Talk:Richard S. Westfall

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List of works[edit]

Based on research done in 1950-1952, this was an important contribution at the time when it was first published. The young Westfall writes loosely within the tradition of W.E. H. Lecky, Andrew White, and Franklin Baumer. In the thought of the seventeenth-century English virtuosi, Westfall emphasizes what he sees as the ultimate conflict between science and religion and what he sees as the superficial harmony attributed to them. In his running commentary on the seventeenth-century writers, he treats the proposed reconciliations between science and religion not only as superficial, but as artifiicial, arbitrary, weak, inconsistent and failed. He sees no influence of religion on the rise of modern science and postulates a negative influence of science on Christianity. Philosophical and theological topics which he discusses include: God as creator, providence, miracles, and natural law; reason and faith/revelation; natural theology; the mechanical philosophy; materialism; atomism; deism; and atheism. Even in his early work, Westfall includes an impressively borad selection of seventeenth-century natural philosophers and uses primary sources extensively. Westfall's early book has been superseded by the works of Force, Klaaren, and Popkin--and to a certain extent, by the later Westfall. The second edtion is unchanged from the first, except for a new preface in which Westfall defends a few of his most questionable theses from the first edition.[1]

  • Although Richard Westfall's work as a whole garners first-rate respect from other historians, I'm 95% sure that most familiar with his work considered the young Westfall to have naively propogated some of the Whiggish trends prevalent in the history of science during his early career. --Firefly322 (talk) 21:39, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

most important man of western civilization[edit]

"Despite these personal faults, Westfall ranked Newton as the most important man in the history of western European civilization." <- What is the source for this? Couldn't find such a statement in "Never at rest" nor anywhere else in Westfall's books.-- (talk) 10:49, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

  1. ^ Science and Religion in the English Speaking World, 1600-1727 A Biliographic Guide to the Secondary Literature, Richard S. Boorks & David K. Himrod, Scarecrow Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8108-4011-1, pp. 201-203