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The Discoverers: A History of Man's Search to Know His World and Himself (1983)

di Daniel J. Boorstin

Altri autori: Vedi la sezione altri autori.

Serie: Boorstin's Histories (1)

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3,842362,334 (4.06)39
The obstacles to discovery - the illusions of knowledge - are also part of the story. In this work, Boorstin captures the illusions about the past - the earth before Columbus and Balboa, Magellan and Captain Cook, about the heavens before Copernicus and Galileo, about the human body before Paracelsus and Harvey, plants before Linnaeus, the past before Petrarch, wealth before Adam Smith, the physical world before Newton, Dalton, Faraday and Einstein. He asks unfamiliar questions: why didn't the Chinese discover Europe or America? Why did people take so long to learn that the earth goes around the sun?… (altro)
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» Vedi le 39 citazioni

Inglese (33)  Olandese (1)  Francese (1)  Spagnolo (1)  Tutte le lingue (36)
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At 684 densely printed pages, plus a further sixty for the author's notes and index, this is neither a light nor an easy read - but very well worthwhile. It was not till I'd finished that I read on to discover, inside the back cover, that Boorstin had been Librarian of Congress the last time I was able to visit that wondeful place, back in the 1980s. Plans to visit this Spring have been dashed by some pandemic - next year perhaps (2022).
Although the general thrust of 'discovery' (the long evolution of man's understanding of our world and ourselves) may be well known to most prospective readers, don't let this put you off - I defy anyone to read almost and chapter without discovering some new personality or some new insight.
And don't be so foolish as to assume that, published in 1983, the book is dated, Yes, of course, we've continued to learn many things about distant black holes, the inner space of atoms and the inner space of our own minds, but this book is about the journey - a journey that will never end. ( )
1 vota NaggedMan | Jan 26, 2021 |
McCall Book
  rondorn | Apr 13, 2020 |
For years this was one of those books in my collection that I would read a chapter that I was interested in then put down. Finally, I decided I was going to read everything that I hadn't read already. I did that as well as rereading quite a few chapters that I had already covered a few years ago. What a wonderful work of art this very lengthy book is! So many literary portraits of so many fascinating characters. I wish this would have been required reading when I took a history of science class in college (or at least parts of it). With the right guide, I would have come out better educated and perhaps chose a more interesting research project. The Discovers turns out to be an extremely engaging tour of the history of science in western civilization by the late erudite Daniel Boorstin. More accurately, it is a history of those who shaped our understanding of the world as we know and live it today. For instance, Columbus was not a scientist as we think of a scientist but his voyages cannot be separated from the development of the sciences of cartography, navigation and geography. While a popular history, The Discovers always draws the reader deeper in individual subjects rather than leading to a smug superficial knowledge. If I could provide one humble criticism it is that Boorstin, for all his reputation, is philosophically shallow. Such a lengthy treatise should ask some deeper questions about what we've lost in the pursuit of science. Everywhere, philosophical progress and theological collapse are assumed to be inseparable from the Western trajectory of scientific knowledge and advance. Nonetheless, the Discoverers is better than an encyclopedia because Boorstin is a master of narrative. Yet, it is also, I believe, purposefully non-encyclopedic in its breadth. It ends with Faraday and Maxwell and only alludes to the 20th c. atomic scientists and says nothing about the moon landing. Is the anticlimactic ending to the book the point? There is no climax to the pursuit of knowledge. ( )
  riskedom | Dec 17, 2019 |
A large volume from a used bookstore full of historical connections of not only those who sailed off to find the west and create science but also the development of key ideas and the people (often unheard of by me) and the events that allowed for the eventual fruition science. I read this over a year during nights while working away. ( )
  JBreedlove | Mar 23, 2019 |
> Copernic, Einstein, Galilée, Christophe Colomb, Newton, Kepler, Marx, Freud... Autant d'individus exceptionnels qui ont, avant les autres, soulevé un coin du voile de l'inconnu. À travers de passionnantes biographies écrites sur un ton très personnel, l'auteur propose rien de moins qu'une histoire de la découverte du monde de l'Antiquité à nos jours. En quatre livres - le temps, la terre et les mers, la nature et la société -, il passe de l'astrologie chinoise à la découverte de l'Amérique par les Vikings, et de l'exploration de l'Univers à celle du corps humain. Cette histoire - jamais achevée - de la curiosité humaine est aussi celle du courage et de l'inextinguible désir de nouveauté qui caractérise l'homo sapiens sapiens. Un grand classique, doté d'une bibliographie et d'un index très complets qui en font une excellente introduction à l'histoire des sciences et des grandes découvertes. --Arthur Hennessy - Amazon.fr
  Joop-le-philosophe | Jan 24, 2019 |
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Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Daniel J. Boorstinautore primariotutte le edizionicalcolato
Aulicino, RobertProgetto della copertinaautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
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And take upon 's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies.

Shakespeare, King Lear, v. 3
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Nay, the same Soloman the king, although he excelled in the glory of treasure and magnificent buildings, of shipping and navigation, of service and attendance, of fame and renown, and the like, yet he maketh no claim to any of these glories, but only to the glory of inquisition of truth; for so he saith expressly, "The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to find it out"; as if, according to the innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his works, to the end to have them found out; and as if kings could not obtain a greater honor than to be God's play-fellows in that game.

Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (1605)
Time is the greatest innovator.

Francis Bacon, "Of Innovations" (1625)

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God did not create the planets and stars with the intention that they should dominate man, but that they, like other creatures, should obey and serve him. Paracelsus, Concerning the Nature of Things (c. 1541) (Book One, Part One)
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The obstacles to discovery - the illusions of knowledge - are also part of the story. In this work, Boorstin captures the illusions about the past - the earth before Columbus and Balboa, Magellan and Captain Cook, about the heavens before Copernicus and Galileo, about the human body before Paracelsus and Harvey, plants before Linnaeus, the past before Petrarch, wealth before Adam Smith, the physical world before Newton, Dalton, Faraday and Einstein. He asks unfamiliar questions: why didn't the Chinese discover Europe or America? Why did people take so long to learn that the earth goes around the sun?

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