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Utopianism and the Sciences, 1880-1930


Editors:  Vermeer L., Kemperink M.

Year: 2010
ISBN: 978-90-429-2298-3
Pages: XXII-204 p.
Price: 48 EURO

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This volume focuses on the relationship between utopianism and the sciences in the period from 1880 to 1930. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Europe and the United States experienced a mushrooming desire for a more beautiful, happier world. During the nineteenth century, the older 'classic' utopianism of Plato and More started to develop into so-called 'modern' utopianism: ideas that used to be considered mere thought experiments were developing into programmes that could in fact be realised in time. The proposed societal ideal thus needed to be supported by convincing and preferably scientific arguments, particularly at a time when, despite all the criticism, people still kept faith in science.
Science was thus strongly embraced by those engaged in theory formation, sociopolitical debate and artistic expression, all of which were directed at supporting the ideal of a better future. The contributions to this book demonstrate how scientific discoveries such as electricity and the X-ray, as well as scientific theories in the fields of physics, mathematics, biology, the medical sciences, sociology and even linguistics, were used to substantiate, illustrate and realise the future utopia.
This volume is the result of recent interdisciplinary research in the fascinating field of utopian sciences and scientific utopias.

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