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Artisan/Practitioners and the Rise of the New Sciences, 1400-1600

Pamela O. Long

The OSU Press Horning Visiting Scholars Publication Series

6 × 9 inches. Black & white illustrations. Bibliography. Index. 208 pages.

2011. ISBN 978-0-87071-609-6. Paperback, $22.95s.

This book provides the historical background for a central issue in the history of science: the influence of artisans, craftsmen, and other practitioners on the emergent empirical methodologies that characterized the “new sciences” of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Pamela Long offers a coherent account and critical revision of the “Zilsel thesis,” an influential etiological narrative that claims these craftsmen were instrumental in bringing about the “Scientific Revolution.”

Artisan/Practitioners reassesses the issue of artisanal influence from three different perspectives: the perceived relationships between art and nature; the Vitruvian architectural tradition with its appreciation of both theory and practice; and the development of “trading zones”—arenas in which artisans and learned men communicated in substantive ways. These complex social and intellectual developments, the book argues, underlay the development of the empirical sciences.

This volume provides new discussion and synthesis of a theory that encompasses broad developments in European history and study of the natural world. It will be a valuable resource for college-level teaching, and for scholars and others interested in the history of science, late medieval and early modern European history, and the Scientific Revolution.

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