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The Philosophical Breakfast Club

Author : Laura J. Snyder
ISBN : 0307716171
Genre : Science
File Size : 78.16 MB
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“[A] fascinating book...about the way four geniuses at Cambridge University revolutionized modern science.“ —Newsweek The Philosophical Breakfast Club recounts the life and work of four men who met as students at Cambridge University: Charles Babbage, John Herschel, William Whewell, and Richard Jones. Recognizing that they shared a love of science (as well as good food and drink) they began to meet on Sunday mornings to talk about the state of science in Britain and the world at large. Inspired by the great 17th century scientific reformer and political figure Francis Bacon—another former student of Cambridge—the Philosophical Breakfast Club plotted to bring about a new scientific revolution. And to a remarkable extent, they succeeded, even in ways they never intended. Historian of science and philosopher Laura J. Snyder exposes the political passions, religious impulses, friendships, rivalries, and love of knowledge—and power—that drove these extraordinary men. Whewell (who not only invented the word “scientist,” but also founded the fields of crystallography, mathematical economics, and the science of tides), Babbage (a mathematical genius who invented the modern computer), Herschel (who mapped the skies of the Southern Hemisphere and contributed to the invention of photography), and Jones (a curate who shaped the science of economics) were at the vanguard of the modernization of science. This absorbing narrative of people, science and ideas chronicles the intellectual revolution inaugurated by these men, one that continues to mold our understanding of the world around us and of our place within it. Drawing upon the voluminous correspondence between the four men over the fifty years of their work, Laura J. Snyder shows how friendship worked to spur the men on to greater accomplishments, and how it enabled them to transform science and help create the modern world. "The lives and works of these men come across as fit for Masterpiece Theatre.” —Wall Street Journal "Snyder succeeds famously in evoking the excitement, variety and wide-open sense of possibility of the scientific life in 19th-century Britain...splendidly evoked in this engaging book.” —American Scientist "This fine book is as wide-ranging and anecdotal, as excited and exciting, as those long-ago Sunday morning conversations at Cambridge. The Philosophical Breakfast Club forms a natural successor to Jenny Uglow’s The Lunar Men...and Richard Holmes’s The Age of Wonder.” —Washington Post
Category: Science

Creatively Undecided

Author : Menachem Fisch
ISBN : 9780226514659
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 73.75 MB
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Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper are believed by many who study science to be the two key thinkers of the twentieth century. Each addressed the question of how scientific theories change, but they came to different conclusions. By turning our attention to ambiguity and indecision in science, Menachem Fisch, in Creatively Undecided, offers a new way to look at how scientific understandings change. Following Kuhn, Fisch argues that scientific practice depends on the framework in which it is conducted, but he also shows that those frameworks can be understood as the possible outcomes of the rational deliberation that Popper viewed as central to theory change. How can a scientist subject her standards to rational appraisal if that very act requires the use of those standards? The way out, Fisch argues, is by looking at the incentives scientists have to create alternative frameworks in the first place. Fisch argues that while science can only be transformed from within, by people who have standing in the field, criticism from the outside is essential. We may not be able to be sufficiently self-critical on our own, but trusted criticism from outside, even if resisted, can begin to change our perspective—at which point transformative self-criticism becomes a real option.
Category: Philosophy

The X Club

Author : Ruth Barton
ISBN : 9780226551753
Genre : History
File Size : 79.2 MB
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In 1864, amid headline-grabbing heresy trials, members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science were asked to sign a declaration affirming that science and scripture were in agreement. Many criticized the new test of orthodoxy; nine decided that collaborative action was required. The X Club tells their story. These six ambitious professionals and three wealthy amateurs—J. D. Hooker, T. H. Huxley, John Tyndall, John Lubbock, William Spottiswoode, Edward Frankland, George Busk, T. A. Hirst, and Herbert Spencer—wanted to guide the development of science and public opinion on issues where science impinged on daily life, religious belief, and politics. They formed a private dining club, which they named the X Club, to discuss and further their plans. As Ruth Barton shows, they had a clear objective: they wanted to promote “scientific habits of mind,” which they sought to do through lectures, journalism, and science education. They devoted enormous effort to the expansion of science education, with real, but mixed, success. ​For twenty years, the X Club was the most powerful network in Victorian science—the men succeeded each other in the presidency of the Royal Society for a dozen years. Barton’s group biography traces the roots of their success and the lasting effects of their championing of science against those who attempted to limit or control it, along the way shedding light on the social organization of science, the interactions of science and the state, and the places of science and scientific men in elite culture in the Victorian era.
Category: History

