Albert E. Moyer's A scientist's voice in American culture: Simon Newcomb and PDF

By Albert E. Moyer

ISBN-10: 0520076893

ISBN-13: 9780520076891

In past due nineteenth-century the US, Simon Newcomb used to be the nation's such a lot celebrated scientist and--irascibly, doggedly, tirelessly--he made the main of it. formally a mathematical astronomer heading a central authority service provider, Newcomb spent as a lot of his existence out of the observatory as in it, performing as a spokesman for the nascent yet restive medical neighborhood of his time.Newcomb observed the "scientific process" as a possible consultant for all disciplines and a foundation for all functional motion, and argued passionately that it was once of as a lot use within the halls of Congress as within the laboratory. In so doing, he not just sparked renowned help for American technology but additionally faced a large spectrum of social, cultural, and highbrow matters. this primary full-length research of Newcomb strains the improvement of his religion in technology and levels over issues of significant public debate within the Gilded Age, from the reform of monetary conception to the recasting of the talk among technological know-how and faith. Moyer's portrait of a stressed, keen brain additionally illuminates the bustle of past due nineteenth-century the US.

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Indeed, Newcomb's personal convictions and biases complicate our understanding of his initiatives on the public level. Often in his methodological pronouncements, he was speaking not only for "American science" but also for himself, thereby mixing two agendas: one for science as a collective enterprise (Schuster and Yeo's primary concern) and the other for himself as an individual citizen-scientist seeking to serve society at large. That is, he frequently linked his efforts to improve the social relations of science with his efforts to promote personal political, economic, religious, philosophical, and pedagogic convictions.

Its real value consisted, not in what it taught about the position of the 'organs,' but in presenting a study of human nature which, if not scientific in form, was truly so in spirit. " Man, Newcomb read, was a product of natural law. Particularly influential in reinforcing this naturalistic message was the Constitution of Man, by Combe, an early nineteenth-century Edinburgh lawyer and phrenologist. Extremely popular, this wide-ranging work combined a rationalistic view of mental action with nineteenth-century liberalismespousing, as Newcomb would in later years, individual freedoms, property rights, and free trade.

In addition to bolstering the public image of science, such ideological linkages often promoted Newcomb's personal beliefs. Indeed, Newcomb's personal convictions and biases complicate our understanding of his initiatives on the public level. Often in his methodological pronouncements, he was speaking not only for "American science" but also for himself, thereby mixing two agendas: one for science as a collective enterprise (Schuster and Yeo's primary concern) and the other for himself as an individual citizen-scientist seeking to serve society at large.

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A scientist's voice in American culture: Simon Newcomb and the rhetoric of scientific method by Albert E. Moyer


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