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God's Philosophers: How The Medieval World Laid The Foundations Of Modern Science (2009)

by James Hannam(Favorite Author)
4.05 of 5 Votes: 2
1848310706 (ISBN13: 9781848310704)
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review 1: God's Philosophers is a well written introduction to medieval natural philosophy. Throughout, Hannam argues that 'science' did not emerge from nowhere with Copernicus or Galileo. Rather, there is a long history of medieval natural philosophy that predates the so-called scientific-revolution and made it possible.Being something of a fan of medieval philosophy myself, I can't help but endorse Hannam's thesis, not only because I agree with it, but also because it's right (haha).Something interesting Hannam points out: far from advancing natural philosophy, the humanists of the fifteenth and sixteenth century probably held it back a bit. By valuing the ancients over and above the scholastics, the humanists took Aristotle and Plato to be more authoritative than Oresme and Burid... morean. As a result, natural philosophers, in a certain sense, had to redo what thinkers of the previous two centuries had already done. They had to show once again that Aristotle and Plato were not final authorities on all 'scientific' matters. This is, of course, an oversimplification, but I've never heard this argument before.In all, I'd recommend this book to anyone who takes science or the history of science seriously. It certainly puts the lie to the (obviously false) thesis that science only became possible with the demise of religion.
review 2: Hannam makes the argument that the development in philosophical thinking and study of the natural world in the middle ages is the cornerstone on which science was built during the later “scientific revolution” and that the role of the Catholic Church and medieval philosophy in the development of science is undervalued today. Hannam is a fantastic writer, in that he provides an engrossing history of the middle ages—especially providing interesting biosketches of the important philosophers of the time. Therefore, I recommend this book to popular readers of medieval history, history of science, or church history. However, Hannam’s book is not thorough enough to be considered a good academic history. He tends to provide the most interesting stories, ignoring the fact that some of his stories are controversial. Hannam also has a slightly defensive tone about the role of the Catholic Church during the middle ages. To most popular readers, I think the shortcomings of this book can be ignored, since it is a smooth and interesting read. less
Reviews (see all)
Very engaging book redefining the attitude of the church toward science during the Middle Ages.
It was alright. It felt more like an encyclopedia containing short character studies.
A vindication of the Middle ages.
very interesting
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