Scientific Rev.docx - Today, we’re going to look at the...

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Today, we’re going to look at the advances in scientific thinking that were made around the same time that you had religious upheaval and new ideas in political thinking. New ideas are starting to emerge that to a degree displaces the prevailing medieval ideas about the world and the universe. This is not to say that there was no science and that people during the Middle Ages were a bunch of flat earthers or something. The study of science was encouraged, however it was done so in a theological framework (this was not unique to Christian Europe, as Muslim thinkers also usually studied things like mathematics and atomic theory with religion in mind as well). Most medieval thinkers relied on ‘natural philosophers’ from the ancient world for this frame of research, such as Aristotle or the physician Galen. They approached scientific research more from logical analysis than a systemic, empirical observation of the natural world.Much of this has to do with the fact that, during the Middle Ages, scholars had to rely on Latin translations of Aristotle, Galen, and Ptolemy to develop their positions on physics, medicine, and astronomy. When, however, many of the Christian Humanists during the later medieval period were able to get ahold of many works in Greek (Plato, Ptolemy, Archimedes), they see that there are other ancient views which contradict the accepted authorities of Aristotle, etc. So with these new alternatives, you have people asking questions and challenging the conventional wisdom. One of the first big achievements of what later is called the Scientific Revolution is the challenge to the prevailing Ptolemaic view (after Ptolemy, the great ancient astronomer and cartographer) of Geocentric Conception. This Geocentric conception postulates that the universe possesses a series of concentric spheres, with Earth at its center. The Earth itself was made up of earth, fire, air and water, and constantly changing. The spheres thatsurround the earth are made up of crystalline, transparent substances which moved in circular orbits around the earth. This circular movement, said Aristotle, was the most perfect kind of motion and consequently the heavenly bodies moved in this type of motion. The heavenly bodies were considered to be made up of nonmaterial, incorruptible ‘quintessence.’ They’re pure orbs of light which are embedded in these concentric spheres and believed to number ten. They start with eight spheres (the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the fixed stars). You then have the vaguely defined ninth, crystallized sphere, which imparts to the eighth sphere (the fixed stars) its motion, with another undefined 10thsphere which was believed to be the Prime Mover which set all the other spheres in motion while moving itself. Beyond this sphere you have the Empyrean Heaven, where God is located with all the saved souls. As I’ve said, the world view at this time is very much fixed with Christianity. It’s finite, but this isn’t necessarily the point.

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Term
Spring
Professor
AlanLucibello
Tags
Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Heliocentrism, Galileo, Nicolas Copernicus

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