Science works. The scientific enterprise is a remarkably efficient producer of understanding of nature. Nevertheless, despite the prevalent skepticism of the last half-century, historians and philosophers of science individually have not satisfactorily explained science’s success. They have therefore failed to justify its authoritative role in modern culture. I approach the justification of science by studying the history and philosophy of science in concert, analyzing the intellectual content of past science in its own context, particularly the Scientific Revolution. My research thus comprises philosophy of science and the history of early modern philosophy and science.

Science is at the heart of the modern human experience. The study of science should therefore be central to the humanistic attempt to know ourselves. Yet the study of science is lamentably marginal among humanists. All of my research, whatever it argues, aims to direct humanist attention to science.

Representing Space in the Scientific Revolution

A study of the changing representation of space that accompanied the birth of modern physics, Representing Space in the Scientific Revolution examines the move away from the spherical, Aristotelian cosmos toward the rectilinearly oriented universe of Newton and his successors. It addresses the fundamental conceptual and explanatory contributions of Copernicus, Gilbert, Kepler, Galileo, and Descartes, culminating in Newton’s synthesis. In doing so, this book offers a model of scientific change that vindicates the philosophical argument that conceptual frameworks are constitutive of scientific knowledge. It also demonstrates the utility of an integrated historical and philosophical approach in the humanistic study of science.

Representing Space is available from Cambridge University Press. Order here. Now in paperback!

Works in Progress

Essays about the emergence of scientific values (especially empiricism, mathematization, and mechanization) during the early modern period.

“Mathematization and the Quaestio de Certitudine Mathematicarum.”

"Astronomy." History and Philosophy of Science, 1450-1750, ed. Marius Stan (Bloomsbury).