The Unity of Natural Philosophy and the End of Scientia

Stephen Gaukroger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The dominant model of the unity of natural philosophy in the Middle Ages, namely scientia, collapsed in the early modern era, and the unity of natural philosophy was rethought in the seventeenth century in terms of a reductionist and foundationalist notion of common causation. I want to argue that, if we can identify the reasons for the collapse of the notion of scientia, then we can get a better sense of what was demanded of its successors, and that this will help us in understanding the subordination of all cognitive values to scientific ones so distinctive of the modern era.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScientia in Early Modern Philosophy
Subtitle of host publicationSeventeenth-Century Thinkers on Demonstrative Knowledge from First Principles
EditorsTom Sorell, G A J Rogers, Jill Kraye
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)904813076X , 978-9048130764
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameStudies in History and Philosophy of Science
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media


  • Seventeenth Century
  • Natural Philosopher
  • Secondary Quality
  • Theoretical Science
  • Macroscopic World


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