THE GROWTH OF LEARNING IN THE WEST
When we examine the beginnings of political theory we reach back into late Greek antiquity. Similarly, when we turn to the origins of modern science we find that we must also go back and examine Greek science and philosophy. Nor is such an examination of only academic interest, since modern science and philosophy are built largely upon that learning or at least upon that learning as it was modified by the Islamic and medieval Western schoolmen. Before examining the medieval legacy to modern science, an examination of science in antiquity is necessary.
How far back we can profitably trace the history of science depends to a great extent upon our definition of science. For the point of view of this account, we may think of science as systematic attempts to interpret, describe, and/or explain natural phenomena and the logical, mathematical, and physical tools necessary for those attempts. The breadth of such a definition permits us to investigate the most important roots of modern science. What is characteristic of modern science and distinguishes it from scientific endeavor in antiquity is the necessary use of careful observation and experiment as criteria for the acceptance of scientific theory. There were numerous instances in antiquity of the use of careful observation and even experimentation to confirm scientific theory, but Greek science did not consistently, exclusively, and of necessity utilize them as criteria of science.
From the period of man's earliest development through the rise of civilization in the valley of the Nile and in the Land of the Two Rivers (Mesopo-