Science, Philosophy and Religion in the Age of the Enlightenment: British and Global Contexts, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Science, Philosophy and Religion in the Age of the Enlightenment

British and Global Contexts, 1st Edition

By John Gascoigne


328 pages

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Hardback: 9781409400585
pub: 2010-05-28
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Taking as its focus the wide-ranging character of the Enlightenment, both in geographical and intellectual terms, this second collection of articles by John Gascoigne explores this movement's filiation and influence in a range of contexts. In contrast to some recently influential views it emphasises the evolutionary rather than the revolutionary character of the Enlightenment and its ability to change society by adaptation rather than demolition. This it does by reference, firstly, to developments in Britain tracing the changing views of history in relation to the Biblical account, the ideological uses of science (and particularly the work of Newton) and their connections to developments in moral philosophy and the teaching of science and philosophy in response to Enlightenment modes of thought. The collection then turns to the wider global setting of the Enlightenment and the way in which that movement served to provide a justification for European exploration and expansion, developments which found one of their most potent embodiments in the diverse uses of mapping. The collection concludes with an exploration of the interplay between the experience of Pacific contact and the currents of thought which characterised the Enlightenment in Germany.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; 'The wisdom of the Egyptians': and the secularisation of history in the age of Newton; From Bentley to the Victorians: the rise and fall of British Newtonian natural theology; Sensible Newtonians: Nicholas Saunderson and John Colson; Science, religion and the foundations of morality in Enlightenment Britain; The teaching of philosophy within the British universities and learned societies of the 18th century; Motives for European exploration of the Pacific in the age of the Enlightenment; Joseph Banks, mapping and the geographies of natural knowledge; Blumenbach, Banks and the beginnings of anthropology at Göttingen; The German Enlightenment and the Pacific; The Royal Society, natural history, and the peoples of the 'New World(s)', 1660-1800; Index.

About the Author

John Gascoigne is a Professor in the School of History and Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Australia

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General