© 2002

E.A. Burtt, Historian and Philosopher

A Study of the author of The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science


Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 226)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Diane Davis Villemaire
    Pages 1-6
  3. Diane Davis Villemaire
    Pages 47-65
  4. Diane Davis Villemaire
    Pages 67-81
  5. Diane Davis Villemaire
    Pages 83-93
  6. Diane Davis Villemaire
    Pages 95-129
  7. Diane Davis Villemaire
    Pages 197-213
  8. Burtt, R. G. Collingwood
    Pages 215-232
  9. Diane Davis Villemaire
    Pages 233-245
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 247-299

About this book


Burtt's book, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science, is something of a puzzle within the context of twentieth-century intellectual history, especially American intellectual history. Burtt's pioneering study of the scientific revolution has proved to prophetic in its rejection of both scientism and positivism. Published in 1924, Burtt's book continues to be read in educated circles and remains both the rose and the thorn on university reading lists, raising skeptical questions about science methods and science knowledge just as it did seventy-five years ago.
This book examines Burtt's public, academic and personal life. From his politics of conscience after World War I on through the Cold War Burtt is shown to be a man of unparalleled integrity, whose relentless search for philosophic understanding drove his more quixotic philosophical quests and steered his personal life, including its tragic dimension, toward simple virtue.
The many who have been affected by The Metaphysical Foundations will be especially interested in this new perspective on the life and thought of its author. Those who have not read Burtt's books might be inspired to study this unusual American thinker.


cold war history of science metaphysics science scientific revolution

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title E.A. Burtt, Historian and Philosopher
  • Book Subtitle A Study of the author of The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science
  • Authors D. Villemaire
  • Series Title Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2002
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-4020-0428-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-90-481-5937-6
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-017-1331-3
  • Series ISSN 0068-0346
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages X, 300
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Science
    History, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site