Chapter

Introduction: Sensibility and Enlightenment Science

in Science in the Age of Sensibility

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780226720784
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226720852 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226720852.003.0001
Introduction: Sensibility and Enlightenment Science

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Historians have been learning that modern scientific empiricism, despite its claims to straightforwardness and neutrality, hides a baroque past. This book explores that past, mapping a new area, that of sentiment. The sentimental element of the history of empiricism has in common with its erotic, monstrous, and polite elements a single ideal: receptiveness to a world outside the mind, a world that imposed its claims through the senses. The book examines an instance of the ideals of sensibility at work in eighteenth-century French science. These instances represent the ramifications of sentimental empiricism for the various branches of natural and moral science, their relations to one another, and their applications to political administration, reform, and revolution.

Keywords: sensibility; scientific empiricism; Enlightenment; French science; sentimental empiricism; political administration; revolution

Chapter.  8293 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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