The Visual Tradition and the Closure of the Optical Revolution

  • Xiang Chen
Part of the Science and Philosophy book series (SCPH, volume 9)


This chapter examines how the optical revolution ended. The visual tradition played a critical role in bringing the optical revolution to a close, but not through settling the debate. With its emphasis upon the intrinsic role of the eye in optical experiments, the visual tradition nurtured a group of interdisciplinary researches within the field of optics, including physiological optics, photometry, photography and the making of so- called “philosophical toys.” Due to the proliferation of specializations around the mid nineteenth century, physical optics was no longer the central domain of optics, and both sides in the debate became apathetic about the question of the nature of light. The debate between the particle and the wave theory was not settled but became unimportant and insignificant to the members of the optical community, and closure of the “optical revolution” took the form of proliferation of disciplines.


Wave Theory Angular Distance Scientific Revolution Physical Optic Optical Instrument 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiang Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.California Lutheran UniversityUSA

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