Socio-Political Coordinates of Early-Modern Mechanics: A Preliminary Discussion

  • Pietro D. OmodeoEmail author
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 270)


How does a cultural-political understanding of science integrate socio-economic treatments? How can a historiography that takes subjectivity into account avoid the pitfall of post-modern relativism? The history of mechanics is a paradigmatic field to use in answering these questions and, in fact, it has always been at the center of much political-epistemological skirmish. This chapter first recounts the main motives and features of early twentieth-century social accounts of science. Further, it deals with the issue of how the need for a non-reductionist treatment of intellectual history (neither economicist nor monocausal) calls for an integration of the economic context and the political element for a more appropriate understanding of scientific development.


Political epistemology Science and cultural hegemony Socio-political history of mechanics Marxist historiography of science Boris Hessen Henryk Grossman Edgar Zilsel Antonio Gramsci 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, ERC EarlyModernCosmologyVeniceItaly

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