Alexandre Koyré’s Essential Features of the Scientific Revolution

Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter I am going to (a) examine the logical connections between various descriptions of the Scientific Revolution proposed by Alexandre Koyré and (b) propose an attentive and detailed reading of texts written by Koyré in different periods of his life in order to identify various aspects of his interpretation of the revolution in thought that occurred in early modern Europe. His most famous description of the Scientific Revolution (the dual characterization) indicates two aspects of the process that led to the emergence of classical physics: “destruction of the Cosmos” and “geometrization of space”. However, Koyré frequently used other expressions for characterization of the period, such as “mathematization of nature” or transition “from the world of more or less to the universe of precision” and “from the closed world to the open universe”. One could expect that Koyré would try to reduce his initial dual characterization to one single formula. I argue here that, on the contrary, the duality of description had a special meaning which permits us to keep in focus the complexity of the intellectual change that occurred during the seventeenth century, when a new science was rising from a new conception of reality and a new world-view was emerging from the new science.

Keywords

Scientific Revolution Intellectual revolution Dual characterization Destruction of the Cosmos Geometrization of space World-views Mathematization 

References

  1. Bianchi L (1990) L’esattezza impossibile: scienza e “calculations” nel XIV secolo. In Bianchi L, Randi E (ed). Le verità dissonanti. Laterza, Roma–Bari, pp. 119–50.Google Scholar
  2. Burtt EA (1925) The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science. A historical and critical essay. Keagan Paul, Trench. Trübner, London.Google Scholar
  3. Cohen HF (1994) The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago–London.Google Scholar
  4. Coumet E (1987) Alexandre Koyré: La révolution scientifique introuvable ? History and Technology 4:497–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dijksterhuis EJ (1924) Val en worp. Een bijdrage tot de geschiedenis der mechanica van Aristoteles tot Newton. Groningen, Noordhoff.Google Scholar
  6. Dijksterhuis EJ (1950) De mechanisering van het wereldbeeld Meulenhoff, Amsterdam [English Translation: Id. (1969) The Mechanization of the World Picture. The Oxford University Press, Oxford]Google Scholar
  7. Drago A (1994) Interpretazione delle frasi caratteristiche di Koyré e loro estensione alla storia della fisica dell’Ottocento. In Vinti C (ed). Alexandre Koyré: l’avventura intellettuale. ESI, Napoli.Google Scholar
  8. Hessen B, Grossmann H (2009) The Social and Economics Roots of the Scientific Revolution, Freudenthal G, McLaughlin P (eds). Springer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  9. Husserl E (1936) Die Krisis der Europäischen Wissenschaften und die Transzendentale Phänomenologie. Ein Einleitung in die Phänomenologische Philosophie. Philosophia 1:77–176 [English Translation: Id., (1970) The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. An Introduction to phenomenological philosophy. Evanston, IL.Google Scholar
  10. Koyré A (1935–1936) À l’aurore de la science moderne : la jeunesse de Galilée. Annales de l’Université de Paris, 10:540–551; 11:1933–1956.Google Scholar
  11. Koyré A (1943) Galileo and Plato. Journal of the History of Ideas 4:400–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Koyré A (1953) An Experiment in Measurement. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 97:222–237.Google Scholar
  13. Koyré A (1955) Influence of Philosophic Trends on the Formulation of Scientific Theories. The Scientific Monthly 80:107–111.Google Scholar
  14. Koyré A (1956) The Origins of Modern Science: A New Interpretation. Diogenes 4:1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Koyré A (1957) From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  16. Koyré A ([1950] 1965) The Significance of Newtonian Synthesis. In Koyré A (1965) Newtonian Studies. The Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 3–24.Google Scholar
  17. Koyré A ([1939] 1966a) Études Galiléennes. Hermann, Paris.Google Scholar
  18. Koyré A ([1957] 1966b) Gassendi et la science de son temps. In Koyré A (1966) Études d’histoire de la pensée scientifique. Presses universitaires de France, Paris, pp. 284–296.Google Scholar
  19. Koyré A ([1948] 1971a) Du monde de l’ « à-peu-près » à l’univers de la précision. In Koyré A (1971) Études d’histoire de la pensée philosophique. Éditions Gallimard, Paris, pp. 341–362.Google Scholar
  20. Koyré A ([1948] 1971b) Les philosophes et la machine. In Koyré A (1971) Études d’histoire de la pensée philosophique. Éditions Gallimard, Paris, pp. 305–339.Google Scholar
  21. Koyré A ([1949] 1971) Le vide et l’espace infini au XIVe siècle. In Koyré A (1971) Études d’histoire de la pensée philosophique. Éditions Gallimard, Paris, pp. 37–92.Google Scholar
  22. Koyré A (1986) De la mystique à la science. Cours, conférences et documents (1922–1962). Redondi P (ed). E.H.E.S.S., Paris.Google Scholar
  23. Nicolson MH (1950) The Breaking of the Circle: Studies in the Effect of the “New Science” Upon Seventeenth Century Poetry. The Northwestern University Press, Evanston.Google Scholar
  24. Seidengart J (2006) Dieu, l’univers et la sphère infinie. Penser l’infinité cosmique à l’aube de la science classique. Albin Michel, Paris.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research University Higher School of EconomicsMoscowRussian Federation

Personalised recommendations