In this historiographical study of the Scientific Revolution, the author examines the body of work on the intellectual, social and cultural origins of early modern science. Cohen critically surveys a wide range of scholarship since the 19th century, offering new perspectives on how the Scientific Revolution changed forever the way we understand the natural world and our place in it. Cohen's discussions range from scholarly interpretations of Galileo, Kepler and Newton, to the question of why the Scientific Revolution took place in 17th-century Western Europe, rather than in ancient Greece, China or the Islamic world. Cohen contends that the emergence of early modern science was essential to the rise of the modern world, in the way it fostered advances in technology.
Part 1 Defining the Nature of the Scientific Revolution: The Great Tradition - Concepts and approaches in studying the Scientific Revolution; The New Science in a Wider Setting - The cultural, social and historical context of the new science. Part 2 The Search for Causes of the Scientific Revolution: The Emergence of Early Modern Science from Previous Western Thought on Nature - Why the Scientific Revolution did not take place in Ancient Greece and how early modern science emerged from Renaissance thought; The Emergence of Early Modern Science from Events in the History of Western Europe; the Nonemergence of Early Modern Science Outside Western Europe. Part 3 Summary and Conclusions: the Scientific Revolution - 50 Years in the Life of a Concept; the Structure of the Scientific Revolution.