History of Science: Antiquity to 1700 : The Great Courses: History of Science

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Lawrence M. Principe
  • Series: The Great Courses: History of Science
  • 18 hrs and 30 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

For well over 2,000 years, much of our fundamental "desire to know" has focused on science. Our commitment to science and technology has been so profound that these stand as probably the most powerful influences on human culture. To truly understand our Western heritage, our contemporary society, and ourselves as individuals, we need to know what science is and how it developed.
In this 36-lecture series, one of science's most acclaimed teachers takes you through science's complex evolution of thought and discovery, often originating from ideas that by today's technological perspective might be considered ridiculous or humorous, although many are still relevant today. You'll consider science's often fascinating history, from ancient times to the Scientific Revolution, in terms of several penetrating questions, including two of special importance: Who pursued science, and why? What happened, and why?
In the hands of Professor Principe, the history of science becomes far more than just a litany of dates, significant individuals, and breakthrough discoveries. In examining the evolution of science, he restores the vitally important context that has been lost from the discussion, showing how science is characterized by ideas that link eras widely separated in time. A primary theme is the relationship between science and religion. Today, we tend to see the two as separate and even antagonistic. Theology, in fact, is a principal motivator for scientific inquiry. And in the Middle Ages, Christianity and Islam were of paramount importance in preserving and furthering scientific knowledge.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very parochial view

How is this history of science from Antiquity to 1700s! Three major
cultures and their contributions are totally ignored namely Egyptians,
Indians and Chinese. If Roman engineers get coverage I think
Egyptians engineers should get some coverage as well. As far as we
know, ancient Greeks respected them for their achievements. Chinese
and Indian contributions to science are well documented but never even
mentioned in 36 lectures—let’s see a few—compass, paper making,
printing, gun power, Indo-Arabic numerals, material sciences,
astronomy, etc. And list goes on. Are these contributions not in
science but Roman bridges and European clocks are? This is really a
very poor attempt to paint Western History of Science as the history
of science of the entire World. Islamic contributions could not be
ignored as many started with old Greek text and Babylonia was included
as a starting point—alas could claim that civilization started in
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- sharad maheshwari

Good, but spotty.

What would have made History of Science: Antiquity to 1700 better?

This book is part history of science and part apologia for misguided religious intrusion into same. The parts regarding the actions of the Catholic Church I found particularly vexing partly for their selectivity (if one is going to try to mitigate the wrongs the Church has done, include all of them--for example, never was any mention made of Hypatia and the saint who oversaw her execution) and partly because they simply do not belong in a course on science. Had I realized in advance that the lecturer was a winner of the Templeton prize, I would not have bought this book.

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- Fara

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses