The Reviews of Leviathan and the Air-Pump: A Survey

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleProfessional

Abstract

Leviathan and the Air-Pump has come to be viewed as one of the most influential books in the history of science. In the first reviews that appeared after its publication, it was anticipated that the book would generate discussion for decades to come. The early critics were right: the book was full of ingredients for debate, waiting to spark a reaction. The story involved three of Europe’s most prominent natural philosophers in the seventeenth century: Robert Boyle, Thomas Hobbes, and (in a smaller role) Christiaan Huygens. Its subject matter was the new “big science” instrument of its day, the air-pump. It dealt with the emergence of “the experimental method” as a systematic means of producing natural knowledge. And, finally, the story featured two competing ways of resolving disputes over knowledge claims and ways to achieve assent. While a few commentators merely summarized the book, others foresaw at once that it would have quite an impact on the history of science as well as on neighboring fields like the sociology, philosophy, and anthropology of science. In this survey I aim to identify the major themes that critics put forward in reviews of the volume over the first six years after its publication and to detail some points made under each theme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-116
Number of pages9
JournalIsis
Volume108
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

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pump
air
seventeenth century
anthropology
history
book
science
Air
Leviathan
History of the Sciences
Assent
Big Science
Thomas Hobbes
Natural philosophers
Robert Boyle
Sociology of Science
Commentators
Philosophy of Science
Anthropology of Science
Experimental Method

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Achbari, A. / The Reviews of Leviathan and the Air-Pump: A Survey. In: Isis. 2017 ; Vol. 108, No. 1. pp. 108-116.
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The Reviews of Leviathan and the Air-Pump: A Survey. / Achbari, A.

In: Isis, Vol. 108, No. 1, 03.2017, p. 108-116.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleProfessional

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