The Scientific Revolution and the Historiography of Science
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The Scientific Revolution is the name given by historians of science to the period in European history when, arguably, the conceptual, methodological and institutional foundations of modern science were first established. The precise period in question varies from historian to historian, but the main focus is usually held to be the seventeenth century, with varying periods of scene-setting in the sixteenth and consolidation in the eighteenth. Similarly, the precise nature of the Revolution, its origins, causes, battlegrounds, and results vary markedly from author to author. Such flexibility of interpretation clearly indicates that the Scientific Revolution is primarily a historian’s conceptual category. But the fact that the notion of the Scientific Revolution is a term of convenience for historians does not mean that it is merely a figment of their imaginations with no basis in historical reality.
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