The seventeenth-century scientific revolution and the eighteenth-century chemical revolution are rarely considered together, either in general histories of science or in more specific surveys of early modern science or chemistry. This tendency arises from the long-held view that the rise of modern physics and the emergence of modern chemistry comprise two distinct and unconnected episodes in the history of science. Although chemistry was deeply transformed during and between both revolutions, the scientific revolution is traditionally associated with the physical and mathematical sciences whereas modern chemistry is seen as the exclusive product of the chemical revolution. This historiographical tension, between similarity in ’form’ and disparity in historical ’content’ of the two events, has tainted the way we understand the rise of modern chemistry as an integral part of the advent of modern science. Against this background, Matter and Method in the Long Chemical Revolution examines the role of and effects on chemistry of both revolutions in parallel, using chemistry during the chemical revolution to illuminate chemistry during the scientific revolution, and vice versa. Focusing on the crises and conflicts of early modern chemistry (and their retrospectively labeled ’losing’ parties), the author traces patterns of continuity in matter theory and experimental method from Boyle to Lavoisier, and reevaluates the disciplinary relationships between chemists, mechanists, and Newtonians in France, England, and Scotland. Adopting a unique approach to the study of the scientific and chemical revolutions, and to early modern chemical thought and practice in particular, the author challenges the standard revolution-centered history of early modern science, and reinterprets the rise of chemistry as an independent discipline in the long eighteenth century.
Victor D. Boantza is a professor in the History of Science and Technology Program at the University of Minnesota, USA.
Classified as 'Research Essential' by Baker & Taylor YBP Library Services A Yankee Book Peddler US Core Title for 2013 '... the work is extensively researched and documented ... Recommended.' Choice '... this is a valuable study that provides a thoughtful analysis of the history of chemistry and the long and complicated revolution that propelled it into the modern era.' Sixteenth Century Journal '... Boantza has made a worthwhile, thought-provoking contribution to the literature on the chemical revolution and scientific controversies, which should be read by historians of chemistry as well as historians and philosophers of scientific revolutions.' Early Science & Medicine 'One thing is certain... Boantza's challenging arguments will fuel much debate within the history of chemistry community in the years to come.' Ambix 'Historians of chemistry will ... find Boantza's account of the 'Long Chemical Revolution' intrinsically interesting and stimulating. Philosophers of chemistry concerned with the abiding problematic of 'reduction' would also benefit from an encounter with Boantza's sense of its intricate and variegated nature. This is an important book, which deserves and will reward the attention of historians and philosophers of science.' HYLE - International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry