Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud
A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud
Peter Watson has an enviable ability to synthesize large ideas and bring them down to human scale. From the cosmic (the belief in paradise) to the particular (the invention of plus and minus signs in math)-Ideas: A History explores the origins of such subjects and how they came into use thus presenting a unique narrative of our past, until 1900. Unlike more conventional histories, where the focus is on political events and personalities, on wars, treaties and elections, this book concentrates on the ideas that have made history so rich, rewarding and provocative. It asks and answers such questions as: When was the musical stave introduced and what was the first language? Who discovered that all life is made up of cells, and who conceived the idea of opera? Who first realized that the world is much older than it says in the bible and what led Freud to his discovery of the unconscious? This book covers the origins of religion-the core ideas to all faiths-the birth of philosophy, the circumstances that gave rise to science and the humanities. It describes the origins of law, the emergence of scholarship and the universities. It looks at the rise of accuracy, of capitalism and humanism and their links to mans growing individuality. It examines mans growing loss of faith in God, the impact of Darwins theory of evolution, the link between Newtons discovery of gravity and John Locke and David Humes invention of psychology. It describes the origins of the great areas of human thought - the novel, the theater, history itself, sociology, chemistry, electricity, geology, economics. It explores the links between the great languages of the world and what that tells us about our distant past. At the same time the book explains how we came to divide time into AD and BC, the emergence of punctuation, why the days of the week are in the order they are now, how our numerals evolved, why American English is different from British English...
Peter Watson, geboren 1943, studierte an den Universitäten von Durham, London und Rom. Er war stellvertretender Herausgeber von "New Science" und arbeitete vier Jahre lang für die "Sunday Times". Er war Korrespondent in New York für die "Times" und schrieb für den "Observer", die "New York Times", "Punch" und "Spectator". Er hat bisher dreizehn Bücher veröffentlicht und war an einigen TV-Produktion zum Thema Kunst beteiligt. Seit 1989 ist er als Lehrbeauftragter am McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research der Universität Cambridge tätig.