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The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages: Their Religious, Institutional and Intellectual Contexts (Cambridge Studies in the History of Science)
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Top Customer Reviews
This fundamental insight was recently confirmed through the book of Ulrich Taschow: "Nicole Oresme und der Frühling der Moderne", ISBN 3-936979-00-6, see Amazon german ("Nicole Oresme and the spring of modern age"). Taschow supplements his very interesting examinations of history of science through a psycho-historical approach including a new theory of evolutionary consciousness. In medieval thought the basic elements of Modern Age were anticipated by means of "self-fulfilling prophecies" - for Taschow a psycho-historical principle of consciousness. Grants emphasis of the medieval "thought experiment" as essential step into modern science Taschow similarly uses as one of the essential functions of the modern consciousness, etc. In different languages both authors speak of the same things.
So I think it is no chance that two totally different ways and methods, Grants and Taschows, led to the same results! In this respect it would be very interesting to know Grants "beliefs" in the structure of historical processes. Obviously he is no follower of the conservative theory of linear, cumulative progress... (or?)
For people which are interested in deeper questions and answers concerning the origins of Modern Science and Modern Western Culture beyond the commonplaces of classical history I strongly recommend both books, Grants and Taschows.
G. Balther, Cologne
This book is appropriate for an undergraduate History of Science class or for an educated lay person.
But, as Grant observes, when Galileo wrote his Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems to explain how his new cosmology differed from the older view, his literary approach--using the character of Simplicio to caricature Aristotelianism (which Grant carefully distinguishes from Aristotle himself)--left a lasting impression on Western views of everything that happened during the thousand years before the 16th century. So there is room for revision in our understanding of how the process played out.
Since the late 19th century, medievalists have done much to rehabilitate that vast millennium. For example, they have conceptualized the sensibly-named "Early Middle Ages," "High Middle Ages," and "Late Middle Ages." (Precise delineations of historical periods, like political geography, are debatable, of course, but you would remain within the mainstream if you imagined the Early Middle Ages as comprising the 4th through the 10th centuries, the High Middle Ages as the 11th through the 14th, and the late middle ages as the 15th and 16th.) Plenty happened in Western Europe during those periods, but critical to Grant's analysis are three developments during the High and Late Middle ages (starting in the late 13th century): the emergence of universities as independent corporate bodies; the recovery of Aristotle and his Arabic commentators, in Latin translations from the Arabic; and the rise of theologian who were also natural philosophers.Read more ›
Grant provides an all encompassing theory on how science emerged. I don't think the topic could be explained any better without some new archeological find or manipulation of the facts.
The most interesting parts in my opinion involve the comparision of Western European culture to that of China, Byzantium, and the Islamic Middle East. Why didn't they develop science first? Find out why inside.
For laymen and people without a doctorate in history who want to read this for enjoyment (or for curricular activities), reading the first two and the last chapters will give you a good approximation of Grant's thesis. Only do this if you have a good general knowledge of history from 600 BC to 1700 AD.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The spirit of science did not come from religion but from Moslem conduits from Greece and other early cultures. Read morePublished on September 8, 2011 by Ratso Rizzo