Subverting Aristotle: Religion, History, and Philosophy in Early Modern Science

JHU Press
Free sample

"The belief that Aristotle’s philosophy is incompatible with Christianity is hardly controversial today," writes Craig Martin. Yet "for centuries, Christian culture embraced Aristotelian thought as its own, reconciling his philosophy with theology and church doctrine. The image of Aristotle as source of religious truth withered in the seventeenth century, the same century in which he ceased being an authority for natural philosophy."

In this fresh study of the complicated origins of revolutionary science in the age of Bacon, Hobbes, and Boyle, Martin traces one of the most important developments in Western European history: the rise and fall of Aristotelianism from the eleventh to the eighteenth century.

Medieval theologians reconciled Aristotelian natural philosophy with Christian dogma in a synthesis that dominated religious thought for centuries. This synthesis unraveled in the seventeenth century contemporaneously with the emergence of the new natural philosophies of the scientific revolution. Important figures of seventeenth-century thought strove to show that the medieval appropriation of Aristotle defied the historical record that pointed to an impious figure of dubious morality.

While numerous scholars have written on the seventeenth-century downfall of Aristotelianism, almost all of those works have examined how the conceptual content of the new sciences—such as the heliocentric cosmology, atomism, mechanical and mathematical models, and experimentalism—were used to dismiss the views of Aristotle. Subverting Aristotle is the first to focus on the religious polemics accompanying the scientific controversies that led to the eventual demise of Aristotelian natural philosophy.

Martin’s thesis draws extensively on primary source material from England, France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. It alters present perceptions not only of the scientific revolution but also of the role of Renaissance humanism in the forging of modernity.

-- John Monfasani, University at Albany, The State University of New York
Read more
Collapse

About the author

Craig Martin is an associate professor of history at Oakland University and author of Renaissance Meteorology: Pomponazzi to Descartes, also published by Johns Hopkins.

Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
JHU Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Apr 3, 2014
Read more
Collapse
Pages
272
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9781421413174
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
History / Europe / General
Philosophy / General
Religion / General
Science / History
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Craig Martin takes a careful look at how Renaissance scientists analyzed and interpreted rain, wind, and other natural phenomena like meteors and earthquakes and their impact on the great thinkers of the scientific revolution.

Martin argues that meteorology was crucial to the transformation that took place in science during the early modern period. By examining the conceptual foundations of the subject, Martin links Aristotelian meteorology with the new natural philosophies of the seventeenth century. He argues that because meteorology involved conjecture and observation and forced attention to material and efficient causation, it paralleled developments in the natural philosophies of Descartes and other key figures of the scientific revolution.

Although an inherently uncertain endeavor, forecasting the weather was an extremely useful component not just of scientific study, but also of politics, courtly life, and religious doctrine. Martin explores how natural philosophers of the time participated in political and religious controversies by debating the meanings, causes, and purposes of natural disasters and other weather phenomena.

Through careful readings of an impressive range of texts, Martin situates the history of meteorology within the larger context of Renaissance and early modern science. The first study on Renaissance theories of weather in five decades, Renaissance Meteorology offers a novel understanding of traditional natural philosophy and its impact on the development of modern science.

A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach.

With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age.

This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.