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    Anstey, Peter R. 2015. Experimental pedagogy and the eclipse of Robert Boyle in England. Intellectual History Review, Vol. 25, Issue. 1, p. 115.

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    Rothman, Aviva 2009. Forms of Persuasion: Kepler, Galileo, and the Dissemination of Copernicanism. Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 40, Issue. 4, p. 403.

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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

5 - Proof and Persuasion

from Part I - The New Nature
The learned culture that was transmitted through and beyond the universities of early modern Europe was structured in terms of distinct intellectual disciplines. This chapter considers early modern theories of proof and persuasion in terms of three broad categories suggested by the disciplinary structure of early modern learning: demonstration, probability, and persuasion. It discusses how these conceptions were affected by developments in the study of nature and, in particular, by the incorporation of mathematics and experiment into the discipline of natural philosophy. As the earlier quotation from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics suggested that mathematics and geometry had a privileged place with respect to the certainty of its proofs. The second principal development within natural philosophy that had a decisive impact on techniques of proof and persuasion was the experiment. Finally, the chapter explains the mechanisms of proof and persuasion in two distinct but overlapping areas: the printed book and institutions for the pursuit of natural knowledge.
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