This extended new edition offers a multifaceted insight into a period of intellectual history in the West in which the balance between speculative theories and experiential science was reset. As is well known, the interrelationship between philosophy and science underwent a profound change in the early modern period, in the course of which the sciences freed themselves from the conceptual framework of traditional metaphysics. The contributions of the volume focus on the eighteenth century, the critical and quite contradictory final phase of this process.
The volume distinguishes itself by tracing this transition process not only in the obvious case of the new mechanics - Newtonianism and analytic mechanics - but also by addressing new speculative philosophies of nature - early modern atomism or imponderable physics - and new metaphysical controversies such as the body-mind problem (Can matter think?) as well as developments in special scientific fields such as cosmology/astronomy and natural history.
The volume is written by historians of philosophy and the sciences of the early modern period and is intended primarily for specialists and students in these fields of knowledge. However, it is certainly also interesting and useful for cultural historians working on this period.