HIST 1250 MID TERM PREP
Babylonian Science - Flourished in the 20th century BCE, foundation based on
prediction, (3 aspects) 1. Practicality 2. Math/Engineering 3.Science and supernatural
Naturalistic Explanation -
Thales of Miletus - (c.624-c 548 BCE)
-Argued that water was the building block of nature, that all matter was made of water in
one of three forms...Water, Mist, and Earth..
-Pictured the Earth as a drum or sphere ﬂoating in a celestial sea.
-Two things stand out in his philosophy,
1. that Nature was completely material, not supernatural...not saying he didn't believe in
gods he just felt the universe served an independent material purpose.
2. Nature functioned on its own accord, No supernatural intervention. Universal
conditions in charge of nature.
- Universe based on number, mathematics, ratios etc. Marriage was number 5, string
- Cosmology that divided the universe into three spheres..Earth stationary, Celestial Fire
was the centre of circular motion (sun).
1. Uranos - The least perfect/terrestrial realm
2. Cosmos - Sphere of moving bodies, in perfect circular motion
3. Olympos - Perfect realm/home of the gods
-System of Medicine based on balance. Covering not only physical aspects of health but
also the social, mental, and spiritual.
-Believed in horoscopes and even geography to effect health (living near a swamp or
-Although they believed in all this bullshit, they regarded illness as natural not
supernatural. Treating illness with material substances such as drugs, diet and exercise.
-Health was considered to be the correct balance of physical action, diet, and
lifestyle...While illness was the unbalance of these elements.
-4 Humors page 39
-Did not treat Women
- Argued that all was change, and nature was in a constant state of ﬂux.
- World was in a dynamic equilibrium of forces batting each other. Fire at the heart
battling water and earth.
- You cant step in the same river twice
- the continuity of thought gives the illusion of constancy. HIST 1250 MID TERM PREP
Parmenides and Zeno’s Paradox
- Change was an illusion
- Change was impossible since something would have to arise from nothing???
- Zenos Paradox was a proof against the possibility of motion,
To reach a point you must ﬁrst cover half the distance to the point. Then half way to the
halfway. Since there are inﬁnite half way points then it would take inﬁnite time to reach
the initial point therefore motion is impossible.
- Plato was not content in teaching at the agora therefore he founded the Academy as
the fundamental roots of todays higher education
- Plato believed what we saw with our senses was an illusion, only logic was true
- Plato believed the solution to problems in society was education, which meant to train
students in a philosophy based on knowledge and logic.
- Already tutored people would gather at the academy to debate and discuss under a
- Most famous student was Aristotle
Aristotle’s Causes (Final)
-Formal, Material, Efﬁcient, Final
-Formal; The plan or model
-Material; The stuff used to make the matter
-Efﬁcient; how the object came to be
-Final; Why it was built at all, the reason?
- Pictured the world as an almost inﬁnite number of indestructible atoms, the
appearance and behavior of these atoms was due to the varying size/shape/position of
-Believed knowledge could only come from our senses, that it was open to all not just
Galen of Pergamum
- Studied Math and Philosophy before medicine.
- First became surgeon to the gladiators at Pergamum, allowing him to expand his
knowledge of anatomy since at the time human dissection was forbidden
- Moved to Rome for 4 years until a plague struck rome so emperor Marcus Aurelius
called him back. Galen remained physician to four emperors later.
- Applied psychological works to his anatomy such as Aristotle's 4 causes to the function
of the organs. Made discoveries such as arteries carry blood not air.
- -His dissections put him above other physicians in the market place making him very
wealthy so he had time to write over 500 books, 80 of which survive today.
- He also adopted the idea that nothing existed without a purpose, and all nature was
constructed in the best possible way to do its own thing. HIST 1250 MID TERM PREP
-Ptolemys famous book on astronomy which accomplished two things,
1. Created a mathematical model that supports aristotelian cosmology with observation
2. Provided tools, such as tables and directions which aided observation.
- Book contained topics such as retrograde motion, Eccentric orbit, and the Epicycle
(combo of the two)
-Provided a complete account of the of celestial motion of all objects seen with the
Problems of the Planets
-The problem of retrograde motion, each planet seemed to move eastward then
slowdown and loop back westward for a time before continuing eastward.
