History is not Stagnant What will we know tomorrow?
Historians as “reverse engineers”• Historians often look at the finished product and then work backwards to find out how did we get there. – Interpretations vary even among historians • They do not all agree!
Ancient Philosophers• Socrates(469 b.c.e.-399 b.c.e.) – Credited with Socratic method using dialogue to arrive at truth• Plato (424 b.c.e.- 327 b.c.e.) – Student of Socrates and recorder of his teachings• Aristotle (384 b.c.e.- 322 b.c.e.) – Student of Plato; teacher of Alexander the Great; systemizer of knowledge in all fields• Claudius Ptolemy (90 c.e.-168 c.e.) – Geocentric theory of the universe with the universe as a set of nested spheres.
Middle Ages (400 c.e.-1400 c.e.)• Ownership of the bible was prohibited to citizens. Only religious leaders were qualified to interpret and explain the document. If “ordinary” people owned and read the bible who could predict the consequences to the order of society.
Johannes de Sacrobosco Tractatus de Sphaera, 1230• THE FOUR ELEMENTS. -- The machine of the universe is divided into two, the ethereal and the elementary region. The elementary region, existing subject to continual alteration, is divided into four there is earth, placed, as it were, as the center in the middle of all, about which is water, about water air, about air fire, which is pure and not turbid there and reaches to the sphere of the moon, as Aristotle says in his book of Meteorology. For so God, the glorious and sublime, disposed. And these are called the "four elements" which are in turn by themselves altered, corrupted and regenerated. The elements are also simple bodies which cannot be subdivided into parts of diverse forms and from whose commixture are produced various species of generated things. Three of them, in turn, surround the earth on all sides spherically, except in so far as the dry land stays the seas tide to protect the life of animate beings. All, too, are mobile except earth, which, as the center of the world, by its weight in every direction equally avoiding the great motion of the extremes, as a round body occupies the middle of the sphere.
Zodiac and Planets Circling Earth Sacrobosco, Sphaera Mundi
Renaissance (1300 c.e.-1600 c.e.)• Renaissance humanism was an attempt to re-discover the knowledge that had been held by the ancients who had been closer to the time when God spoke to man. They must have possessed advanced knowledge to construct early civilizations, but that knowledge had disappeared through time. – "prisca sapientia" sacred wisdom • If it’s new it can’t be true; If it’s old it’s good as gold• A belief began to emerge that the church may have “changed” knowledge over time to ensure and grow their own authority and power.
Johannes Gutenberg 1398 c.e.-1468 c.e. Moveable type printing press• Wood block printing had been used in China by 700 c.e.• With printing, suppression of ideas became more difficult• Ancient knowledge and the bible became more available, but much of the early printing was indulgences sold by the church for funding • Indulgences were often prayers to recite reducing years in purgatory- Remember Martin Luther?
Martin Luther (1483-1546) Address To The Nobility of the German Nation, 1520• 25. The universities also require a good, sound reformation. I must say this, let it vex whom it may. The fact is that whatever the papacy has ordered or instituted is only designed for the propagation of sin and error. What are the universities, as at present ordered, but, as the book of Maccabees says, "schools of Greek fashion and heathenish manners" (2 Macc. iv. 12, 13), full of dissolute living, where very little is taught of the Holy Scriptures of the Christian faith, and the blind heathen teacher, Aristotle, rules even further than Christ? Now, my advice would be that the books of Aristotle, the Physics, the Metaphysics, Of the Soul, Ethics, which have hitherto been considered the best, be altogether abolished, with all others that profess to treat of nature, though nothing can be learned from them, either of natural or of spiritual things. Besides, no one has been able to understand his meaning, and much time has been wasted and many noble souls vexed with much useless labour, study, and expense. I venture to say that any potter has more knowledge of natural things than is to be found in these books. My heart is grieved to see how many of the best Christians this accursed, proud, knavish heathen has fooled and led astray with his false words. God sent him as a plague for our sins.
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, 1543• Began work as part of church sponsored calendar reform.• Was a proponent of the view of an Earth in daily motion about its axis and in yearly motion around a stationary sun maintaining circular orbit. This theory was rejected by the Catholic church. – Aristarchos of Samos presented the first known heliocentric model of the solar system around 230 b.c.e.
Tycho Brahe 1546-1601 De nova stella, 1573• Brahe refuted the theory of the celestial spheres by showing the celestial heavens were not in an unchanging state of perfection as previously assumed by Aristotle and Ptolemy.
Brahe for FunWhile studying at University of Rostock inGermany in 1566, Tycho Brahe lost the bridgeof his nose in a duel against fellow Danishnobleman, Manderup Parsbjerg. For the restof his life, Brahe wore a replacement made ofsilver and gold, using a paste to keep itattached.When Tychos tomb was opened in 1901green marks were found on his skull,suggesting copper. Historians have speculatedthat he wore a number of differentprosthetics for different occasions, noting thata copper nose would have been morecomfortable and less heavy than a preciousmetal one.
Brahe for Fun• Tycho was said to own one percent of the entire wealth of Denmark at one point in the 1580’s, and he often held large social gatherings in his castle. He kept a dwarf named Jepp (whom Tycho believed to be clairvoyant) as a court jester who sat under the table during dinner.• Tycho also had a tame elk ( or moose). The animal died on a visit to entertain a nobleman. Apparently during dinner the elk had drunk a lot of beer, fallen down the stairs, and died.• Tycho suddenly contracted a bladder or kidney ailment after attending a banquet in Prague, and died eleven days later in 1601. According to Keplers account, Brahe had refused to leave the banquet to relieve himself because it would have been a breach of etiquette. – Recent investigations have suggested that Brahe died from mercury poisoning—extremely toxic levels of it have been found in hairs from his moustache.
Johannes Kepler (1571 c.e. -1630 c.e.) Astronomia nova, 1609• Kepler had been an assistant and student of Brahe.• Argued for heliocentric movement of the planets, including their elliptical path and movement of free floating bodies as opposed to objects on rotating spheres.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina, 1615• The reason produced for condemning the opinion that the earth moves and the sun stands still in many places in the Bible one may read that the sun moves and the earth stands still. Since the Bible cannot err; it follows as a necessary consequence that anyone takes a erroneous and heretical position who maintains that the sun is inherently motionless and the earth movable.• With regard to this argument, I think in the first place that it is very pious to say and prudent to affirm that the holy Bible can never speak untruth-whenever its true meaning is understood. But I believe nobody will deny that it is often very abstruse, and may say things which are quite different from what its bare words signify. Hence in expounding the Bible if one were always to confine oneself to the unadorned grammatical meaning, one might; fall into error. Not only contradictions and propositions far from true might thus be made to appear in the Bible, but even grave heresies and follies. Thus it would be necessary to assign to God feet, hands and eyes, as well as corporeal and human affections, such as anger, repentance, hatred, and sometimes even the forgetting of` things past and ignorance of those to come. These propositions uttered by the Holy Ghost were set down in that manner by the sacred scribes in order to accommodate them to the capacities of the common people, who are rude and unlearned.
Rene Descartes (1596–1650) Discourse on the Method, 1637• Descartes revived the Socratic method and took skepticism to the radical extreme. – Skepticism argues it is impossible to know anything. Descarte established the extreme with his philosophical statement cogito ergo sum- “I think, therefore I am.”
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