The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, Prehistory to A.D. 1450

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-04-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr

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When it was first published in 1992,The Beginnings of Western Sciencewas lauded as the first successful attempt ever to present a unified account of both ancient and medieval science in a single volume. Chronicling the development of scientific ideas, practices, and institutions from pre-Socratic Greek philosophy to late-Medieval scholasticism, David C. Lindberg surveyed all the most important themes in the history of science, including developments in cosmology, astronomy, mechanics, optics, alchemy, natural history, and medicine. In addition, he offered an illuminating account of the transmission of Greek science to medieval Islam and subsequently to medieval Europe. The Beginnings of Western Sciencewas, and remains, a landmark in the history of science, shaping the way students and scholars understand these critically formative periods of scientific development. It reemerges here in a second edition that includes revisions on nearly every page, as well as several sections that have been completely rewritten. For example, the section on Islamic science has been thoroughly retooled to reveal the magnitude and sophistication of medieval Muslim scientific achievement. And the book now reflects a sharper awareness of the importance of Mesopotamian science for the development of Greek astronomy. In all, the second edition ofThe Beginnings of Western Sciencecaptures the current state of our understanding of more than two millennia of science and promises to continue to inspire both students and general readers.

Author Biography

David C. Lindberg is the Hilldale Professor Emeritus of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and past-president of the History of Science Society. He is the author or editor of many books, including, with coeditor Ronald L. Numbers, When Science and Christianity Meet, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Prefacep. xv
Science Before the Greeksp. 1
What Is Science?p. 1
Prehistoric Attitudes toward Naturep. 3
The Beginnings of Science in Egypt and Mesopotamiap. 12
The Greeks and the Cosmosp. 21
The World of Homer and Hesiodp. 21
The First Greek Philosophersp. 25
The Milesians and the Question of Underlying Realityp. 27
The Question of Changep. 32
The Problem of Knowledgep. 33
Plato's World of Formsp. 34
Plato's Cosmologyp. 38
The Achievement of Early Greek Philosophyp. 43
Aristotle's Philosophy of Naturep. 45
Life and Worksp. 45
Metaphysics and Epistemologyp. 46
Nature and Changep. 49
Cosmologyp. 52
Motion, Terrestrial and Celestialp. 56
Aristotle as a Biologistp. 60
Aristotle's Achievementp. 65
Hellenistic Natural Philosophyp. 67
Schools and Educationp. 67
The Lyceum after Aristotlep. 73
Epicureans and Stoicsp. 76
The Mathematical Sciences in Antiquityp. 82
The Application of Mathematics to Naturep. 82
Greek Mathematicsp. 83
Early Greek Astronomyp. 86
Cosmological Developmentsp. 95
Hellenistic Planetary Astronomyp. 98
The Science of Opticsp. 105
The Science of Weightsp. 109
Greek and Roman Medicinep. 111
Early Greek Medicinep. 111
Hippocratic Medicinep. 113
Hellenistic Anatomy and Physiologyp. 119
Hellenistic Medical Sectsp. 122
Galen and the Culmination of Hellenistic Medicinep. 124
Roman and Early Medieval Sciencep. 132
Greeks and Romansp. 132
Popularizers and Encyclopedistsp. 136
Translationsp. 146
The Role of Christianityp. 148
Roman and Early Medieval Educationp. 150
Two Early Medieval Natural Philosophersp. 157
Learning and Science in the Greek Eastp. 158
Islamic Sciencep. 163
Eastward Diffusion of Greek Sciencep. 163
The Birth, Expansion, and Hellenization of Islamp. 166
Translation of Greek Science into Arabicp. 169
Islamic Reception and Appropriation of Greek Sciencep. 173
The Islamic Scientific Achievementp. 176
The Fate of Islamic Sciencep. 189
The Revival of Learning in the Westp. 193
The Middle Agesp. 193
Carolingian Reformsp. 194
The Schools of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuriesp. 203
Natural Philosophy in the Twelfth-Century Schoolsp. 209
The Translation Movementp. 215
The Rise of Universitiesp. 218
The Recovery and Assimilation of Greek and Islamic Sciencep. 225
The New Learningp. 225
Aristotle in the University Curriculump. 226
Points of Conflictp. 228
Resolution: Science as Handmaidenp. 233
Radical Aristotelianism and the Condemnations of 1270 and 1277p. 243
The Relations of Philosophy and Theology After 1277p. 249
The Medieval Cosmosp. 254
The Structure of the Cosmosp. 254
Mathematical Astronomyp. 261
Astrologyp. 270
The Surface of the Earthp. 277
The Physics of the Sublunar Regionp. 286
Matter, Form, and Substancep. 286
Combination and Mixturep. 288
Alchemyp. 290
Change and Motionp. 295
The Nature of Motionp. 297
Mathematical Description of Motionp. 299
The Dynamics of Local Motionp. 306
Quantification of Dynamicsp. 309
The Science of Opticsp. 313
Medieval Medicine and Natural Historyp. 321
The Medical Tradition of the Early Middle Agesp. 321
The Transformation of Western Medicinep. 329
Medical Practitionersp. 330
Medicine in the Universitiesp. 333
Disease, Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Therapyp. 335
Anatomy and Surgeryp. 343
Development of the Hospitalp. 348
Natural Historyp. 351
The Legacy of Ancient and Medieval Sciencep. 357
The Continuity Questionp. 357
Candidates for Revolutionary Statusp. 359
The Scientific Revolutionp. 364
Notesp. 369
Bibliographyp. 413
Indexp. 463
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