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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

7 - Method and the study of nature

from II - Logic, language, and abstract objects
Summary
Historical discussion of method in the seventeenth century has long focused on the supposed development of modern scientific method, attempting thereby to explain the Scientific Revolution. This chapter, however, concerns method as a logical and philosophical category; it does not purport to examine or reconstruct the procedures used by philosophers in producing new knowledge, except to the extent that these involved explicit appeal to method. Seventeenth-century philosophers inherited two more or less distinct conceptions of method, one of which had been elaborated by humanist pedagogues intent on providing guidelines to students for the proper presentation of entire disciplines. Jacopo Zabarella referred to the two principal stages as the resolutive and compositive methods, following terminology derived from a commentary tradition drawing on Galen's use of those terms. Francis Bacon associated the word methodus with the pedagogical method, and made use of the handy Ciceronian translation of its Greek prototype: via et ratio.
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The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055451
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521307635
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Bacon The Advancement of Learning, Bk. 2, XVII.2 (in Bacon 1860–4, vol. 6).
Bacon , Instauratio magna (Bacon 1860–4, vol. I.; trans. ibid., vol. 8).
Huygens , Traité de la lumière (1690), chap. I, in Huygens 1888–1950, vol. 19.
Pascal Blaise, De l'esprit geometrique et de l'art de persuader, in Pascal 1963.