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A History of Natural Philosophy
From the Ancient World to the Nineteenth Century


  • Date Published: March 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521689571

£ 25.99

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About the Authors
  • Natural philosophy encompassed all natural phenomena of the physical world. It sought to discover the physical causes of all natural effects and was little concerned with mathematics. By contrast, the exact mathematical sciences were narrowly confined to various computations that did not involve physical causes, functioning totally independently of natural philosophy. Although this began slowly to change in the late Middle Ages, a much more thoroughgoing union of natural philosophy and mathematics occurred in the seventeenth century and thereby made the Scientific Revolution possible. The title of Isaac Newton's great work, The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, perfectly reflects the new relationship. Natural philosophy became the 'Great Mother of the Sciences', which by the nineteenth century had nourished the manifold chemical, physical, and biological sciences to maturity, thus enabling them to leave the 'Great Mother' and emerge as the multiplicity of independent sciences we know today.

    • Readable history of natural philosophy, from its pre-literate origins to the nineteenth century, which discusses how this history was important for the emergence of modern science
    • Includes discussions of the Arabic and Islamic traditions of natural philosophy
    • Has a breadth that will make the book valuable for university courses
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Edward Grant is one of the world's greatest authorities on medieval science. In the book under review he brings together his lifelong research on medieval science to reflect on the relation between natural philosophy and science.' Medical History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521689571
    • length: 376 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 150 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Ancient Egypt to Plato
    2. Aristotle (384–322 BC)
    3. Late antiquity
    4. Islam and the eastward shift of Aristotelian natural philosophy
    5. Natural philosophy before the Latin translations
    6. Translations in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
    7. Natural philosophy after the translations
    8. The form and content of late medieval natural philosophy
    9. The relations between natural philosophy and theology
    10. The transformation of medieval natural philosophy from the early modern period to the nineteenth century

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • History of Science
    • Knowledge and Belief in Medieval to Early Modern Europe
    • The History of Science and Religion
    • Topics in History of Medicine and Human Reproduction
  • Author

    Edward Grant, Indiana University, Bloomington
    Edward Grant is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author and editor of twelve books, including God and Reason in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2001), and The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages: Their Religious, Institutional and Intellectual Contexts (Cambridge, 1996). He is also the author of approximately ninety articles on the history of science and natural philosophy. He was Vice-President and President of the History of Science Society and was awarded the prestigious George Sarton Medal of that society.

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