Science and Technology in World History, Volume 4

The Origin of Chemistry, the Principle of Progress, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution


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About the Book

The history of science is a story of human discovery—intertwined with religion, philosophy, economics and technology. The fourth in a series, this book covers the beginnings of the modern world, when 16th-century Europeans began to realize that their scientific achievements surpassed those of the Greeks and Romans. Western Civilization organized itself around the idea that human technological and moral progress was achievable and desirable. Science emerged in 17th-century Europe as scholars subordinated reason to empiricism.
Inspired by the example of physics, men like Robert Boyle began the process of changing alchemy into the exact science of chemistry. During the 18th century, European society became more secular and tolerant. Philosophers and economists developed many of the ideas underpinning modern social theories and economic policies. As the Industrial Revolution fundamentally transformed the world by increasing productivity, people became more affluent, better educated and urbanized, and the world entered an era of unprecedented prosperity and progress.

About the Author(s)

David Deming is a professor of Arts & Sciences at the University of Oklahoma. A geophysicist, research scientist and historian, he has written on topics ranging from the history of science to climate change and energy resources.

Bibliographic Details

David Deming
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 340
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9403-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2504-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1

1. From Alchemy to Chemistry 3

Prehistorical Chemical Technology 3

Chemistry of the Greeks and Romans 20

Nature of Alchemy 31

Alexandrian Alchemists 36

Alchemy and Chemical Technology in China 43

Islamic and Arabic Alchemists 47

Alchemy in Europe 53

Decline of Alchemy 65

Jan Baptist Van Helmont 71

Robert Boyle 82

Antoine Lavoisier 104

2. The Principle of Progress 120

Progress as Eidos 120

Greek and Roman Conceptions of History 120

Doctrine of Divine Providence 124

Doctrine of Decay 127

Anticipations of Progress in the 16th and 17th Centuries 128

3. The Enlightenment 138

Age of Reason 138

John Locke 139

Pierre Bayle 145

Voltaire 168

Montesquieu 171

Apostles of Progress 173

David Hume 176

Jeremy Bentham and Utilitarianism 191

Social and Economic Theories 194

The Encyclopédie 206

The Noble Savage 216

4. The Industrial Revolution 226

A Fundamental Transformation 226

Conditions in Europe Prior to the Industrial Revolution 227

The Agricultural Revolution 233

Improvements in Transportation 237

Why England? 238

Synergy, Science, and the Steam Engine 243

Child Labor 249

Post-Mortem 255

Conclusion 259

Chapter Notes 261

Bibliography 308

Index 322