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History of Science Francis Bacon, 1620

History of Science Online

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LibraryThing: Science in Ancient Mesopotamia Week 14: 17th-century science

17th-century science

Our focus is on the century often referred to as "The Scientific Revolution," the 17th century or 1600's, the century of Galileo (last week) and Newton (next week). This week we'll explore the rise of mechanical philosophy, which was the idea that scientific explanations should refer only to matter and motion (because nature is like a machine or clockwork). Mechanical philosophy has many ancient and medieval roots (ranging from the impetus theory of Jean Buridan to the construction of large medieval town clocks), yet its successes in the 17th century came at the expense of traditional competing perspectives that saw nature as alive, and perhaps intelligent, on the model of an organism. These diverse organicist philosophies include the chemical philosophy, Renaissance naturalism, Renaissance natural magic, hermeticism, vitalism, Neoplatonism, Aristotelianism and animism, among others. This week, focus on the interplay between mechanical and organicist philosophies of nature, and the figures who advocated one of these over another or combined them in various interesting ways.

17th-century science assignments

#

Due Date*
Pts
Activity Time
1.1 Tuesday 8/26
11:59 p.m.*
10

1. Starting Assumptions
Think about what you know already about the culture and period, share your knowledge and experience with other students in the class

30 min.
1.2 Wednesday 8/27
11:59 p.m.*
25

2. Topic 1: Competing Perpectives + Quiz
Background: Without a sense of context, history is anachronistic.
Primary sources: Without documentary evidence, history is speculation
The first of two topic assignments per week involving both background and primary sources.

90 min.
1.3 Thursday 8/28
11:59 p.m.*
25

3. Topic 2: The Meaning of science + Quiz
Background: Without a sense of context, history is anachronistic.
Primary sources: Without documentary evidence, history is speculation

The second of two topic assignments per week involving both background and primary sources.

90 min.
1.4 Friday 8/29
11:59 p.m.*
20 4. Interpretation
Unless it explains, history is trivial.
Write a short persuasive essay agreeing or disagreeing with a common interpretation about the topic and expressing your own view
.
60 min.
1.5 Monday
11:59 p.m.
10 5. Online Resource Project
Over the course of the semester, we will assemble a catalog of online resources for exploring the history of science.
60 min.
1.6 Monday 8/31
11:59 p.m.*
10

6. Reflection + Peer Responses
Think about all that you did this week, including reading the Interpretation Essays of other students, and share your thoughts and ideas with other students in the class

30 min.
 Total pts
100
Total time
6 hours

 

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HSCI 3013. History of Science to 17th centuryCreative Commons license
Kerry Magruder, Instructor, 2004
-14
Brent Purkaple, TA

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Many thanks to the pedagogical model developed in Mythology and Folklore and other online courses by Laura Gibbs, which have been an inspiration for this course.

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This course is currently undergoing major reconstruction to bring it into alignment with the new version of the course at Janux