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李文靖:1660——1850年英国科学的建制化

摘要

  近代以来,科学不仅是人们头脑中一种分类精细、推理严密的知识信息,一系列借助工具的分解、测试和比对操作步骤,也是现代社会无处不在的生产、累积、传播和应用这类知识的实践活动。组织有序、规模庞大的科研机构,层级分明、分布广泛的教育体系,工业生产必不可少的创新与开发环节以及现代化国家竞相采用的政府开发利用和管理控制手段等都属于这类实践或其载体。近代科学由早期少数精英的个人兴趣爱好逐渐演变为现代社会经济的一种基本结构,这一历史过程是科学的“建制化”或者“体制化”。本文追溯与分析英国自17世纪60年代伦敦皇家学会成立至19世纪50年代政府科研基金首度发放近两百年间科学的建制化过程,旨在揭示英国这一近代科学策源地在科学建制化的早期阶段所表现出的复杂性与特殊性,同时进一步理解科学建制化作为一种普遍的现代历史现象所具有的实质性内涵。

  本文分为五个部分:第一部分论述近代早期欧洲新知识潮流的兴起,说明与新知识相联系的经验主义方法论、实用主义知识观以及知识的公共性本质,解读培根对于科学组织的乌托邦式描述;第二部分叙述16世纪末至17世纪60年代科学人的结盟与合作,即分散的兴趣小团体发展成为英国第一所正式的科学机构——伦敦皇家学会;第三部分分析17世纪60年代至18世纪50年代皇家学会这一新兴科学组织的状况与特点,说明该学会既是科学机构、又是上层人士俱乐部,这种双重性为学会在机构定位、人员结构和资金来源等方面带来一定的矛盾与困难;第四部分选取王朝复辟、殖民扩张以及18世纪70年代末北美独立战争背景下的典型事例来考察科学组织与国家权力之间的复杂互动关系;第五部分论述18世纪80年代至19世纪50年代工业革命时期科学的社会化过程,讨论科学文化的传播、科学知识的分化、科学的反精英趋向以及公共科学的形成。其中,第一、二、四、五部分讨论英国早期科学建制化的内涵,第三部分考察其特殊性。

  本文认为:科学建制化是科学通过组织化、政治化和社会化的途径逐步展开和实现其知识公共性的历史过程,而英国科学建制化的早期阶段始终贯穿着私人资助与政府投资、业余传统与职业化,以及上层人士俱乐部与公共科学组织之间的矛盾。

  关键词:科学建制化 伦敦皇家学会 科学组织 工业革命 科学史

Abstract

  Science is not only a sort of classified, rigorous and comprehensive knowledge or a series of operations of analysis, test and comparison with the aid of tools, but is also the practice omnipresent in the modern society, through which the knowledge is produced, accumulated and applied. We see the large-scale, disciplined research institutions, the hierarchical and broad range of educational system, the indispensable procedure of R&D in the industrial production and the governance employed by the modernized nations. Science has transformed from an avocation that entertained a few elite intellectuals to the fundamental structure and dominant cultural factor of modern society. The historical process is the institutionalization of science. This study explores tentatively how science was institutionalized in Britain from the 1660s when the Royal Society of London was created to the 1850s when the government scientific grant was set up for the first time. The object of the study is to identify the particularity and represent the complexity of the early stage of the institutionalization of science in its birth place. Meanwhile, this study seeks a better understanding of the nature of the institutionalization of science in general.

  Part one, which treats the new trend of knowledge rising in the early modern period of time, considers its epistemology, values of knowledge and the nature of publicity. Bacon's utopian account of a scientific organization is analyzed. Part two, dealing with the period from the end of the 16th century to the 1660s, examines how the men of science pursued for Baconian ideal and took their initiative to cooperate with each other. The scattered like—minded groups turned into the Royal Society of London, the first formal scientific institution in Britain. The theme of Part Three is the situation and features of the early Royal Society. The dual trait of the new scientific institution, as both a scientific organization and a club of gentlemen, caused tensions in its orientation, membership and patronage. Part Four treats the reciprocal interplay between the scientific organizations and the national power. The exemplary events are related that occurred in the British Civil War, the period of colonial expansion and the American War of Independence in the late 1770s. Part Five, addressing socialization of science during the Industrial Revolution, depicts the scientific culture, the ramification of scientific knowledge,the trend of the decentralization and the appearance of public science from the 1780s to the 1850s.

  The study comes to conclusions that:the first, the institutionalization of science means that science reveals and realizes its publicity through its organization, politicization and socialization, the second, such a historical process in Britain was permeated with the tensions between the private patronage and the governmental grant, the amateurism and the trend of professionalization and the club of gentlemen and the public organizations of science.

  Keywords: Institutionalization of Science, Royal Society of London, Scientific Organizations, Industrial Revolution, History of Science