Rejecting the notion that there is anything like an "essence" of early modern science, Shapin emphasizes the social practices by which scientific knowledge was produced and the social purposes for which it was intended. He shows how the conduct of science emerged from a wide array of early modern philosophical agendas, political commitments, and religious beliefs. And he treats science not as a set of disembodied ideas, but as historically situated ways of knowing and doing. Shapin argues against traditional views that represent the Scientific Revolution as a coherent, cataclysmic, and once-and-for-all event. Every tendency that has customarily been identified as its modernizing essence was contested by sixteenth- and seventeenth-century practitioners with equal claims to modernity. Experimentalism was both advocated and rejected; mathematical methods were both celebrated and treated with skepticism; mechanical conceptions of nature were seen both as defining proper science and as limited in their intelligibility and application; and the role of experience in making scientific knowledge was treated in radically different ways. Yet Shapin points to the many ways that contested legacy is nevertheless rightly understood as the origin of modern science, its problems as well as its acknowledged achievements.