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The Age of Genius


The Age of Genius
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The Age of Genius: The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind

 A. C. Grayling

ISBN 9781408870389

What happened to the European mind between 1605, when an audience watching Macbeth at the Globe might believe that regicide was such an aberration of the natural order that ghosts could burst from the ground, and 1649, when a large crowd, perhaps including some who had seen Macbeth forty-four years earlier, could stand and watch the execution of a king? Or consider the difference between a magus casting a star chart and the day in 1639, when Jonathan Horrock and William Crabtree watched the transit of Venus across the face of the sun from their attic, successfully testing its course against Kepler's Tables of Planetary Motion, in a classic case of confirming a scientific theory by empirical testing.

In this turbulent period, science moved from the alchemy and astrology of John Dee to the painstaking observation and astronomy of Galileo. 

From the classicism of Aristotle still favoured by the Church, to the evidence-based, collegiate investigation of Francis Bacon. And if the old ways still lingered and affected the new mind set - Descartes’ dualism an attempt to square the new philosophy with religious belief; Newton, the man who understood gravity and the laws of motion, still fascinated to the end of his life by alchemy - by the end of that tumultuous century 'the greatest ever change in the mental outlook of humanity' had irrevocably taken place.




The Author

AC GraylingA. C. Grayling is Master of the New College of the Humanities, UK. He has written and edited numerous works of philosophy and is the author of biographies of Descartes and William Hazlitt. He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society. He has been a regular contributor to The TimesFinancial TimesObserverIndependent on SundayEconomistLiterary ReviewNew Statesman and Prospect, and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programmes, including NewsnightTodayIn Our TimeStart the Week and CNN news. He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, and advises on many committees ranging from Drug Testing at Work to human rights groups. 




Reviews, News & Interviews:

Britain's most eminent publicly engaged philosopher.  -Scotland on Sunday

Grayling is particularly good at illuminating the knottiness of moral discourse. -Sunday Times