Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Labor, Science, Adamic Innocence

Jutta sends along a review of a substantial new book about early modern ways of thinking about science, labor, and the public sphere. Labors of Innocence in Early Modern England by Joanna Picciotto is about
"the fertile conjunction between literature and science as it developed in seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century England, offering new discussions on the ideas and texts of authors such as Francis Bacon, Gerrard Winstanley, John Evelyn, Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke, Thomas Sprat, Andrew Marvell, William Davenant, John Locke, Daniel Defoe, Joseph Addison, Celia Fiennes, and above all John Milton."
In the Renaissance vision of an unfallen Adam Picciotto finds the roots of a labor that leads to the producing of truth in a disinterested way, which in turn becomes a model for benign experimentalism in modern science, according to the review. More here.

Such a view would seem congruent with the vision of man in nature that emerges in Book 5 of Paradise Lost. In the garden, Adam and Eve are rooted deeply in a natural world whose order the human mind can labor to comprehend, cultivate, and master.

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