Phys. Perspect. 20 (2018) 159–162 2018 Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 1422-6944/18/010159-4 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00016-018-0218-y Physics in Perspective Matthew Stanley, Huxley’s Church and Maxwell’s Demon: From Theistic Science to Naturalistic Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015, 336 pages, $45 (cloth). James R. Hofmann* Matthew Stanley has made an interesting contribution to the extensive literature on the Victorian scientists and public intellectuals who historians often refer to as scientiﬁc naturalists. During the nineteenth century, the label ‘‘scientiﬁc natural- ism’’ was gradually adopted to denote a conception of science in which any references to supernatural entities or processes were explicitly excluded. Those who advocated this view included Thomas Huxley, John Tyndall, Herbert Spen- cer, William Clifford, Leslie Stephen, Joseph Hooker, and, less publicly, Charles Darwin. Their aggressive argumentation met resistance from those who espoused what Stanley terms ‘‘theistic science,’’ a more established school of thought he describes as ‘‘the tradition of practicing science in close embrace with Christianity’’ (3–4). This group included such inﬂuential physicists as George Gabriel Stokes, William Thomson, James Clerk Maxwell, and Peter Guthrie Tait. Maxwell serves as Stanley’s paradigmatic example of a theistic scientist just as Huxley ﬁlls the role of scientiﬁc naturalist. Nineteenth-century theistic
Physics in Perspective – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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