Book ID: CBB600779827

Bedeviled: A Shadow History of Demons in Science (2020)

unapi

Canales, Jimena (Author)


Princeton University Press


Publication Date: 2020
Physical Details: 416
Language: English

How scientists through the ages have conducted thought experiments using imaginary entities―demons―to test the laws of nature and push the frontiers of what is possible Science may be known for banishing the demons of superstition from the modern world. Yet just as the demon-haunted world was being exorcized by the enlightening power of reason, a new kind of demon mischievously materialized in the scientific imagination itself. Scientists began to employ hypothetical beings to perform certain roles in thought experiments―experiments that can only be done in the imagination―and these impish assistants helped scientists achieve major breakthroughs that pushed forward the frontiers of science and technology.Spanning four centuries of discovery―from René Descartes, whose demon could hijack sensorial reality, to James Clerk Maxwell, whose molecular-sized demon deftly broke the second law of thermodynamics, to Darwin, Einstein, Feynman, and beyond―Jimena Canales tells a shadow history of science and the demons that bedevil it. She reveals how the greatest scientific thinkers used demons to explore problems, test the limits of what is possible, and better understand nature. Their imaginary familiars helped unlock the secrets of entropy, heredity, relativity, quantum mechanics, and other scientific wonders―and continue to inspire breakthroughs in the realms of computer science, artificial intelligence, and economics today.The world may no longer be haunted as it once was, but the demons of the scientific imagination are alive and well, continuing to play a vital role in scientists' efforts to explore the unknown and make the impossible real.

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Citation URI
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Authors & Contributors
Schatzki, Theodore R.
Gelfert, Axel
Savigny, Eirke von
Knorr Cetina, Karin
Klein, Ursula
Gayon, Jean
Journals
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Science and Education
History of Science
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
History of Psychiatry
HOPOS
Publishers
Routledge
University of Chicago Press
Editions Ousia
Concepts
Epistemology
Methodology of science; scientific method
Philosophy of science
Imagination
Natural philosophy
Theories of knowledge
People
Thénard, Louis Jacques
Saussure, Nicolas Thédore de
Fourcroy, Antoine François de
Grene, Marjorie
Fleck, Ludwik
Lipsius, Justus
Time Periods
19th century
17th century
18th century
16th century
Early modern
20th century
Places
Europe
France
England
Korea
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