The Invention of Science by David Wootton

The Invention of Science

A companion to such acclaimed works as The Age of Wonder, A Clockwork Universe, and Darwin’s Ghosts—a groundbreaking examination of the greatest event in history, the Scientific Revolution, and how it came to change the way we understand ourselves and our world.We live in a world transformed by scientific discovery. Yet today, science and its practitioners have come under political attack. In this fascinating history spanning continents and c...

Details The Invention of Science

TitleThe Invention of Science
Release DateSep 15th, 2015
GenreScience, History, Nonfiction, History Of Science, Philosophy

Reviews The Invention of Science

  • Mark Hebwood
    I was so looking forward to liking this book. But in the end, I did not really warm to it. I do not say this lightly, and it even takes me some courage to admit it. Why so? Because the history of ideas is a subject close to my heart, and I wrote a longish essay at university about the development of historiography in the 17th century. That does not mean I am an expert on this subject - far from it - but it does mean that I researched some of the ...
  • Warwick
    This is a book with a simple argument to make: that the scientific revolution was a real thing, it definitely happened, and it happened at a specific point in time, namely, ‘between 1572, when Tycho Brahe saw a nova, and 1704, when Newton published his Opticks’. In that century and a half, a staggering number of new truths about reality became understood – we went from living at the centre of a universe of celestial spheres, reading manusc...
  • Liviu
    another book I read across time and finished the last few pages in these two free days after the New Year - dense, requiring effort (both to understand the prose occasionally and to understand the arguments) and one I wouldn't recommend for a novice reader in its subject (The Scientific Revolution and the crucial change that happened in Western Europe gradually between 1500 and 1700, and most notably between 1600 and 1700) that led to the world o...
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    This book defends the traditional idea of the scientific revolution as a break in Western history that so radical that it introduced the idea of progress, disenchanted the world , created a worldview based on the idea that knowledge was not based on authority but objective fact. In other words it was the foundation of the mindset of modern people and a clear break from all traditional societies which came before it. It deserves the name revolutio...
  • Steven Peck
    Simply one of the best treatments of the history and philosophy of science I've read. An exploration of how science developed, what tools and cultural conditions made it possible, and how and why it has progressed. It is also presents a very clear understanding of what science is and why it works for explicating nature and making progress in prediction. I teach History and Philosophy of Biology at my university and this has been a treasure trove ...
  • Jim Coughenour
    This book will look, I trust, realist to relativists and relativist to realists: that is how it is meant to look.The Invention of Science isn't an easy book to read. Neither is it particularly difficult, thanks to Wootten's felicitous prose. But it does require a high degree of concentration as Wootten ranges both far and deep in his exploration of how "science" got its start. His argument is intentionally provocative, precise, plainly stated and...
  • Brian Clegg
    This is no lightweight book - both literally and metaphorically. It packs in nearly 600 pages of decidedly small print, and manages to assign about 10 per cent of these simply to deciding what is meant by a 'scientific revolution' (the subtitle is 'a new history of the scientific revolution'). While warning of the importance of being aware of the change in meaning of some terms, the author successfully demolishes the arguments of those who argue ...
  • Cindy G.
    I am not really qualified to critique the content of this book, but I will comment for other readers like me who enjoy history of science as amateurs. This is clearly a scholarly work, however I only felt that about 10% of it was above my head (e.g. using historian/philosophy jargon that I needed to either look up or just skip over. Having had one college course discussing Kuhn helped me.) It is a long book, and having made the effort to read it ...
  • Louise
    HIGHLY recommended for science nerds!This is a sweeping summary, very well sourced and noted, of the basic idea + repercussions of the Scientific Revolution. Here's the whole glorious thing summarized in a perfect little quote: "A basic description of the Scientific Revolution is to say that it represented a successful rebellion by the mathematicians against the authority of the philosophers, and of both against the authority of the theologians."...
  • Covadonga Mendoza
    He dudado entre tres y cuatro estrellas, pero al final ha pesado la gran erudición demostrada. Hay partes pesadísimas en la obra, de escaso interés, como cuando analiza el origen de ciertas palabras. pero en general el tema es tan interesante de por sí que hace que soportes esas partes torturantes y sigas adelante. Lo mejor las reflexiones historiográficas.
  • Gabrielle Taylor
    Very granular at times but necessary to lay the groundwork for the language and fundamental understandings required to define and describe science at its origin.
  • Cleokatra
    This was a long, tough read for me. I'm a scientist, but I don't read much science history. The book is beautifully written and well researched, so 4 stars.
  • Ibraheem
    help me please . i love this book but i want to read it in arabic . is there an arabic copy of this book ?
  • D.L. Morrese
