Book ID: CBB600779827

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


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.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Catherine Greene; (2021)
Historical Counterfactuals, Transition Periods, and the Constraints on Imagination (/isis/citation/CBB731857942/) unapi

Chapter James W. McAllister; (2012)
Thought Experiment and the Exercise of Imagination in Science (/isis/citation/CBB240679175/) unapi

Article Axel Gelfert; (2014)
Observation, Inference, and Imagination: Elements of Edgar Allan Poe’s Philosophy of Science (/isis/citation/CBB191773633/) unapi

Book Milena Ivanova; Steven French; (2020)
The Aesthetics of Science: Beauty, Imagination and Understanding (/isis/citation/CBB662409369/) unapi

Article Tobias Rosefeldt; (2021)
Kant on the epistemic role of the imagination (/isis/citation/CBB840115611/) unapi

Book Schatzki, Theodore R.; Cetina, Karin Knorr; Savigny, Eike von; (2001)
The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory (/isis/citation/CBB000102119/) unapi

Book Corneanu, Sorana; (2011)
Regimens of the Mind: Boyle, Locke, and the Early Modern Cultura Animi Tradition (/isis/citation/CBB001250419/) unapi

Book Gayon, Jean; Burian, Richard; (2007)
Conceptions de la science: hier, aujourd'hui, demain: hommage à Marjorie Grene (/isis/citation/CBB001021788/) unapi

Chapter Klein, Ursula; (2009)
In the Thick of Organic Matter (/isis/citation/CBB001020634/) unapi

Chapter Pitt, Joseph C.; (2007)
Voir la nature: les origines de l'observation scientifique (/isis/citation/CBB001022508/) unapi

Book Daston, Lorraine; Lunbeck, Elizabeth; (2010)
Histories of Scientific Observation (/isis/citation/CBB001022558/) unapi

Article Chris Walker; (2019)
Karl Jaspers and Karl Popper: the shared legacy (/isis/citation/CBB353883243/) unapi

Article De Cruz, Helen; De Smedt, Johan; (2013)
The Value of Epistemic Disagreement in Scientific Practice: The Case of Homo Floresiensis (/isis/citation/CBB001211896/) unapi

Article Markus Emden; (2021)
Reintroducing “the” Scientific Method to Introduce Scientific Inquiry in Schools? (/isis/citation/CBB433179833/) unapi

Book Sang-ho Ro; (2021)
Neo-Confucianism and Science in Korea: Humanity and Nature, 1706-1814 (/isis/citation/CBB508475951/) unapi

Article Pickstone, John V.; (2011)
A Brief Introduction to Ways of Knowing and Ways of Working (/isis/citation/CBB001036155/) unapi

Article Gelfert, Axel; (2011)
Model-Based Representation in Scientific Practice: New Perspectives (/isis/citation/CBB001024167/) unapi

Article Otero, Mario H.; (2011)
Apuntes sobre la “bancarrota” de la ciencia circa 1900 (/isis/citation/CBB001220804/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Schatzki, Theodore R.
Gelfert, Axel
Savigny, Eirke von
Knorr Cetina, Karin
Klein, Ursula
Gayon, Jean
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
University of Chicago Press
Editions Ousia
Methodology of science; scientific method
Philosophy of science
Natural philosophy
Theories of knowledge
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

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment