contempt for the uses of modern natural philosophy
Mary Shelley seems to understand with acuity a phenomenon that could only have just come into general awareness in her time. We now recognize that a paradigm shift had occured in the previous generation, one forcing the "life sciences" into a disciplinary partnership with the physical sciences. From that point forward all notions of distinct animistic or quasi-magical differences separating them disappear. Furthermore, under this conceptual format nineteenth-century scientific inquiry increasingly reduces the processes of life themselves to merely chemical reactions.