    Wootton claims there are two major philosophical camps among those who write about the history of science. He calls them the 'realists' and the 'relativists'. The realists regard science as essentially a formalized application of human common sense. To them, science is a systematic method of asking questions about the natural world, which leads to reasonably accurate answers. As these answers build upon one another, collective human understanding...
  • Skjam!
    At the beginning of the Fifteenth Century, there were no scientists as we understand the term, and no science. Received wisdom from Aristotle and Galen ruled knowledge and philosophy. Then a series of changes in technology and the way people investigated nature brought a new way of thinking. By the end of the Seventeenth Century there were scientists, an intellectual community of people who had created a process we call “science.”This book co...
  • Socraticgadfly
    Early errors bring book's reliability into questionOne clear early error? The claim that Newton himself couldn't have used the word "revolution" in talking about his science.Erm, I didn't need Google to tell me about the "Glorious Revolution" in 1688 in Newton's Britain — so-called **at that time.** (Google did tell me that this was apparently the first use of the word "revolution" in English.) And, the author is himself British — he definite...
  • Sam Eccleston
    The most apposite description of this work is encapsulated in one word: 'thorough'. Like most thoroughly researched works it is lengthy, but not, in this case, at the detriment of readability. Throughout the work Wooton presents the results of an extremely detailed historical investigation into seemingly every salient aspect of the cultural, linguistic, institutional, conceptual, and technological changes which facilitated and inspired the scient...
  • Paul
    I thought this book was great, but I should start by saying that it's probably not for everyone. Wootton goes into excruciating detail about the history and philosophy of science and even traces the etymology of many scientific words to try and put the attitudes and statements of the early scienticians (scientographers?) into context.I will likely need to re-read this book some time in the future to really understand all the points he is making, ...
  • Deborah
    Over the top.This is more a book about philosophy than science. Newton was one of the greatest scientists, physicists, and mathematicians of all time but only gets passing mention. Too much of the book is taken up by the evolution of words to describe the scientific revolution and not enough about the people who made it happen. Well researched but too academic for me. I finished the book but it was a slog.
  • Steve
    It took some real work and time to read this book, but it was so rewarding. History, science, philosophy, history of science, philosophy of science -- I learned so much about all of this. Wonderful work about the vocabulary of science, tracing the usage of words such as discovery, invention, evidence, proof, and many others including of course the word 'science" itself. Makes me proud to be a member of the same species as the author and the subje...
  • Bill Adams111
    This monster book is actually an easy read because the concepts are not difficult. It is a history of the scientific revolution, which took place in Europe in the decades around 1600. The so-called revolution was a change in world-view among the intelligentsia that developed incrementally, not analogously to a sudden political revolution. The scientific revolution was stealthy and few people recognized it was even happening.Wootton identifies sev...
  • Patrick Pilz
    This is a book for the scholar of the sciences. It is hard to follow, but provides a great level of detail of the scientific events of the 17th and 18th century. Very academic.
  • Richard Carter
    David Wootton states his thesis right at the start of The Invention of Science:Modern science was invented between 1572, when Tycho Brahe saw a nova, or new star, and 1704, when Newton published his Opticks…I'm no historian, but my keen amateur interest in the history of science tells me that this will be seen as something of a controversial claim. Modern historians of science can be pretty scathing of what they see as ‘Whiggish’ interpreta...
  • Nilesh
    The Invention of Science, a scholarly work, is written for a purpose quite different from the understanding it provides to most readers who are not experts in the field.The author is a master of the field. Many of his arguments are counterpoints to positions taken by other renowned experts. These may be critical but subtleties are going to be beyond the comprehension of the rest. The enormous amount of details provided could be important for thos...
  • Ryan Young
    Author argues (and argues and argues) that the scientific revolution changed forever the way knowledge is acquired, built upon, and even defined. I am completely on board with his thesis, but i found him repetitive and boring. I think the two centuries between the discovery of the American continents by Europeans and the explanation of the solar system by Newton can be a very exciting subject. But here it was not.Here we see the emergence of scie...
  • Mark
    I say this with the caveat that I have no background in the history of science. That said: this is essential reading. I fully grant some of the criticisms I've seen in other reviews. Wootton does rely overmuch on linguistic analyses, and he tends to hammer away at them for much longer than any reader is likely to want him to. He has a few too many axes to grind with other historians, and, if this can be leveled as a criticism, it took a while to ...
  • Adrienne
    This book explains how thinking shifted to “A worldview that knowledge was not based on authority, but on objective fact” “An exploration of how science developed, what tools and cultural conditions made it possible, and how and why it has progressed.” (quotes from goodreads) (listened to on audible)
  • Mark Foskey
    A good counterargument to the anti-science attitudes of a lot of mainstream history of science.
  • Kerry
    Long hard read
  • Will Fett
    Fascinating. But a slog of a read.