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Unformatted text preview: Ben Guerra ILS 201/Discussion 302 Essay Option #2 Overthrown and Replaced: The Story of the History of Science If history is truly a story, then the distance between the covers is lengthening as each day furthers its plot with new conflicts. The history of science, more specifically, demonstrates in microcosm how progress can be made through conflict. When considering the seemingly simplistic origins of natural science in comparison to modern scientific developments such as the mapping of the human genome, it is clear that the story of the history of science has much to account for. These intermediate developments did not necessarily build on each other towards one unified goalconflicting ideas between prominent thinkers steered the history of science towards the goals and accomplishments of modern science. The Milesians rejection of the Homeric worldview, Copernicus insistence on a heliocentric model, and Francis Bacons call for a practically-focused natural philosophy all testify to the idea that the history of science can be characterized as a story driven by conflicting ideas, with new ideas overthrowing old ones and steering thinkers in a new, often permanent direction. Though little information exists on the earliest group of Greek philosophersthe Milesiansit is clear they founded the basis for natural philosophy, and in the process rejected the views on nature that Greek mythology had introduced. Prior to the Milesians, the 8 th century texts of Homer and Hesiod were the primary sources of information about natural phenomena and formed the Homeric worldview. In this view, the gods of Mt. Olympus interfered with the lives mortals as they wished, often using humans as pawns in their own plots and intrigues (Lindberg, p.24). Causes of natural disasters were personified, as in Homers Odyssey in which the fate of Odysseuss crew is at the hands of the gods who are quick to punish him. At one point, Zeus threatens to hit their racing ship with a white-hot bolt as a punishment for killing Helios cattle (CR p.4). Clearly, the Homeric view on causation relied heavily upon divine interventioneach specific natural occurrence had a specific divine cause. The Milesians of the 6 th century BC came along and overthrew this idea. Instead of trying to explain specific natural occurrences for example one specific earthquakethe Milesians generalized and sought to find the source of all earthquakes. Reductionism was also a primary feature of the Milesian worldview. Rather than believing that natural occurrences could have resulted from any of the gods, the Milesians sought to give just one explanation for each type of issue....
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course ILS 201 taught by Professor Hsia during the Fall '07 term at Wisconsin.
- Fall '07
- The Odyssey