Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article asks whether there was a Scientific Revolution (SR) at anytime between 1550 and1800. The label ‘Scientific Revolution’ to indicate a period in the development of natural knowledge in early modern Europe has carved a place in historiography. This article suggests that there was SR, if SR signifies a period of time; perhaps, if it is taken as a metaphor. It illustrates how the deployment of the metaphor to seventeenth-century natural knowledge might be accomplished. It also considers the physics of René Descartes, the influence of Cartesianism throughout the Republic of Letters, and the academies. The metaphor can be useful if it is taken in analogy to a major political revolution. The analogy points to a later onset, and a swifter career, for the SR than is usually prescribed, and shows that Isaac Newton was its counter rather than its culmination.

Keywords: Scientific Revolution, natural knowledge, Europe, metaphor, physics, René Descartes, Cartesianism, academies, political revolution, Isaac Newton

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.