Leader: Dr. Michael Ivins
Dates: June 5 - June 16
Days: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
Times: 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm (AZ), 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm (CDT)
The rise of modern science in the 17th century can be characterized by three essential features: an emphasis on direct observation, the development and employment of technology, and the mathematization of nature. Together with a fundamental shift in the aim of science from understanding the whole of nature and our place in it to the project of the “mastery and possession of nature” (René Descartes’ Discourse on Method, 1637), these three modes of understanding privileged by modern science have shaped our understanding of the world in ways we may not be entirely aware of. This makes the study of the tradition of the sciences as much a necessary part of our historical self-knowledge as the study of the humanities and even the facts of history.
In this series of seminars, we will read and discuss selections from great works in the sciences by authors who were primarily interested in what we can learn from the observation of nature through empirical and experimental means. As a brief examination of the legacy of Sir Francis Bacon, (1561-1626) who laid the foundation of what we now commonly refer to as “the scientific method,” we will examine works of scientists who emphasized an experiential approach to practicing science; this examination will include reading selections from Antoine Lavosier (1743-1794, chemist and biologist), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (poet, biologist, and physicist, 1749-1832), and Michael Faraday (chemist and physicist, 1791-1867).
Faraday - Faraday's Experimental Researches in Electricity: The First Series (Green Lion Press)
Lavoisier - Oxygen, Acids, and Water: Eight Chapters from the Elementary Treatise on Chemistry (Green Lion Press)
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