Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Start Here...

I am preparing a "plan" for the society, and shall post it in the next days. But in the meantime, let us proceed with some preliminary requirements.

Clearly, if we are to study Duhem, Jaki, the history of science and all related topics, we shall need to start with a reading list.

But for some of us, the French of Duhem is inaccessible, even if our library happens to have his works. Moreover, it is almost as difficult to indicate a good starting point in Jaki's many books as it would be to indicate the starting point for Chesterton. One of my initial plans is to give brief summary/reviews of Jaki's books here; most of them are in print and available from Real View Books. Chestertonians will find that Jaki's Chesterton a Seer of Science is a good and short introduction though obviously focussed on GKC, but as yet there is no short introduction to the massive collection of Jaki's work as Dale Ahlquist has provided to Chesterton's.

Moreover, as I think about this matter, I realize that scientists of various kinds are reading this - of different faiths as well as different fields of work - and they will wonder why do this at all? Or "Shouldn't we be doing science, not reading literature or history or philosophy?" All this I shall attempt to answer.

But for today, I shall begin with a brief list of books, and will try to deal with these other matters as time permits.

Some Books by Stanley Jaki

1. Uneasy Genius: The Life and Work of Pierre Duhem (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1984), xii + 472pp. This is an introduction to his life and work.
2. The Physicist As Artist: The Landscapes of Pierre Duhem (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1988), 188pp quarto (Introduction with 235 illustrations in half tone and ten color plates). A sampling of his wonderful art.
3. Pierre Duhem: Scientist and Catholic (Front Royal, Va.: Christendom Press, 1991), 204pp. A study of the philosophical and theological aspects of his work; a number of important items by Duhem are included.
4. Reluctant Heroine: The Life and Work of Hélène Duhem (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1992), 335pp (with illustrations). A life of Duhem's only daughter, who heroically brought her father's masterwork to complete publication.
5. A Mind's Matter: An Intellectual Autobiography, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans), xiv + 309pp; with a full list of the author's publications (pp. 259-309).

Some Books by Pierre Duhem (in English):

1. To Save the Phenomena: An Essay on the Idea of Physical Theory from Plato to
, trans. E. Doland and C. Maschler (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969). This edition has an introductory essay by Jaki.
2. Medieval Cosmology: Theories of Infinity, Place, Time, Void and the Plurality of Worlds, R. Ariew (ed. and trans.), (Chicago: University Press, 1985), pp. xi-xviii. This edition has an introductory essay by Jaki; the translation is a portion of Duhem's Système du monde.
3. The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory, with a foreword by Prince Louis de Broglie; translated by Philip P. Wiener (Princeton: Princeton University Press), xxii + 344pp.

Some Books by Pierre Duhem (in French):

1. Le systéme du monde, 10 vols (Paris: Hermann; various dates).
2. Etudes sur Léonard de Vinci, 3 vols (nouveau tirage, Paris: F. De Nobile).

(Yes, as you may have surmised, one of our major projects will be to produce English translations of the Duhem works.)

A couple of notes:
1. Citations for the Jaki books are from his A Mind's Matter: an Intellectual Autobiography; citations for the Duhem books from Uneasy Genius.

2. I have already received several e-mails for membership; thank you! I hope to respond shortly; this is a very busy moment.


The Heresy Hunter said...

I humbly submit my article "The Origins of Science" as a possible qualifier for entry into The Duhem Society:


Dr. Thursday said...

Thanks, THH, for this submission, but lest you or anyone wonder, there is no requirement of an entrance essay - at least not yet - but I am rather opposed to such things. (For now I defer comment on your submission, without any implied criticism or approval. It's still a bit early for for getting into specifics.)

With regard to entrance requirements of any kind, I think our members are those that are interested and willing to work as necessary, whether to understand, to write, or to study... In keeping with bloggs, with books, and indeed with the whole concept of scholarship, there will be those who are active members though they never register formally. They can help by prayer if by no other means, of writing, of comment, or of contributions of material forms.

Once there is a formal structure, we may need some finances, especially since we are going to have publications. But that will be for the future.