603 – Natural Philosophy and Modern Science


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Instructor: Dr. Jay Wile
Term: Spring 2022
Time: Tuesdays 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. EDT
Dates: January 4–May 3
Credits: 3

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The great natural philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote, “Nature has some perfections to show that she is the image of God, and some defects to show that she is only His image.” In many ways, this profound statement summarizes the findings of scientists throughout history. In this course, we will read selections from Archimedes’ On Floating BodiesPtolemy’s Algamest, Bacon’s Opus Majus, Copernicus’ On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Kepler’s Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, Galileo’s The Two New Sciences, Pascal’s Account of the Great Experiment Concerning the Equilibrium of Fluids, Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Newton’s Optics, Huygens’ Treatise on Light, Ray’s The Wisdom of God as Manifested in the Works of Creation, Lavosier’s Elements of Chemistry, and Darwin’s The Origin of Species. These selections will help students learn how natural philosophy built the foundations of modern science and the pivotal role the church played in shaping it.