By Denise Phillips
Although a few of the useful and highbrow traditions that make up glossy technological know-how date again centuries, the class of “science” itself is a relative novelty. within the early eighteenth century, the trendy German note that might later suggest “science,” naturwissenschaft, was once now not even incorporated in dictionaries. via 1850, notwithstanding, the time period used to be in use all over. Acolytes of Nature follows the emergence of this crucial new type inside German-speaking Europe, tracing its upward push from a mere eighteenth-century neologism to a defining rallying cry of contemporary German culture.
Today’s thought of a unified typical technology has been deemed an invention of the mid-nineteenth century. but what Denise Phillips unearths here's that the assumption of naturwissenschaft acquired a widespread position in German public existence numerous a long time prior. Phillips uncovers the evolving outlines of the class of common technological know-how and examines why Germans of various social station and highbrow commitments got here to discover this label invaluable. An increasing schooling process, an more and more brilliant buyer tradition and concrete social lifestyles, the early levels of industrialization, and the emergence of a liberal political move all essentially altered the realm within which trained Germans lived, and likewise reshaped the way in which they categorised knowledge.
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Additional info for Acolytes of nature : defining natural science in Germany, 1770-1850
The real thing we need to look for are places where Naturforscher were rallying together and claiming to be part of some uniﬁed cause. We do not have to look far. Late eighteenth-century Naturforscher disagreed about many things, but they were fond of portraying themselves as partners and friends in a collective enterprise. When they described this collective enterprise, they generally focused on several shared values: studying nature was a useful pursuit; it was also a pious and a pleasurable one.
Overviews of physics, philosophy, even jurisprudence for women, holds lectures for courtly cavaliers and ladies and so on. 68 When the learned embraced le monde, according to Schlosser, they had paid a high price. In trying to cut a pleasing ﬁgure before the ladies and gentlemen of good society, they had traded the true quest for knowledge for the shallow pleasures of curiosity. They had abandoned systematic thought for entertaining anecdotes. In the process, the ties that once bound together the “truly learned” had decayed.
The three ﬁelds Karsten covered—natural history, natural philosophy, and chemistry—were usually treated as separate sciences, each deserving a textbook of its own. These three subjects had generally recognized parameters, which Karsten described brieﬂy in his introduction. Natural history dealt with speciﬁc natural bodies, plant, animal, and mineral. Chemistry described the composition of matter and the rules that governed how different fundamental elements combined, while natural philosophy explained the causes at work in the physical world.
Acolytes of nature : defining natural science in Germany, 1770-1850 by Denise Phillips