The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument Over What Makes Living Things Tick (Hardback)
  • The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument Over What Makes Living Things Tick (Hardback)
zoom

The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument Over What Makes Living Things Tick (Hardback)

(author)
£30.00
Hardback 544 Pages / Published: 22/03/2016
  • We can order this

Usually dispatched within 4-6 weeks

  • This item has been added to your basket
Today, a scientific explanation is not meant to ascribe agency to natural phenomena: we would not say a rock falls because it seeks the center of the earth. Even for living things, in the natural sciences and often in the social sciences, the same is true. A modern botanist would not say that plants pursue sunlight. This has not always been the case, nor, perhaps, was it inevitable. Since the seventeenth century, many thinkers have made agency, in various forms, central to science. The Restless Clock examines the history of this principle, banning agency, in the life sciences. It also tells the story of dissenters embracing the opposite idea: that agency is essential to nature. The story begins with the automata of early modern Europe, as models for the new science of living things, and traces questions of science and agency through Descartes, Leibniz, Lamarck, and Darwin, among many others. Mechanist science, Jessica Riskin shows, had an associated theology: the argument from design, which found evidence for a designer in the mechanisms of nature. Rejecting such appeals to a supernatural God, the dissenters sought to naturalize agency rather than outsourcing it to a "divine engineer." Their model cast living things not as passive but as active, self-making machines. The conflict between passive- and active-mechanist approaches maintains a subterranean life in current science, shaping debates in fields such as evolutionary biology, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence. This history promises not only to inform such debates, but also our sense of the possibilities for what it means to engage in science-and even what it means to be alive.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226302928
Number of pages: 544
Weight: 907 g
Dimensions: 231 x 157 x 41 mm

You may also be interested in...

Naturalists in Paradise
Added to basket
The Hidden Angles of Life
Added to basket
Invasive Species
Added to basket
The Elements of Statistical Learning
Added to basket
The Systems View of Life
Added to basket
Practical Skills in Biology
Added to basket
Zoobiquity
Added to basket
Wetware
Added to basket
£16.00
Paperback
Successful Lab Reports
Added to basket
Communication Skills for the Biosciences
Added to basket
Politics of Nature
Added to basket
£27.95
Paperback
Water: A Very Short Introduction
Added to basket
Mathematics Of Life
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
The Music of Life
Added to basket
£8.99
Paperback
A New Science of Life
Added to basket

Reviews

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.