Reforming Philosophy

Author : Laura J. Snyder
ISBN : 9780226767352
Genre : Science
File Size : 30.16 MB
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The Victorian period in Britain was an “age of reform.” It is therefore not surprising that two of the era’s most eminent intellects described themselves as reformers. Both William Whewell and John Stuart Mill believed that by reforming philosophy—including the philosophy of science—they could effect social and political change. But their divergent visions of this societal transformation led to a sustained and spirited controversy that covered morality, politics, science, and economics. Situating their debate within the larger context of Victorian society and its concerns, Reforming Philosophy shows how two very different men captured the intellectual spirit of the day and engaged the attention of other scientists and philosophers, including the young Charles Darwin. Mill—philosopher, political economist, and Parliamentarian—remains a canonical author of Anglo-American philosophy, while Whewell—Anglican cleric, scientist, and educator—is now often overlooked, though in his day he was renowned as an authority on science. Placing their teachings in their proper intellectual, cultural, and argumentative spheres, Laura Snyder revises the standard views of these two important Victorian figures, showing that both men’s concerns remain relevant today. A philosophically and historically sensitive account of the engagement of the major protagonists of Victorian British philosophy, Reforming Philosophy is the first book-length examination of the dispute between Mill and Whewell in its entirety. A rich and nuanced understanding of the intellectual spirit of Victorian Britain, it will be welcomed by philosophers and historians of science, scholars of Victorian studies, and students of the history of philosophy and political economy.
Category: Science

Talking Book Topics

Author :
ISBN : WISC:89121901839
Genre : Talking books
File Size : 68.11 MB
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Category: Talking books

Eye Of The Beholder

Author : Laura J. Snyder
ISBN : 9781784970239
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 23.31 MB
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By the early 17th century the Scientific Revolution was well under way. Philosophers and scientists were throwing off the yoke of ancient authority to peer at nature and the cosmos through microscopes and telescopes. In October 1632, in the small town of Delft in the Dutch Republic, two geniuses were born who would bring about a seismic shift in the idea of what it meant to see the world. One was Johannes Vermeer, whose experiments with lenses and a camera obscura taught him how we see under different conditions of light and helped him create the most luminous works of art ever beheld. The other was Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, whose work with microscopes revealed a previously unimagined realm of minuscule creatures. By intertwining the biographies of these two men, Laura Snyder tells the story of a historical moment in both art and science that revolutionized how we see the world today.
Category: Biography & Autobiography

The Anti Globalization Breakfast Club

Author : Laurence J. Brahm
ISBN : IND:30000126335326
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 59.94 MB
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Alternative models for grass roots economic development such as micro-financing are now being widely adopted in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and elsewhere. New views on measuring development such as GDH (gross domestic happiness) have been adopted by Bhutan rather than GDP, and China's own hybrid approach combining market and planned policy to achieve economic transformation offer new choices for developing countries. All of these are representative of a new wave of thinking that rejects the increasingly discredited policies of the IMF and World Bank. It is easy to criticise the views of activists who take to the street every time the World Bank, IMF, WTO or World Economic Forum meet. However they are driven by hard concerns which are not calling for an end to globalization but a reorientation of what this means. They are challenging notions of accepted economic and business parlance, calling for fair trade rather than just free trade; balanced rather than fast growth; and protection of domestic cottage industries and with it ethnic diversification and social identity. In many respects the term is a misnomer. They are calling for fairer re-distribution of the fruits of globalization and a humane reduction of its side-effects through sensitivities to local conditional realities. This book brings together the views of many of the world's leading thinkers in alternative policy studies. Their collective views represent a fascinating insight into a growing movement that is slowly but surely affecting the way the world does business.
Category: Business & Economics

Don Mcneill And His Breakfast Club

Author : John Doolittle
ISBN : UOM:39015050518326
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 47.6 MB
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In Don McNeill and His Breakfast Club John Doolittle chronicles the cheerfulness, wit, and self-deprecating humor that won Don McNeill the title "King of Corn" and a warm place in the hearts and homes of millions of radio listeners. As host of the Breakfast Club, the longest running program in network radio history, McNeill enraptured a wide audience -- from the people who would travel for miles to participate in his studio audience to his celebrity admirers.During its heyday, the Breakfast Club was hailed by Newsweek as "one of the American Broadcast Company's most smiled-upon possessions. . . . the lifeblood of the network's Chicago office where the show originates." Some of the biggest names in show business dropped by the Breakfast Club including Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Jimmy Stewart, Jane Russell, Joe Lewis, Lucille Ball, Danny Kaye, and Groucho Marx, but the show's main attraction was McNeill himself, who, with his grassroots values and good-natured humor presided over a household institution that thrived for 35 years, through wars, the Depression, and three generations of listeners. Don McNeill and His Breakfast Club includes a wonderful collection of black and white photos, and is accompanied by a delightful CD of Breakfast Club highlights.
Category: Biography & Autobiography