In a remarkable summary of more than forty years of work in the sociology and philosophy of science, Lewis S. Feuer reviews major people and landmarks in the evolution of modern science, giving readers a sense of the human drama involved in the creative process.
Examining the standpoints of philosophical figures ranging from Spinoza, Descartes, Kant, and Mill to more contemporary figures such as Einstein, Lovejoy, and Hook, Feuer illuminates how sociological antipathies project themselves into scientific divergences. This is no dry-as-dust exercise. Rather, Feuer delves into emotive beliefs such as pacifism, socialism, and anti-Semitism, which are not only behind the formation of concurrent worldviews, but are often fixations of scientific belief. He shows how scientists try to impose structural laws on the world that, besides fitting physical realities, will also realize their own emotional longings among alternative worldviews. He also shows that the gestation of the hypotheses of original-minded scientists, such as Darwin, Einstein, or Bohr, is in large part a subconscious process.