Science and Immortality: The Eloges of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1699-1791)

Author:   Charles B. Paul
Publisher:   University of California Press
ISBN:  

9780520304048


Pages:   216
Publication Date:   08 March 2019
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   Not yet available   Availability explained
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Science and Immortality: The Eloges of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1699-1791)


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Overview

From the eighteenth century until as recently as World War II, the natural scientist was depicted as a kind of moral superhero: objective, modest, ascetic, and selflessly dedicated to the betterment of humanity. What accounts for the widespread diffusion of this myth? In Science and Immortality, Charles B. Paul provides a partial explanation. The modern ideology of the scientist as disinterested seeker after truth arose partly through the transformation of an ancient literary form--the commemoration of heroes. In 1699 Bernard de Fontenelle, as Secretary of the Paris Academy of Sciences, inaugurated the tradition of the loge, or eulogy, in honor of members of the Academy. The moral qualities that had once been attributed to the idealized Stoic philosopher were transferred in the eulogies to the natural philosopher, or scientist. The over two hundred loges composed between 1699 and 1791 by Fontenelle and his successors--Mairan, Fouchy, and Condorcet--served as a powerful device for the popularization of science. It was the intention of the secretaries, though, not only to exhibit the natural scientist as a modern-day hero but also to present a truthful record of scientific activity in France. Paul examines the loges both as a literary form that used rhetorical and stylistic devises to reconcile these two conflicting goals and as a collective biography of a new breed of savants--one that already contained the seed of the conflict between self-image and reality embedded in the modern scientific enterprise. A unique history of science in eighteenth-century France, Science and Immortality illuminates the record in the loges of the professionalization of some sciences and the maturation of others, the recognition of their utility to society and the state, and the widening trust in science as the remedy to economic restriction and political absolutism. Paul's thorough catalog of the loges, extensive bibliography, and translations of representative loges make this book an essential source for scholars in the field. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1980.

Full Product Details

Author:   Charles B. Paul
Publisher:   University of California Press
Imprint:   University of California Press
Dimensions:   Width: 15.20cm , Height: 1.30cm , Length: 22.90cm
Weight:   0.318kg
ISBN:  

9780520304048


ISBN 10:   0520304047
Pages:   216
Publication Date:   08 March 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Professional & Vocational ,  General
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   Not yet available   Availability explained
This item is yet to be released. You can pre-order this item and we will dispatch it to you upon its release.

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At the time of original publication, Charles B. Paul was Professor in the Humanities Department at San Jose State University.

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