs and sentences over Later on though when Ball finally gets to individual instances and players in the expansion of scientific literacy That s when this took off and became enjoyable But you have to sit through a lot of droning first and it never really clicked for me interest wise3 stars out of 5 Not my favorite Pop Science author by a long shot I must admit that this book s best uality is probably the author s ambivalence about what he is talking about To be sure I have a very different perspective on science and curiosity and their larger cultural matters and this book does a good ob at reminding the reader if such a reminder is necessary that science has always carried with it a large amount of baggage relating to the larger culture and its own ideas and belief systems Had the author not been deeply interested in science he likely would have never written this book and cer A great history of the so called scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries He examines the main characters and ideas in the revolution and their cultural context It s pretty academic in tone which is okay but it s far of a history book than a book about the evolution of curiosity There are sections on curiosity how it went from being sacrilegious to being necessary for the learning about the world around us But I guess it was heavier with history and phil Curiosity was considered a vice in the middle ages and before It is a cardinal virtue in the middle ages and before It is a cardinal virtue in these days It is a term of praise This book takes a look at the scientific revolution in the 17th century and charts the rising fortunes of curiosity and wonder This is also a good history of the scientific revolution with a large cast Galileo Kepler Newton Bacon Boyle Hooke Lippershays Pepys and almost every notable natural philosopher of the time This is a crucial period in Western civilization and ultimately world civilization We slowly formed from pre scientific superstition and scholasticism the beginings of the scientific world view Philip Ball keeps the story interesting by showing the relationships between these people as they hammered out the modern world This review first appeared on my blog hereHistories of what is known as the scientific revolution especially th. Be no uestion too vast or too trivial to be ruled out of bounds Why can fleas ump so high What is gravity What shape are clouds Today curiosity is no longer reviled but celebratedExamining how our inuisitive impulse first became sanctioned changing from a vice to a virtue Curiosity begins with the age when modern science began a time that spans the lives of Galileo and Isaac Newton It reveal.