The Atom in the History of Human Thought

The Atom in the History of Human Thought

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Description

The concept of the atom is very near scientific bedrock, touching first causes, fundamental principles, our conception of the nature of reality. This book is a translation from the French of a history of atomic thought and theory, from ancient Greece to the present day. Pullman grounds his coverage of scientific theory always in the religious and philosophical context of the times, covering the whole period of Western civilization, including in passing the major scientific philosophies of the Muslim world and India. The transition of atomism from a philosophical position to an experimental science, in the mid-19th century, is well handled, and the coverage is nicely rounded out by a treatment of the first visual proof of atoms' material existence by direct microscopic imaging of individual atoms about 10 years ago.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 414 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 27.94mm | 703.06g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 24 line drawings, bibliography
  • 0195114477
  • 9780195114478

Table of contents

Preface; Part I: The Birth of Atomic Theory; Chapter 1: The Backdrop: The Greek Miracles; Chapter 2: The Foreground: "Arch1e," the Primordial Substance; Chapter 3: The Atomists' Entry onto the Stage; Chapter 4: A Very Particular Atomist: Plato; Chapter 5: The Antiatomists; Chapter 6: Principles and Primordial Substances; Chapter 7: Hindu Atomism; Part II: A Few Scattered Revivals during a Prolonged Suspension (first to fifteenth century); Chapter 8: Early Medieval Christianity vis-a-vis the Atoms; Chapter 9: The Medieval Christian Atomists; Chapter 10: Medieval Jewish Thought vis-a-vis the Atoms; Part III: From the Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment; Chapter 12: The Resurgence of the Atomic Theory: Christian Atomism; Chapter 13: The Christian Antiatomists; Chapter 14: Boscovitch, or Punctual Atomism; Chapter 15: Berkeley, or Atoms Dismissed; Chapter 16: Kant, an Atomist Turned Antiatomist; Chapter 17: The Rank and File of Atomists; Part IV: The Advent of Scientific Atomism: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries; Chapter 18: A Brief Overview; Chapter 19: The Nineteenth Century: In Search of the Invisible and Indivisible Atom; Chapter 20: The Twentieth Century: From an Invisible and Indivisible Atom to one that is Divisible and Visible; Provisional Epilogueshow more

About Bernard Pullman

Bernard Pullman was Professor of Quantum Chemistry at the Sorbonne and Director of the Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique. He died in 1996. Axel Reisinger is a Senior Principal Physicist at Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company. He lives in Amherst, New Hampshire.show more

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