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Free Will and the Human Sciences in Britain, 1870-1910

Roger Smith (author)

ISBN: 9780822964766

Publication Date: Nov 2016

Format: Paperback

From the late nineteenth century onwards religion gave way to science as the dominant force in society. This led to a questioning of the principle of free will. Smith takes an in-depth look at the problem of free will through the prism of different disciplines. His subtly nuanced navigation through these arguments has much to contribute to our understanding of Victorian and Edwardian science and culture.
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From the late nineteenth century onwards religion gave way to science as the dominant force in society. This led to a questioning of the principle of free will-if the workings of the human mind could be reduced to purely physiological explanations, then what place was there for human agency and self-improvement?

Smith takes an in-depth look at the problem of free will through the prism of different disciplines. Physiology, psychology, philosophy, evolutionary theory, ethics, history and sociology all played a part in the debates that took place. His subtly nuanced navigation through these arguments has much to contribute to our understanding of Victorian and Edwardian science and culture, as well as having relevance to current debates on the role of genes in determining behaviour.

Reviews

Confirms Smith's truly remarkable breadth of knowledge, power of synthesis, and ability to use different historiographical and stylistic registers to convey a message that matters to many of us. Here is a historian who has shown that 'history' itself does, indeed, matter." - -Isis
Language English
Pages 288
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Nov 2016
Publisher University of Pittsburgh Press
Series Science & Culture in the Nineteenth Century
Subject/s Ethics & moral philosophy   Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900   Philosophy of mind   Sociology   History of science   Self-help & personal development   Popular philosophy  
Roger Smith is Emeritus Reader in the History of Science, Lancaster University.

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