Augustine to Galileo: The History of Science, A.D. 400- 1650

By A. C. Crombie | Go to book overview

PREFACE

ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE DEVELOPMENTS IN the world of scholarly letters in the last generation, and especially since the end of the late War, has been the growth of the study of the history of science both as a professional historical discipline and among the interests of the general reader. Considering how science has quietly come to take a central position in our culture this is perhaps not surprising; some knowledge of the history of science has become unavoidably part of the acquisition of historical awareness. It is precisely the period covered by this book that has attracted perhaps the most attention, and it is because of the interest shown in the original edition that it is now being re-issued.

Certainly the interest shown in this period is not difficult to explain. It has long been a matter of curiosity to know something of the scientific thought of those medieval centuries in which so many other essential aspects of our civilisation, ranging from the theory and practice of law and government to the character of feeling and execution in poetry and the plastic arts, had their genesis and formation. I hope that in these pages the reader curious to know something of the history of medieval science, not simply as the background to modern science but as interesting in itself, may find at least a general guide to his inquiries. Deceptive both in its similarities to and in its differences from 17th-century science, the scientific thought of the period from Augustine to Galileo was a series of actions in the great adventure of philosophical reformation that separates the classical world from our own.

Although the stories of Greek science and of modern science have been told more than once in recent works,

-xi-

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