IlS Final Exam Paper

IlS Final Exam Paper - Making HiSTORY Sam Seider Lynnette...

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Making HiSTORY Sam Seider Lynnette Regouby ILS 201-308 19 December 2007
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Question 3-Making HiSTORY It is interesting that the history of science is referred to as a story. The word “history” refers to a collection of facts and events that does not leave much wiggle room for change. However, the word “story” implies that its topic—in this case science, can be written as an opinionated argument that is subject to interpretation and change. In light of this, it does not surprise me that I find myself quoting the Bible- a static book of record that has been the catalyst for change for thousands of years—in order to show how the history of science has changed based on others’ opinions. Ecclesiastes 1: 9 tells us,” What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” This passage applies to the story of the history of science because it indicates that the great thinkers of various eras drew on the perspectives of those who came before them, those who had similar ideas, in order to shape their “novel” thoughts. This principle of molding ideas based on others’ conceptions is seen throughout history—so much so that a phrase must be coined in order to give justice to the phenomenon and to delineate it from other historical happenings. This term should be something that describes how the “present eyes” of the past view the past—I like to call it “past presentism.” The clearest examples of “past presentism” can be seen in Vesalius’s study and use of Galen’s work on human anatomy, Copernicus’s development of Ptolemy’s astronomical theories, and Tycho Brahe’s modification to Aristotle’s geocentric and Copernicus’s heliocentric models. Andreas Vesalius, who flourished during the mid-16 th century, is known as the founder of modern human anatomy. His work, De humani corporis fabrica ( On the Workings of the Human Body ), published in 1543, was one of the most influential books of his era and set the standard for medicine (Lindberg, p. 345). Vesalius’s accomplishments and accolades makes one question
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how he came to be so knowledgeable on the subject of anatomy. The answer lies within “past presentism.” In the 1530’s, Vesalius, a humanist scholar, collaborated with other intellectuals in order to produce a new, academic edition of the works of Galen who was the pre-eminent medical authority of antiquity. This edition came out in 1541 and was intended to publish Galen’s many Greek texts into Latin versions that would include each scholar’s comments (Dear,
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IlS Final Exam Paper - Making HiSTORY Sam Seider Lynnette...

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