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Lecture

nats1760-jan29.odt

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Department
Natural Science
Course
NATS 1760
Professor
Edward Jones- Imhotep
Semester
Winter

Description
Book of Nature: written in secret language, written in language of mathematics-29 mathematics is a powerful language which can be used to describe the world in ways other language cannot the world itself is designed mathematically shift that it isn't secret language but mathematical language Descartes -born in France- 1596, educated in elite Jesuit school – religious-catholic education – Jesuits are confessors of the Pope – Jesuits are some of the premiere mathematics of the time – 1618- joins Dutch army as mercenary (hire services out to fight for other countries) – later returns to Paris, leaves and goes back to Holland for some seclusion – in Holland writes book on Discourse on Method – - preoccupied with ability to found philosophy built on truth and certainty rather than possibility and opinion – no respect forAristotle – rejection of the past; needs to prove things for himself – sees past as a source of error, superstition, prejudice – what is new is better – wants to found philosophy on certainty rather than opinion – 2 problems: 2 accepted sources of knowledge (experience,- however senses can mislead you, reason- however reason is fallible) – wants to find something he can know for certain and build philosophy on that knowledge – philosophy becomes very popular because he wants to replaceAristotle, so he explains everything Aristotle explains – his philosophy encourages experimentation, more compatible with idea that experiment is way to find out about nature – past should be abandoned Discourse on Method – describes the way which he discovers this philosophy – arrives at insight by radically questioning what exists – “if i don't exist, I canot be having these thoughts” – one thing he can be sure about is his existence – thinks about clear and distinct ideas – realizes the only thing he can be certain about is mathematical principles mathematical principles must have been placed in mind by greater power Science, Technology and Modernity The Mechanistic Universe – - only thing that exists in the world is matter and motion – matter is dead – sets out to explain everythingAristotle explained, in terms of math and mechanist view – does not try explaining God through matter and motion – sees people as machines inhabited by a soul (cannot be explained by matter and motion) – body is machine – interested in idea of machine – believes soul is in pineal gland – pineal gland is controller of body – becomes popular becuase his method allows for experimentation Automata – self moving machines – ancient concept – people see them as objects of magic (Renaissance) – with influence of Descartes idea of magic gets abandoned – craze to try to create machines to mimic human being- – it is successful – people buy into idea that the body is just a machine guided by the soul Mechanical Philosophy and the Modern World Dividing Mind and Body – idea that soul is separate from the body and guides it – creates number of problems – not clear what the distinction is Mechanizing Nature – nature can always be described according to mathematical or mechanical principles – dead and mechanical nature Tradition vs. novelty. – Natural Philosophy and control over the natural world. Chemistry – study of molecules and atoms – between physics and biology – Brahe- connections to alpen- substance that allows you to change materials into gold – idea of trying to manipulate substance to figure out how the interact together – debate over what burning is Oxygen – earlier understanding- air is one thing – shift to
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