The Origins of Science in the Ancient World
- How do you explain/understand the world?
Epistemological & metaphysical
o What is it? (metaphysical)
A system with its own existence.
o How do we find out?
Systematically uncover the hidden or real structure.
o Changing sensory flux:
o The reality underlying appearance
We correct our past errors
Something constant through experience
- Atomism: “reality is made of atoms”
o Everything is made from smaller parts
Appearances are explained by differences in shapes of atoms
o Appearance of qualities?
o Reality of quantities?
- Aristotelean Hylomorphic Theory
o The real is an integration of causes
o Differences are explained by different causes (the mixing of these four
Material cause (made of something)
Formal cause (has shape, qualities)
Efficient cause (it works, has a function)
Final cause, or Telos. (goal or purpose) ->matter’s purpose is to head
towards the centre of the earth. Gravity as a concept was moot.
o Teleological explanations
Everything has a goal/purpose
Thing are pulled to their ends no pushed.
Something has to change it, so that there is a cause for the change
o Appearances are not real, they are like shadows (allegory of the cave)
The real triangle
The real line/point
What is real? Beyond the appearances:
o Pythagorean orientation
The “real” is the mathematical harmony that is present in nature
Ideal = a realm of mathematical truths
o How do you explain the world/understand the world
o How do i know?
- Deduced predictions
o Statement with determinate truth value
Either false or true; (it is the consequence that necessarily follows)
o Explanatory principles;
LAWS – universal principles
Universally true claims
Stable truths – the constant in the flux.
Not local truths
Whims of the gods
- Aristotle’s Inductive-Deductive Method VS. Pythagorean Theorem
- Empirical vs. Rational Orientation
o Empirical: must be based on experience/sensory experience/is an
Demarcation between applies mathematics (change) and pure
o Rational: must make sense and be logically coherent
Aristotle’s Inductive-Deductive Method
- Induction – generalization from evidence
- Deduction – of predictions/observations