June Books 7) Science, Culture and Modern State Formation

7) Science, Culture and Modern State Formation, by Patrick Carroll

Was sent this book for review by a history of science journal, which will be my first endeavour in that field for some time.

It’s a very grand intellectual scheme, connecting the growth of science with the growth of the state, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries. In particular, the author writes of “engine science”, using scopes, meters, graphs and chambers to investigate and dominate the natural world, and links this scientific enterprise to the state’s growing control of its territory. What’s particularly interesting is that he uses Ireland as his worked example – and in particular calls attention to William Petty for his innovations in bringing science into statecraft.

I was convinced. I’m not as familiar with the field as I used to be, but I think this is a major book with some fascinating general ideas and some equally fascinating revelations about the science/state nexus in Ireland.

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