By Denise Phillips
Although the various functional and highbrow traditions that make up sleek technological know-how date again centuries, the class of “science” itself is a relative novelty. within the early eighteenth century, the fashionable German be aware that might later suggest “science,” naturwissenschaft, used to be now not even incorporated in dictionaries. via 1850, notwithstanding, the time period was once in use in all places. Acolytes of Nature follows the emergence of this crucial new type inside German-speaking Europe, tracing its upward push from a trifling eighteenth-century neologism to a defining rallying cry of contemporary German culture.
Today’s proposal of a unified average technological know-how has been deemed an invention of the mid-nineteenth century. but what Denise Phillips unearths here's that the belief of naturwissenschaft acquired a favourite position in German public lifestyles numerous many years prior. Phillips uncovers the evolving outlines of the class of traditional technology and examines why Germans of assorted social station and highbrow commitments got here to discover this label necessary. An increasing schooling procedure, an more and more brilliant customer tradition and concrete social lifestyles, the early levels of industrialization, and the emergence of a liberal political stream all essentially altered the realm within which proficient Germans lived, and in addition reshaped the best way they categorized knowledge.
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Additional resources for Acolytes of nature : defining natural science in Germany, 1770-1850
47 Other nature-researching societies of the period had a similar range of interests. 48 Groups like the Physical-Economic Society in Königsberg (founded in 1789) represented an even more obvious intermediary between these two types of associations. 36 N AT U R A L K N O W L E D G E A N D T H E L E A R N E D P U B L I C Patriotic-economic societies, state academies, and private learned societies for natural research shared a common rhetoric of public-spirited (gemeinnützig) and patriotic service.
A taste for nature and a concern for utility were not opposing values in late eighteenthcentury Germany; indeed, they were not necessarily formally distinct. 26 A Naturkenner knew more about nature than other people did; he or 33 CHAPTER 1 she also had a special emotional, spiritual, and aesthetic relationship to the natural world. The enlightened natural researcher, in other words, was not “objective” in the modern sense (his successors in the ﬁrst half of the nineteenth century would not be either).
69 Schlosser’s commentary might seem to ﬁt easily into a familiar account of late eighteenth-century German cultural life. Through the prism of his negative satire, one might argue, we see traditional ideals of learnedness giving way to enlightened, cultivated ideals of taste. 70 In this reading, Schlosser would be the voice of a lost cause, mourning the demise of a fading world. But Schlosser might also be viewed through a different lens. A historian looking for the roots of the modern scientiﬁc community in the late eighteenth century might see him as prescient, not old-fashioned.
Acolytes of nature : defining natural science in Germany, 1770-1850 by Denise Phillips