-The number of planets seemed to move at different speeds in different parts of their
orbits, while ﬁxed stars moved in a very regular pattern.
-Ptolemy solved these in the Almagest.
- Child prodigy in medicine and philosophy, cured the ruler and was given access to the
- skills as a physician offered him many jobs in the courts of rulers, yet was involved in
polotical struggles causing him to be jailed for some time before ﬂeeing to Isfahan.
- wrote 250 books and had a device made to write on horseback
- Most famous writings were the book of healing and cannon of medicine
- Arabic term for school or place of study
- Place of study was very important for Islamic study, considered a scared place for
The House of Wisdom
-Created in 815 by al-Mamun
-Part research centre containing an unreal library, and observatory. Part school which
attracted scholars from all over.
-This state supported enterprise was responsible for the translation of Greek, Persian,
and Indian texts into Arabic
-Translated texts such as Ptolemy’s Almagest and Euclids Elements.
The Book of Healing
-Written by Ibn Sina
-Scientiﬁc Encyclopedia covering logic, natural philosophy, psychology, geometry,
astronomy, arithmetic, and music
-Does not simply recount the works of Aristotle and Euclid, it adapts them HIST 1250 MID TERM PREP
-Song Dynasty China
-Based on Confucius
-Not really a religion, more of a moral/ethical guide, supports things such as justice,
curtsy, and morality
-Contributed to advances in mathematics, geography, economics, engineering,
medicine, divination, archaeology, military strategy, and diplomacy
-Analyzed issues mathematically such as possible situations in games and lengths of
military campaigns given troop size.
-Wrote Brush Talk from a Dream Book which covered things such as direction of
compass needles, and tides being caused by the rising and setting of the moon not the
sun! and his ﬁnal contribution was the sun and moon being spherical not ﬂat.
-Models of what scientists thought the heavens looked like
-Used to for navigation of stars and space, however also on earth for things such as
-Spherical models used as teaching tools, almost like an ancient globe of the universe
-Ptolemy introduced this to solve the problem of retrograde motion
-Small circle centered on a larger circle or deferent.
-Later astronomers realized that epicycles could be added to epicycles to solve
observational problems (page 34)
-Intersection of Aristotelean Methodology and medieval interests, including theology and
certain aspects of platonic philosophy
- Strongly associated with the universities and the intellectually inclined religious orders
- Discovered problem resolution by establishing contradictory positions
- Formulated arguments into thesis, objections, and solutions.
- Followed Aristotle so much it became unquestionable, instead of a method to
understand the world
- HIST 1250 MID TERM PREP
Arnold of Villanova (c.1235-c. 1311)
-Medieval Alchemist; Famous as a physician, astrologer and alchemist.
-Wrote many books claiming he had found the secret of matter! known to Plato,
Aristotle, and Pythagorus.
-Transmutation would be achieved through a puriﬁcation of metal that would leave
behind only noble elements of silver and gold.
-Accomplished by aqua vita (water of life) made from mercury, which was used to an
elixir that could convert base metals into 1000x its weight in gold/silver.
-Although work was theoretical, enough proof to interest people to try!
Robert Grosseteste (c. 1250-1310)
-Worked on optics and the rainbow
-Aristotle believed rainbows were the result of sunlight reﬂecting off of water droplets in
clouds that acted as tiny mirrors.
-Grosseteste argued he was not saying Aristotle was wrong, rather he was just ﬁlling in
the part of the investigation that Aristotle did not cover.
-Offered theory of reﬂection and refraction of light when bouncing off of the water
William of Ockham (1285-c.1349)
-Forceful skeptic who attacked Aristotelian categories of relation and substance,
undermining physics and metaphysics.
-Argued relations were created in the mind of the observer, and didn't represent the
order of the universe. Also argued Aristotelean teleology, saying it was impossible to
prove by logic that there was a ﬁnal cause for anything.
-His defense of this philosophy was referred to as “Ockham’s Razor”
1.Argued that a