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The Death of Nature: the Scientific Revolution

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  1. The Death of Nature: the Scientific Revolution Making the world rational Last gasp of the medieval mind

  2. I. Pre-scientific worldview

  3. A.Medieval cosmology • natural/supernatural combined monotheistic/animistic

  4. B. Aristotelianism 1. Thomas Aquinas = blend Christianity and rationalism (1200s)

  5. II. Early Science

  6. A. the Universe 1. Copernican Revolution - 1543 On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres

  7. Copernicus and his solar system

  8. 2. Kepler’s laws of planetary motion - universe not “perfect” - challenges Aristotelian logic

  9. 3. Isaac Newton = natural laws

  10. - 3 Laws of Thermodynamics * objects at rest… * redirection proportional to force * equal & opposite reaction - Principia Mathematica, 1692

  11. B. The human body 1. Chemical theory = Paracelsus (1500s AD) chemicals can be measured amount v. nature

  12. 3. Robert Boyle The Sceptical Chymist (1661) physiology & natural law

  13. 4. William Harvey - body as machine scientific methods & anatomy

  14. C. Implications for the non-human world 1. Holistic ecology - peasant culture 2. Arcadian ecology - Gilbert White, Natural History of Selborne

  15. 3. Imperial Ecology - Francis Bacon - deductive reasoning - form understanding of universe by collecting vast amounts of data - “reductionist” = make nature a machine

  16. D. Science Enthroned 1. Government Support Royal Academy, Academie de Science 2. Technological advances - James Watt’s steam engine; navigational techniques; metallurgy; chemistry; explosives; mining; etc.

  17. III. The backlash

  18. A. The Inquisition 1. Heresy

  19. B. Witchcraft hysteria 1. Causes? - social dislocation - religious wars 2. The Hammer of Witches, 1486[Sprenger & Kramer]

  20. 3. “traditional” witchcraft expression of holistic ecology “big” & “little” magic 4. Role of women

  21. Anti-witch hysteria: last gasp of the medieval world - division of Christianity - market dislocation - decline of the irrational