HIST LECTURE 1 SEP 10 TH
Science in ancient civilizations
What is “science” “techbology”
The shift of science from being its own state to helping the world
Tech and science--- one cant work without the other
Ways of defining science
Modern idea of science: EXPIRIMENTS, was not always a part of ancient
BCE: before common era
An early civilization
All about gaining knowledge of the natural world
People expanded their learning mainly due to agriculture and those needs
Mathematics wasn’t just a theory people learned but was focused on specific
things that were needed.
Science was a practical thing, not lots of theory and tests that we have today
They would look at the sky and not predict how the earth worked but as to
how the movement affected their daily lives ie. Flooding season, seasons
Early civilizations gave us a form of time keeping ie. 7 days, 60 minutes
because of they’re practically in its use.
At this early life it was about practicality not knowledge
Mathematics was always connected to engineering ie. The pyramids, great
wall of china
They connected all science with supernatural beliefs ie. Stars movement was
the movement of the gods or heavens.
Believed that storms and lightning and all natural disasters was the wrath of
Emergence of “scientific” explanation
Mythology and science was separated from each other in the 6 centuary
Philosophers started asking questions about the natural world
They began to see that there was a natural explanation for all things and not
a supernatural relation
They became interested in knowledge, not just practicality
Agora or the marketplace was the key place for exchange of knowledge,
gossip, news and political debates.
These 3 top people were on the pursuit of knowledge not practicality
They asked “whats the best way to aquire knowledge and can we do it?”
The ultimate nature of reality
This was first time philosophers began to really separate the natural world
from god and supernatural things Thales was the first to say that the world was made of water not of the
The problem of change
Heraclitus---- believed everything changed or was at a constant change, he
supported his thoughts with what he saw around him
Zeno (zenos paradox) believed that to get to a point one must travel past the
half way point first and since there were an infinite amount of halfway points
then there was an infinite amount of time it would take to get to the end thus
Parmenides thought that you could not believe your senses, that they illuded
you and that all things could be proven by logic and facts.
Many favoured reason over senses, they wanted logic not what their senses
were showing them
Plato founded THE ACADEMY IN ATHENS
LECTURE 2 SEPT. 12
Science in Islam
Aristotle’s philosophy of nature
The agora because it was public, it became very public to everyone,
everyone’s opinions were heard. The academy was walled in, private from
others, thus is it was only for philosophers
Different attitude then Plato, he did not believe objects had an outside ideal
nature but were all concrete in what they were.
Everything in the world was composed of these four elements. All qualities of
an object came from the for qualities : hot cold, wet dry. Which then led to
elements ie. Water is cold and wet thus it is the element water
Four elements could align with for seasons, four avengelence and four
medical humors. The four medical humors must be in balance to be a healthy
He did believe in change and was related to four causes: formal cause, (plan
or design) material cause (the material), efficient cause(who’s building), final
cause (reason for building)
The world is very organized and full of purpose was aristotles beliefs, he
really believed you could trust senses unlike Plato
***DIAGRAM ON COURSE WEBSITE***
He believed the earth was a huge sphere, he thought planets nested on glass
like spheres and there were two main regions: celestial region and terrestrial
He believed both spheres had very different happenings. Everything in
terrestrial sphere was ruled by lots of change, lots of natural motion ie. Birth
and death, this is where the four elements were because they constantly
changed. Celestial region was perfect, everything was eternal and
unchanging, everything moved In a circular pattern, it was filled with ether (a substance was an incorruptible element and incapable of change, very
different from other four elements) EVERYTHING BEYONG THE LUNAR
SPHERE WAS ETHER
Conquests and empire
Alexander the greats conquests: Lasted 11 years till he died. In the Greek
world science isolated from everyday activities, this was the case until
alexander came in and conquered in the 4 thCENTUARY, he brought many
city states together
HELLENIC- prior to alexander, very Greek
HELLENISTIC- after alexander, it was Greek like, two cultures unified
His conquests really spread Greek knowledge all through out the land, into
Egypt, Persia, Macedonia
Natural philosophers became very accepted and were not isolated to just
doing their work in the academy but were now connected to the state and
accepted by the public. Ideas from other areas were infused with the Greek
system thus lots of foreign knowledge mixed with Greek knowledge making
Roman Empire: Rome took over a huge space around them. The military
conquests became a way to spread knowledge and diffusion of knowledge.
The empire was divided into two cultural differences: Latin speaking west,
Greek speaking east. This divide was of culture and language, lots of the Latin
west was disconnected from the Greek natural philosophy, a European block.
The birth of Islam and Islamic empire
Dominant in the 8 TH CENTUARY. Islam spread starting in the 6 TH CENTUARY.
They severely reduced the eastern byzantine empire (east Greek speaking).
Huge cultural expansion, very built on agriculture which they expanded and
rebuilt the irrigation practices. They urbanized and made Bagdad the largest
city in the world.
Science and Technology in Islam
They translated the Greek knowledge into Arabic. During the European dark
ages, Islamic empire was the caretaker or the transmitter of old Greek
knowledge and new Islamic knowledge to the Latin west or Europe.
This was a culture based on literacy, they were very tolerant to many
civilizations and religions, which they conquered and let them practice.
Science was very state supported and centralized. Arabic philosophers
adapted other cultures knowledge
For Islamic scholars spiritual perfection was more important then the Greek
way of conquering nature, Greek science was adapted into this way
They annotated the Greek corpise, the commented on it
They made huge contributions to Greek mathematics, astronomy and
medicine. Education was very important in the Islamic world
Ibna Sina (Avicenna)
Wrote the book of healing on commentary of Greek medicine which became
one of the most printed books of the time. Galen of Pergamum thrived in 2 NDCENTUARY: dissected animals and did lots
of surgical work. He had a famous medical text which was the base of lots of
Sina’s books of medicine were very helpful during the 16 centuary. The
books are very descriptive and spiritual medicine with lots of pictures.
The book was valued because it was organized and comprehensive not
because it was original.
The importance of place
Houses of wisdom, Mosques (learning with times set for prayer), Madrasas,
In the Islamic world schools would be attached to mosques same with
The largest place of learning/ library set up in Islamic empire was the house
of wisdom in the 8 CENTUARY.
Arabic at the time became the international language of studying the natural
Madrasas were legal colleges, science was also taught here.
The 13 centaury had a declin