Collected Works of William Whewell, Volume 7

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Thoemmes, Apr 15, 2001 - Science - 7840 pages
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'Whewell was one of the last great polymaths, whose insights in the philosophy of science are still being appreciated. From mineralogy to morality, from mathematics to natural theology his intellectual trajectory is full of interest. A most absorbing and welcome collection.'
--Professor John Brooke

This sixteen-volume Collected Works brings together for the first time the best editions of William Whewell's principal writings. Whewell (1794--1886) was largely responsible for inventing the modern disciplines of the history and philosophy of science. He coined scientific terminology such as 'anode' and 'cathode', introduced the term 'physicist', and gave a name to those who study the natural world: 'scientist'. He was one of the last great Victorian polymaths, and this, the only modern edition of his major works, illustrates the diversity of his writing.

This important collection contains two of Whewell's greatest and most well-known works: History of the Inductive Sciences and its sequel The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, which established Whewell as one of the leading philosophers of science. The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences ranks alongside John Stuart Mill's System of Logic (1843) and Herschel's Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1831) as one of the masterpieces of Victorian philosophy of science. In addition to these key works on the history and philosophy of science, volumes on scientific research, physics, mathematics, ethics, law, university education, natural theology, church architecture and political economy, are all included here.

Many of Whewell's books went through numerous editions, and the best editions, many rare and unavailable to the modern reader, are present here, giving scholars the unique opportunity to study Whewell's chronological development on a diverse range of subjects. An elaborate bibliographical account in Todhunter's two-volume biography provides the reader with information on the various editions. With an extensive introduction by Richard Yeo, this is an indispensable collection for any study of the history and philosophy of science.

--first ever collected works of a pivotal figure in Victorian science
--contains the best editions of Whewell's major writings
--extensive new introduction


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About the author (2001)

Born the son of a builder in Lancaster, England, William Whewell soon revealed his intellectual gifts, which opened the doors to an education at Trinity College, Cambridge University. Whewell is remembered chiefly for having been an extraordinary polymath. His earliest studies were in mathematics, with his first publications being two very successful textbooks on mechanics. In 1826 he was ordained a priest and two years later became professor of mineralogy at Trinity. In a few short years he revolutionized British crystallography with the introduction of a new system of nomenclature and taxonomy. At the same time he was writing a work on the architecture of German churches; he soon resigned the professorship to continue his architectural studies. Whewell next turned to astronomy, natural theology, and a mathematical study of the tides. In 1837 he published his History of the Inductive Sciences, which served as the foundation for his magnum opus, The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840). This work is strikingly modern in its insistence that the philosophy of science be sensitive to the history of science, but Whewell's Kantianism and the religious setting of his philosophy of science may strike the modern reader as somewhat anachronistic. Whewell's later works included a book arguing for the likelihood of extraterrestial life, translations of Plato (see also Vol. 3) and of various poets, and several works on moral philosophy, most notably the Elements of Morality Including Polity (1845). In 1838 he became professor of moral philosophy at Trinity College. He soon resigned his second professorship and in 1841 was made master of Trinity.

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