Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550: From Aristotle to Copernicus

Greenwood Publishing Group
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Many people believe that during the Middle Ages Christianity was actively hostile toward science (then known as natural philosophy) and impeded its progress. This comprehensive survey of science and religion during the period between the lives of Aristotle and Copernicus demonstrates how this was not the case. Medieval theologians were not hostile to learning natural philosophy, but embraced it. Had they had not done so, the science that developed during the Scientific Revolution would not--and could not--have occurred. Students and lay readers will learn how the roots of much of the scientific culture of today originated with the religious thinkers of the Middle Ages. Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550 thoroughly covers the relationship between science and religion in the medieval period, and provides many resources for the student or lay reader: BL Discusses how the influx of Greek and Arabic science in the 12th and 13th centuries-- especially the works of Aristotle in logic and natural philosophy--dramatically changed how science was viewed in Western Europe. BL Demonstrates how medieval universities and their teachers disseminated a positive attitude toward rational inquiry and made it possible for Western Europe to become oriented toward science. BL Includes primary documents that allow the reader to see how important scholars of the period understood the relationship of science and religion. BL Provides an annotated bibliography of the most important works on science and religion in the Middle Ages, helping students to study the topic in more detail. BL
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About the author

EDWARD GRANT is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author or editor of ten books, including The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages and God and Reason in the Middle Ages.

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Additional Information

Greenwood Publishing Group
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Published on
Dec 31, 2004
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Religion / Christianity / History
Religion / History
Religion / Religion & Science
Science / History
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Eligible for Family Library

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The #1 New York Times bestselling account of a neurosurgeon's own near-death experience—for readers of 7 Lessons from Heaven.

Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.

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This book is a collection of some of the papers that were presented during a NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) on "Intelligent Systems: Safety, Reliability and Maintainability Issues" that was held in Kusadasi, Turkey during August 24- 28, 1992. Attendance at this workshop was mainly by invitation only, drawing people internationally representing industry, government and the academic community. Many of the participants were internationally recognized leaders in the topic of the workshop. The purpose of the ARW was to bring together a highly distinguished group of people with the express purpose of debating where the issues of safety, reliability and maintainability place direct and tangible constraints on the development of intelligent systems. As a consequence, one of the major debating points in the ARW was the definition of intelligence, intelligent behaviour and their relation to complex dynamic systems. Two major conclusions evolved from the ARW are: 1. A continued need exists to develop formal, theoretical frameworks for the architecture of such systems, together with a reflection on the concept of intelligence. 2. There is a need to focus greater attention to the role that the human play in controlling intelligent systems. The workshop began by considering the typical features of an intelligent system. The complexity associated with multi-resolutional architectures was then discussed, leading to the identification of a necessity for the use of a combinatorial synthesis/approach. This was followed by a session on human interface issues.
이 책은 에드워드 그랜트의 방대한 독창적 연구에 기초해 이와 같은 초기 연구의 한계를 극복하면서 기존의 연구들을 종합한 중세 과학의 훌륭한 입문서다. 교과서의 형태로 씌어졌고, 따라서 짧은 지면 속에 고대 그리스 과학의 쇠퇴, 중세 대학에서 과학의 도입과 정착 과정, 중세 과학과 신학 사이의 갈등과 타협, 중세의 천문학과 우주론을 잘 정리해서 다루고 있다. 특히 이 책에서 그랜트 교수는 암흑기부터 중세 말기에 이르기까지 중세 서유럽에서 행해진 자연에 대한 탐구가 신학, 철학과 어떠한 관련을 맺으며 발전했고, 또 그러한 발전의 성과물과 한계가 무엇이었는가를 아리스토텔레스주의 과학을 중심으로 예리하게 분석하고 있다. 이 책은 미국을 비롯한 외국의 대학에서 과학사 초급 과정의 중세 과학 강좌 교과서로 널리 사용될 정도로 중세 과학과 관련된 기본적이고 중요한 사실들을 간결하게 서술하고 있다. 1277년 금지령, 유명론자들의 자연철학, 중세 과학과 과학 혁명의 관계 등 중세 과학에 관한 중요한 사건과 특징에 대한 저자의 해석은 독창적이며 또한 포괄적이다.
중세를 전공한 저자는 다른 시기를 전공한 역사학자들이 잘 파악하지 못한 중세 과학의 흥미로운 특성들을 잘 드러내고 있다. 예를 들어 중세 물리학의 ‘내적 저항’ 개념을 사용하면 구성이 같은 두 물체는 무게에 관계없이 같은 속도로 낙하한다는 결론이 얻어지며, 중세 임페투스 역학에 의하면 임페투스가 다 소진된 물체는 일정한 속도로 계속 운동한다는 결과를 얻는다. 머튼 칼리지의 학자들은 기하학을 사용해서 운동을 분석했는데, 이들은 이로부터 ‘자연스럽게 가속한 운동’의 경우에 진행한 거리는 시간의 제곱에 비례한다는 결과도 유도했다. 이 모든 결론은 갈릴레오가 17세기 초엽에 근대 역학의 새 장을 열면서 얻어낸 결과와 놀랄 만치 흡사하다.

그렇지만 그랜트는 이러한 유사성을 가지고 과학 혁명이 14세기에 시작되었다던가, 혹은 14세기 중세 과학에 이미 과학 혁명의 씨앗이 들어 있었다고 성급하게 결론짓지 않고 있다. 중세 학자들은 자연에 존재하는 물체의 운동 그 자체에 관심이 있었던 것이 아니라, 철학적인 지적 훈련 비슷한 것으로 운동에 대한 논의를 이어 갔다. 또 많은 경우에 이들의 논의는 아리스토텔레스 자연철학의 문제를 그의 체계 속에서 해결하는 방식을 택했다. 이들은 자연 현상의 인과 관계를 찾아내서 현상을 설명하려고 하기보다는, “현상을 구제하는(save the phenomena)” 단계에 만족했다는 것이다. 자연과 과학을 보는 관점에서 중세 자연철학자들은 자연의 실재를 수학적으로 이해할 수 있다고 믿었던 코페르니쿠스나 갈릴레오와 무척 달랐던 것이다. 그랜트는 이 책에서 중세 과학의 놀라운 업적을 보이면서 그 한계를 꼼꼼하게 짚어 내고 있다.
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