A Theology of Nature

  • Geoffrey Cantor


Although Faraday’s early biographers emphasised his empiricism, historians of science have more recently sought to understand Faraday in terms of his theoretical commitments and have argued that his success resulted from his rich and insightful use of theoretical constructs such as the lines of force which he conceived permeating space. If this latter approach undervalues his commitment to detailed empirical research, and especially his sophisticated use of experiment, it also often minimises the importance of metaphysical presuppositions in Faraday’s thought. However, Faraday’s presuppositions have recently begun to receive the attention they deserve, particularly in the writings of David Gooding, who has argued that Faraday’s science was crucially dependent on a number of metaphysical assumptions which both directed and constrained his research. Furthermore, Gooding claims that these assumptions (a number of which will be discussed below) were theological in origin.1


Physical World Material Body Early Nineteenth Century Chemical Affinity Force Conservation 
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© Geoffrey N. Cantor 1991

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  • Geoffrey Cantor

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