In Decoding the Stars, Ileana Chinnici offers an account of the life of the Jesuit scientist Angelo Secchi (1818-1878). As well as providing an invaluable account of Secchi’s life and work—something that has been sorely lacking in the English-language scholarship—this biography will be especially stimulating for those interested in the evolution of astrophysics as a discipline from the nineteenth century onward. Despite his eclecticism, reminiscent of the natural philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Secchi was in many ways a very modern scientist: open to innovation and cooperation, and a promoter of popularization and citizen science. Secchi also appears fully inserted in the cultural context of his time: he participated in philosophical and scientific debates, spread new theories and ideas, but also suffered the consequences of political events that marked those years and impacted on his life and activities.
David Hume has a canonical place in the context of moral philosophy, but his insights are less frequently discussed in relation to natural philosophy. David Hume and the Culture of Scottish Newtonianism offers a discussion of Hume’s methodological and ideological commitments in matters of knowledge as reflected in his language and outlook. Tamás Demeter argues that several aspects of Hume’s moral philosophy reflect post-Newtonian tendencies in the aftermath of the Opticks, and show affinities with Newton-inspired Scottish physiology and chemistry. Consequently, when Hume describes his project as an 'anatomy of the mind' he uses a metaphor that expresses his commitment to study human cognitive and affective functioning on analogy with active and organic nature, and not with the Principia’s world of inert matter.