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Lecture 8

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University of Toronto St. George

th HIS244H1: Lecture #8 Monday June 11 /2012 A Revolution of the Mind  Writings of Aristotle dominated the revolution  During the middle ages scientifically inquiry served theological ends  Medieval cosmology was based on Aristotle and Ptomely’s theories o Believed that earth was at the center of the universe o Aristotle: hierarchal understanding of the cosmos - in the heavens (beyond the moon) there is an entirely different substance, difference between earthly sphere and celestial sphere o Ptomely: talked about how the planets were orbiting on circular orbits and how he tried to explain why you would see planets further and sometimes further back (no constant order) – explained that with cycles (non-circular orbit – imperfect) th o These theories were challenged in the 16 century  Copernicus: observations made with his eye, and paper and pen, current theory held that the moons and the stars and the planets moved around the earth  his observations are not consistent with that model – contradicted the Aristolian universe  heliocentric model: the earth is not the center of the universe – the sun is, the earth is another planet revolving around the sun on an axis, bold and explicit assertions o Suggested that you could apply math to the study of the heavens o Cosmology and the natural sciences could be understood through the applications of mathematics o Inspired by Archimedes and Pythagoras o Theories seemed to reduce the place of mankind in the universe o Careful not to adopt a triumphalist account  Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) did not think the sun was the center of the universe, he reconciled the earth being the center by stating that some planets go around the sun, which ultimately goes around the earth o Recorded his observations systematically – extensive data used by his assistant o A number of Tycho’s observations were inaccurate (many mistakes)  Johannes Kepler was his assistant, but did not agree with Tycho’s model o His ideas made him persecuted by the Protestants, but he was protected by the Jesuits o Returned to Copernicus’ model o Claimed that planets were not orbiting on circular orbits – this was an attack on pure and perfect heavens o In the 3 laws of planetary motion – he suggested that God was not needed to regulate the movement of the planets o Movement without the direct intervention of God  Galileo Galilei (1564-1642): went to the University of Padua – he is a professor, but he was also a student – it was a leader center of scientific learning o Perfected Copernicus’ model, but didn’t believe in vulgarizing his ideas o Believed his theories were too complicated for most people, thought it was better that they were ignorant o 1633 – put on trial by the Roman Inquisition for his Dialogue concerning two world systems o Character of Simplicio is a thinly veiled criticism of the Ptolemaic system o Urban VIII (Pope) – did what he could to make Galileo’s situation easier o Galileo recants his beliefs, and is saved from being burned at the stake, but he is put on house arrest for the rest of his life  Important why? Catholic Church is losing believers, and is increasingly marginalized in the face of the dynastic rulers – who dictate European policies, the papacy has a less prominent role o As a result of it’s position, it puts itself in a corner by defending a theory that is no longer defensible  Universities contribute very little to the diffusion of the scientific method  For the scientific revolution + enlightenment we see that the most important centers are those outside the church  We don’t need God to intervene all the time to keep the world going  Francis Bacon (1561-1626): rejected tradition – the idea that you could base knowledge on received and accumulated knowledge o Question authorities and approach them critically o Search for truth through inductive reasoning: proceed from observations and experimentations to truth o Don’t accept authority of the Bible, look into actual working of the world, and the results of your experimentations o Contribution: it is limited to the philosophy of knowledge o Conducted very few experiments o Died from a pneumonia when stuffing a chicken with snow  Descartes: postulated that each man has to start as a blank slate o Deductive reasoning: doubt everything, submit everything to a critical inquiry o I think, therefore I am o Example: Syllogism – 1. All men are mortal, 2. Socrates is a man, 3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal – the conclusion must be true because it comes from true premises o Believes that God is a Grand Horloger (Clockmaker) – who created the universe according to a set theories of laws and mathematical principles that the human mind could discover through human reasoning – after creating the universe God then stepped back from his creation  he is saying that natural phenomenon can still work with God, he doesn’t ALWAYS have to intervene  Newton (1642-1727): Principia Mathematica o Brought together Galileo’s discoveries of earth o God had created a mechanism and then withdrawn o Contributions to options, explained rainbows, and understood how the spectrum was made of 4 primary colours o Not keen on publishing his ideas…unless someone else was on the brink of publishing o Not good with footnoting o Became famous, and was knighted – his fame marked the victory over the scientific method o Celebrating the sciences  18 century: decline of witch hunt trials – educated prosecutors much more skeptical about witchcraft  Opens up the possibility of mastering nature for human benefits: changing nature as opposed to only observing it – conquer and celebrate  Newton wrote more on religion than on science, but largely unpublished – very private o Mysteries in the book of revelation (concerned with)  Peter the Great: opens Russia to western science
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