Thorndike, Lynn. “L’Encyclopédie and
the History of Science.” Isis, vol. 6, no. 3, The University of Chicago Press, The History of Science Society, 1924, pp. 361–86. JSTOR,
Primarily focusing on the first seven volumes (published before the Encyclopédie’s suppression), Thorndike analyzes the treatment of various sciences and the place of the Encyclopédie in the history of science. Thorndike states that the Encyclopedists were well aware of the increasing interest in the sciences, specifically anatomy, physics, and new processes such as the scientific method; however, the history of scientific evolution is not well treated. Thorndike demonstrates that the Encyclopedists stress the importance of scientific antiquity (e.g. Hippocrates) but completely discredit almost all medieval science. However, there is an emphasis on the artisanal sciences, the mechanical arts, and even though it was often difficult to accurately describe these arts and to obtain accurate information from the artisans, it was agreed that the sciences were needed alongside the arts. Thorndike continues through various sciences and how they are represented but ultimately concludes although that overall the Encyclopedists relied on past science which has now been abandoned. The Encyclopédie can only be useful in this sense for a historian studying the scientific change over time.
Country of Publication: United States
Main Classification: Science
7/14/2020: Created page.