HPSC2100 & HPSC2900 (advanced) - Introduction to History of Science: The Birth of Modern Science

Semester 1 - 2013



Prerequisites: 24 credit points of junior units of study
This is a qualifying unit of study for History and Philosophy of Science Senior units of study.
6 credit points
Three lectures (3x 1-hour), plus one tutorial (1x 1-hour) per week (see timetable)

Assessment: essays, tutorial work, tests
Textbook:Dear, Peter (2001), Revolutionising the Sciences:European Knowledge and Ambitions, 1500-1700.

Note: Unless enrolled in the Talented Student Program or 24 junior units with a distinction average have been obtained, departmental permission is required for enrolment in HPSC2900 (advanced).

Science: Where did it come from?

Where is it going?

What did it leave behind?


Modern culture is a culture of science. Modern Western science is the outcome of a historical process of 2,500 years. In this course we investigate how Western knowledge—theoretical, technological and medical—acquired the characteristics of modern science: the social structure, contents, values and methods. We will look at some primary chapters of this process, from antiquity to the end of the seventeenth century, and try to understand their implications to understanding contemporary science in its culture.

In This Unit of Study We Will Discuss:

  • Ancient Astronomy
  • Magic and Medicine
  • Light and Force
  • Science and Religion
  • The Scientific Revolution