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The Emergence of a Scientific CultureScience and the Shaping of Modernity 1210-1685$
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Stephen Gaukroger

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296446

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296446.001.0001

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The Unity of Knowledge

The Unity of Knowledge

(p.455) 12 The Unity of Knowledge
The Emergence of a Scientific Culture

Stephen Gaukroger (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

One of the driving ideas behind many of the various movements in 17th-century natural philosophy was that of the unity of knowledge. There were two principal ways of establishing this in its most general form. The first was politico-theology: Spinoza undermined the claims of Christianity to supply satisfactory notions of wisdom and happiness, and to set out to develop a novel account of how a mechanised natural philosophy can lead to wisdom and happiness. The general unqualified rejection of the Spinozean model does not mean that in a struggle between legitimacy, which the Spinozean conception effectively abandoned, and autonomy, which it established beyond doubt, natural philosophers favoured legitimacy over autonomy. They wanted both, and the answer was deemed to lie in physico-theology: revelation and natural philosophy were treated as being mutually reinforcing, there being a process of triangulation towards the shared truth of revelation and natural philosophy.

Keywords:   physico-theology, politico-theology, natural philosophy, revelation, Baruch Spinoza, triangulation

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