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The Emergence of a Scientific CultureScience and the Shaping of Modernity 1210-1685$
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Stephen Gaukroger

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296446

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296446.001.0001

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Science and Modernity

Science and Modernity

(p.11) 1 Science and Modernity
The Emergence of a Scientific Culture

Stephen Gaukroger (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter sets out the basic ideas that motivate the book. First, science in the West from the early modern era onwards has developed in a very distinctive way that distinguishes it from earlier forms of scientific activity, which had traditionally exhibited a pattern of slow, irregular, intermittent growth that alternated with substantial periods of stagnation. Second, the emergence of a scientific culture reveals that the distinctive features of scientific culture are not sui generis, something to be elucidated merely through reflection on the supposed nature of science. Rather, they have arisen as a result of specific and contingent challenges that have emerged since the 17th century, challenges which are generated in an intellectual culture that goes beyond developments internal to particular scientific programmes. Third, this distinctiveness of Western scientific practice and its cultural and cognitive standing derives in large part from the legitimatory aspirations that it takes on in the course of the 17th century.

Keywords:   cognition, legitimatory aspirations, seventeenth century

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