The Scientific Revolution (HPSC3016)


Modern Western science has a number of characteristics that distinguish it from other scientific cultures. It ascribes its tremendous success to sophisticated experiments and meticulous observation. It understands the universe in terms of tiny particles in motion and the forces between them. It is characterised by high- powered mathematical theorising and the rejection of any intention, value or purpose in Nature. Many of these characteristics were shaped in the 17th century, during the so-called scientific revolution. We will consider them from an integrated historical- philosophical perspective, paying special attention to the intellectual motivations of the canonical figures of this revolution and the cultural context in which they operated. Topics will include: experimentation and instrumentation, clocks, mechanistic philosophy, and the changing role of mathematics.

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Two 1 hour lectures and two 1 hour tutorials per week. Individual student consultation as required.


10x150wd questions (40%) and 1x 3500wd essay (40%) and 1 x Experiment (10%) and Class Participation (10%)


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(HPSC2100 or HPSC2900) and (HPSC2101 or HPSC2901)

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