Anderson, Wilda. “Optics and the
Illusion of Empiricism in the Encyclopédie.” MLN, vol.126, no. 4, 2011, pp. 869–88, 933, https://www.jstor.org/stable/41300848.
Anderson, in this article on optics in the Encyclopédie, is surprised to note a lack of influence from Isaac Newton and aims to demonstrate that the Encyclopedists (at least those who wrote articles on optics and vision) were not completely devoted to empiricism. Anderson describes Newton's theories on optics and the scientific method and proceeds to compare them with the articles found in the Encyclopédie. With extensive quotes and analysis of cross-references, the definitions of empirical and optic-related words are read closely in an attempt to determine when and where they deviate from Newton's ideas. Anderson also discusses what those differences mean in the context of the Enlightenment and how they can represent a different form of enlightened reasoning.
Country of Publication: United States
Main Classification: Optics, Empiricism
1. The article provides a few plates from Newton's works on optics.
2. Anderson creates word web diagrams mapping out cross-references in the Encyclopédie that relate to empiricism, observation, and optics.
3. This article describes Newton's scientific theories with advanced vocabulary; while the argument can be understood without comprehension of physics and optics, some of the specific theories and arguments are difficult to understand without.
7/7/2020: Created page.