2004
Volume 54, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2589-4617
  • E-ISSN: 2667-2081

Abstract

Abstract

This article discusses the uses and abuses of scientific knowledge by contemporary critics of the Enlightenment, a topic overlooked by historians of both science and the Enlightenment. It will focus on the reviews of scholarly works in the , edited by the catholic publicist François-Xavier de Feller between 1773 and 1794. Feller was a former Jesuit from the Southern Netherlands. In his various reviews in the field of natural history, biology, medical science, vulcanology and mineralogy, Feller fiercely criticized the new enlightened science he associated above all with Buffon, the ‘French Pliny’. Feller in particular decried the alleged arrogance of the Enlightenment and argued for the acceptance of wonder and the boundaries of scientific endeavors. Only scientific discoveries that were in line with catholic tradition would be of use to society. Although Feller ferociously attacked philosophy, his use of enlightened reasoning is evidence that he too was a product of the Enlightenment he so despised and feared.

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