Newton's Opticks as Classic: On Teaching the Texture of Science

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:258 - 265 (1994)
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Abstract

Using the example of Newton's Opticks, the author develops the concept of 'classic' as applied to landmark works in the history of the sciences. A discussion of themes drawn from H.-G. Gadamer and T. Kuhn is followed by an introduction of the notions of the texture and contexture of scientific works, conceived as the result of an author's weaving together foreground and background concerns. These notions assist in understanding how certain works can exercise a continuing appeal to both specialists and nonspecialists. The essay concludes with reflections on the pedagogical purpose of using classic scientific texts in university education.

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Dennis Sepper
University of Dallas

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