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The Historical Context of Modern Science . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . AS 3CF3

Fall 2009 . | . Monday 14:30-17:20 . MDCL 1009

Richard T. W. Arthur . | . Office: UH305 . . .Hours: Wed 15:30 , Fri 11:30

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Provisional Syllabus

*-denotes on-line resources, available through the library.

1. Monday, Sept 14: Introduction: (No reading assigned)

2. Monday, Sept 21: The Ancient Greeks; Aristotle

Lindberg, Beginnings, 1-76.
Koestler, The Sleepwalkers, pp. 9-84.

3. Monday, Sept 28: Greek and Roman Science

Lindberg, Beginnings, 76-162.
Koestler, pp. 87-117.

4. Oct 5: Islamic Science

Lindberg, Beginnings, 163-253.
Bala, chs 1-6, 1-62.

5. Oct 12: Copernicus

(and also Thanksgiving; so no class; but the reading is:)
Lindberg, Beginnings, 254-285.
Koestler, pp. 121-224.
Bala, ch 7, 63-84.
STUDY QUESTIONS for weeks 5 and 6

6. Oct 19: Kepler and Brahe

Koestler, pp. 227-383.
STUDY QUESTIONS for week 6 (Lindberg)

7. Oct 26: Kepler, Galileo and Optics

Koestler, pp. 384-503.
Lindberg, Beginnings, 313-320.
Bala, ch 8, 85-94.
Galileo on the tides  

8. Nov 2: Matter Theory

Lindberg, Beginnings, 286-296.
Newman, chs 1-3, 23-81.
Recommended: *-Michael, Emily (1997). "Daniel Sennert on Matter and Form: At the Juncture of the Old and New", Early Science and Medicine, 2, 272-299.

9. Nov 9: Matter Theory (continued)

Lindberg, Beginnings, 286-296.
Newman, chs 1-3, 23-81.
STUDY QUESTIONS same as for week 8
STUDY QUESTIONS for week 9 (Michael)
Recommended: *-Michael, Emily (1997). "Daniel Sennert on Matter and Form: At the Juncture of the Old and New", Early Science and Medicine, 2, 272-299.
10. Nov 16: Atoms and Chymistry
Bala, ch 9-10, 95-117.
Newman, chs 4-5 only, 85-153. **NB**
Recommended: *-Meinel, Christoph (1988). "Early Seventeenth-Century Atomism: Theory, Epistemology, and the Insufficiency of Experiment." Isis, 79, 1 (March), 68-103.

11. Nov 23: Theories of Motion; Newtonian Physics

Koestler, pp. 504-553.
Lindberg, Beginnings, 299-313.

12: Nov 30: Origins of Modern Science

Lindberg, Beginnings, ch. 14, 357-367.
Newman, Intro, 1-20, 153-225.
Bala, chs 11-14, 119-183.
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Research Topics

First Half of Term

for Sept 21 or 28:

1. Give a brief sketch of Plato's cosmology [DREYER , History, ch. III.] (Victoria-Sept 28)

2. How did Aristarchus determine the ratio of the actual diameters of the Sun and Moon, given the ratios he had established for the ratio of the Sun's and Moon's distances from the Earth? [VAN HELDEN, Measuring the Universe.]

3. Given these ratios, how did ancient astronomers go about calculating the actual distances of heavenly bodies? [VAN HELDEN, Measuring the Universe.]

4. How did Ptolemy determine the order of the planets from the Sun? [VAN HELDEN, Measuring the Universe.] (Kola-Sept 21)

5. Give a sketch of the cosmological systems of either Eudoxus or Aristotle. [DREYER, History, chs. IV & V.] (Margo, Amy-Sept 28)

For Oct 5 or 19:

6. What contributions to astronomy were made by Moslem astronomers? [DREYER, History, ch. XI.] (Jennifer: Oct 26)

7. What advantages did Copernicus's system have over Ptolemy's? [DREYER, History, ch. XIII.] (Lily, Ellen-Oct 5)

8. What was Giordano Bruno's contribution to the spread of Copernicanism? [KOYRÉ, From the Closed World, SINGER, Giordano Bruno.] (Natalie: Oct 26))

9. What were the main achievements of the Kerala mathematicians? (George JOSEPH: references in Bala] (John: Oct 19, Mary: Oct 26)

10. Give a sketch of the cosmological system of Tycho Brahe. [DREYER, History, ch. XIV; VICTOR THOREN, The Lord of Uraniborg, ch. 8]

11. Explain how the Islamic philosopher Avicenna defends Aristotle's theory of vision [LINDBERG, Theories of Vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler, 43-52]. (Keon: Oct 26)

12. Give an account of Leonardo da Vinci's work on optics [LINDBERG, Theories of Vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler, 154-168]. (Jackie, Caitlin: Oct 19)

13. Give an account of Kepler's contributions to the theory of the retinal image [LINDBERG, Theories of Vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler, 178-208]. (Caroline: Oct 26)

14. Aristotle on Method (Sarah: Oct 19)

15. Aquinas (Erica: Oct 19)

Second Half of Term

for Nov 9:

1. Give an account of Descartes's theory of colors, and of the rainbow. [Sabra, Theories of Light, II + Descartes, "Of the Rainbow" (pp. 332-345)]. (Ellen, Amy)

2. Explain how Descartes might have discovered the sine law of refraction by proceeding along the lines of Ibn al-Haytham's treatment. [Sabra, Theories of Light, IV].

3. Give an account of Fermat's Principle of Least Time. [Sabra, Theories of Light, V]. (Jaclyn, Lily)

4. What were the criticisms of Aristotle's physics of motion given by Giovanni Benedetti, and how was his impetus physics supposed to resolve the difficulties he found? [KOYRÉ, Galileo Studies, pp. 21-27]. (Jennifer)

5. Give an account of the impetus physics propounded by Galileo's teacher, Francisco Bonamico [KOYRÉ, Galileo Studies, pp. 9-20]. (Erica, Caitlin--postponed to Nov 16)

For Nov 16:

6. Give a sketch of Descartes's explanation of magnetism, showing how it is consistent with his philosophical principles. What problems do you see with this type of explanation? [DESCARTES, Principles of Philosophy, (Miller transl.), pp. 242-272]. (Sarah, Randall--postponed to Nov 23)

7. Give an account of Pierre Gassendi's contributions to the clarification of the concepts of inertia and gravity. [KOYRÉ, Galileo Studies, pp. 244-251].

8. Compare the views of Galileo and Beeckman on (what we call) inertia. Why did they propose a kind of circular inertia, and what is wrong with this idea from a modern perspective? [Course Package + KOYRÉ, Galileo Studies, Part III, Cohen ch. 5]. (Mary)


For Nov 23:

9. Describe any three of Descartes's Rules of Impact, and show how they are supposed to follow from his laws of nature. [DESCARTES, Principles of Philosophy, (Miller transl.), pp. 64-69] (Kola)

10. What are the main similarities and differences between Descartes' three laws of motion and Newton's three laws of nature? [DREYER, History, chs. IV & V.] (Natalie, Keon)

11. How might Tycho Brahe have been influenced by Chinese observational astronomy? [BALA's sources, p. 160]. (Johnny)

For Nov 30:

12. What are the differences between the atoms of the kalam tradition and those of Democritus and the Ancient Greeks? [BALA's sources, ARTHUR's article] (Jill, Vicky)

13. Wild card: devise your own research assignment, following up some relevant item of interest in the history of science (of the same kind as those given above). You must OK this with me before proceeding. (Margo, Caroline: TBD)

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