History and Philosophy Of Science | Science Revolutions: Plato to Nato
X102 | 18188 | Karin Ekholm-Findley


Science Revolutions: Plato to Nato

This course is a survey of the intellectual history of science in
the West from antiquity to the twentieth century. The focus will be
on reading, discussing and writing about primary source texts that
played a significant role in the way people thought about the
natural world, the heavens, medicine, the motion of bodies, etc. We
will begin by looking at the pre-Socratic treatment of the natural
world in ancient Greece, which will give us a chance to consider
what we understand scientific thinking to be, and ask how it is
distinct from other ways of viewing the world. With this question in
mind we will read excerpts from Plato’s Timaeus and Aristotle’s
Physics, and examine how their key ideas were subsequently developed
and challenged in ancient Rome, in the medieval Arab world, and in
Europe from the middle ages onwards. Among others, we will read
excerpts in the writings of Copernicus, Vesalius, Galen, Descartes,
Newton, Lavoisier and Voltaire. The course will primarily take the
form of discussions and since our focus will be on grappling with
primary sources, there is a heavy reading component.