History of Science Essays

  1. Using examples drawn from sixteenth-century writers on astronomy/cosmology and medicine/anatomy, explain how Renaissance humanists presented their contributions to the tradition of natural knowledge from antiquity through the medieval period and into the Renaissance, and what audiences they were trying to reach. Be sure to explain what you mean by ‘medieval’ and ‘Renaissance’.
  2. How was the Greek tradition of natural knowledge transmitted and transformed after it reentered the Latin West in the medieval period? In your response, be sure to discuss both specific philosophical issues and specific institutional contexts (think about educational and religious organizations).
    • 1. transmitted
    •   translation (averroists) (+ religion)
    •   universities (paris, banned aristotle)
    •   cathedral universities?
    •   printing

    • 2. transformed
    •   translation (radical aristotelianism)
    •   technology (patronage?)
    •   valla—grammar—greek knowledge as a culture
    •   hellenization
    •   humors (medicine, shakespeare)
    •   platonic forms --> planets

    renaissance humanists
  3. How did the relationship between astronomy and cosmology develop from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance? Use at least three examples, and be sure to define instrumentalism and realism in your answer.
    • 1. Sacrobosco
    •   ptolemy's 2-sphere model explained (instrumentalist) for use, however also realist because unlabeled (physical mechanism)
    •   theory of the planets lit
    •   tried to explain planetary motion without cosmology (kept separate)
    • 2. Copernicus
    •   read in instrumentalist view
    •   institutional divide btwn cos/astron in universities
    •   astronomers = instrumentalist
    •   unsigned preface - osiander

    • 3. Kepler
    •   combined astronomy + cosmology
    •   platonic shapes/nested solids = distance btwn planets
    •   realism = nature of physical reality (how shit works physically)
    •   why certain distance? = cosmological question
Card Set
History of Science Essays