THE BEGINNINGS OF WESTERN SCIENCE LINDBERG PDF

Chronicling the development of scientific ideas, practices, and institutions from pre-Socratic Greek philosophy to late-Medieval scholasticism, David C. Lindberg surveyed all the most important themes in the history of science, including developments in cosmology, astronomy, mechanics, optics, alchemy, natural history, and medicine. In addition, he offered an illuminating account of the transmission of Greek science to medieval Islam and subsequently to medieval Europe. The Beginnings of Western Science was, and remains, a landmark in the history of science, shaping the way students and scholars understand these critically formative periods of scientific development.

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Lindberg puts the scientific and philosopical developments in their situational context. He continuously stresses the importance of viewing the scientific ideas within the social, cultural and religious framework that contemporaries used to understand their world. This is a very fruitful method, and it helps Excellent overview of the developments in science and philosophy from the period of the natural philosophers in Antiquity starting with Thales of Miletus and ending at the Renaissance.

Natural philosophy, mathematics and philosophy started in Anitquity, flourished for a couple of centuries, then were kept alive in the Roman period. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, these industries were maintained in the Byzantine regions and were incorporated in the later Islamic empires. The West, significantly, lacked most of the important philosophical and scientific works and only started picking up pace again when more and more translations - arabic or greek - entered Europe and were translated into Latin.

The period of the Middle Ages was the era when schools and universities as institutions were founded. It is also the period when the first steps towards the mathematization of science were taking, for example by Nicolas Oresme, who tried to apply geometrical representations to motion.

With the risk of abstracting too much, the early Middle Ages were characterized by Platonism and Christianity, while the later Middle Ages were characterized by Aristotelianism and Christianity. Ever since Aquinas, Aristotle has been the philosopher that Christianity looks to. This last point also explains why the Scientific Revolution can rightfully be called a revolution.

Aristotle had developed a unique framework with which to understand the world, basically an axiomatix-deductive system of knowledge and a cosmology of the four elements earth, water, air and fire; a distinction between the imperfect sub-lunar and the perfect heavenly spheres; substance as a combination of matter and form; natural places; teleology; prime movers; etc.

Aristotelianism simply was incompatible with the empirical, inductive side of science that developed in the seventeenth century - this was a new science, a mechanistic worldview that sought to explain everything in terms of moving particles even light in vacui. Lindberg deals extensively with all sorts of sciences: mathematics, cosmology, physics, astronomy, astrology, alchemy, medicine, natural history, optics, etc. He deals fairly with all of these topics. The same with astrology: this science was rooted in the Platonic conception of a microcosm-macrocosm connection - the universe as a whole is a living organism constituted of organs just like a human being is a living organism constituted of organs.

This means that anything that happens in the macrocosm - for example, planetary revolutions - is interconnected with evens on a microcosmic scale, so astronomical knowledge instantaneously leads to very important insights into human affairs.

In the final chapter, Lindberg closes the book with offering a compromise between the continuity thesis science as a continuous development and the revolutionary thesis science as a non-continuous development. I think Lindberg is right in offering this critique, yet I do think that he slightly underestimates the radical shift in thinking that took place in the seventeenth century - and which continues up to the present moment.

The mechanistic worldview simply has literally changed the world forever - its surface, the minds of people, living conditions, etc. Anyway, this is one of the most inspiring and insightful books that I know of. Not just on the topic covered, but in general. I think Lindberg is a superb educator and a very nuanced story-teller. Read this book to understand the different ways people viewed the world from B. The book is a storehouse of interesting knowledge and it certainly enriches our own conceptions of the world.

I find it refreshing to understand why people thought so differently about the same old subjects and how their ideas make sense, if only you get the whole picture.

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The Beginnings of Western Science

Chronicling the development of scientific ideas, practices, and institutions from pre-Socratic Greek philosophy to late-Medieval scholasticism, David C. Lindberg surveyed all the most important themes in the history of science, including developments in cosmology, astronomy, mechanics, optics, alchemy, natural history, and medicine. In addition, he offered an illuminating account of the transmission of Greek science to medieval Islam and subsequently to medieval Europe. The Beginnings of Western Science was, and remains, a landmark in the history of science, shaping the way students and scholars understand these critically formative periods of scientific development.

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Lindberg puts the scientific and philosopical developments in their situational context. He continuously stresses the importance of viewing the scientific ideas within the social, cultural and religious framework that contemporaries used to understand their world. This is a very fruitful method, and it helps Excellent overview of the developments in science and philosophy from the period of the natural philosophers in Antiquity starting with Thales of Miletus and ending at the Renaissance. Natural philosophy, mathematics and philosophy started in Anitquity, flourished for a couple of centuries, then were kept alive in the Roman period. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, these industries were maintained in the Byzantine regions and were incorporated in the later Islamic empires. The West, significantly, lacked most of the important philosophical and scientific works and only started picking up pace again when more and more translations - arabic or greek - entered Europe and were translated into Latin. The period of the Middle Ages was the era when schools and universities as institutions were founded.

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Contents[ edit ] The expanded edition begins with debates over definitions of science. Next, possible precursors to science are treated in the forms of knowledge prehistoric societies and theories about the notions of truth that would apply in such cultures. The section about Egyptian and Babylonian science starts with the differences in their types of arithmetic. Lindberg states that the Babylonian notation is superior because of its greater parsimony. Babylonian astrology, with the important development of horoscopic astrology , is mentioned as a major contribution of Babylonian civilization.

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