Summary of “Monsters, Marvels, and the Birth of Science”

Years later they expanded the study and in 1998 published the monumental history, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750.Nautilus called on Daston to learn how the unlikely in nature, strange and unexplainable occurrences, were viewed at the dawn of science.
In one early 17th century sermon in an English parish about the birth of conjoined twins, the minister harangued his parishioners not to treat this monstrous birth as a wonder to be gawked at and admired, but as a horrifying portent that they should repent immediately.
Could your revision of natural philosophy explain such things? This made monsters and wonders more prominent in the late 16th and early 17th centuries than they’ve ever been before or since in the history of science.
You’ve described this transitional period between pre-modern and modern science as “The great age of wonder.” What kinds of wonders were scientists finding?
Aristotle had said wonder is “The beginning of philosophy,” but the aim of his natural philosophy was to make wonder disappear as soon as possible.
“Dare to know” becomes a motto that natural philosophers are proud to make their own, and wonder goes from being a sign of ignorance to a desire for knowledge.
There’s a whole genre of natural history involving the marvels of insects, which is an attempt to domesticate the emotion of wonder for things we can explain.
In the epilogue of Wonders and the Order of Nature, you quote William James, the great philosopher and psychologist, who lived a century ago.

The orginal article.