Course: The history of science in Antiquity and the Middle Ages

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Course title The history of science in Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Course code KFI/DVAD
Organizational form of instruction Lecture
Level of course Doctoral
Year of study not specified
Semester Winter and summer
Number of ECTS credits 5
Language of instruction Czech
Status of course Compulsory-optional
Form of instruction Face-to-face
Work placements This is not an internship
Recommended optional programme components None
  • Demjančuk Nikolaj, Doc. PhDr. CSc.
  • Špelda Daniel, Doc. PhDr. Ph.D.
Course content
Ancient medicine (Hippocrates, Galenus, Albert the Great); astronomy (Hipparchus, Aristarchus, Ptolemy); main represantatives and ideals of the Arabic astronomy; astronomy in the curriculum of the medieval universities); natural philosophy/physics; natural history (Aristotle and his school; Pliny; medieval natural history); religion and science (relatinship between faith and knowledge of nature in the Middle Ages); classification of sciences according to Aristotle and his medieval followers; scientific methodology according to Aristotle and his followers; empirical methodology; scientific institutions; social envinronment of science and natural philosophy. Topics for exam: 1. Ancient astrology and medicine 2. Ancient astronomy (Hipparchus, Aristarchus, Ptolemy) 3. Ancient natural history (Aristotle, Pliny) 4. Ancient natural philosophy (Aristotle, stoicism) 5. Aristotle's methodology of science 6. The classification of sciences in Antiquity and in the Middle Ages and its role in the scholastic system of education 7. Relationship between faith and science/natural philosophy in the Middle Ages 8. Medieval astronomy (main themes and personalities) 9. Medieval physics (main themes and personalities) 10. Medieval natural history (Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon)

Learning activities and teaching methods
Lecture supplemented with a discussion, Group discussion, Self-study of literature
  • Contact hours - 26 hours per semester
  • Individual project (40) - 40 hours per semester
  • Preparation for an examination (30-60) - 64 hours per semester
professional knowledge
Course requires no special prior knowledge and skills.
learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to define and describe the history of main scientific disciplines of the Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages. They distinguish individual theories, they explain origins of inventions and findings and they clarify relationship of inventions and findings to the intellectual, social and cultural context of the period. Further, students relate individual scientific, philosophical, religious, cultural and social attitudes and ideas of the period. They analyze and compare scientific theories and ideals on the basis of their lecture of primary and secondary literature. Owing to that lecture they further differentiate and formulate presuppositions and consequences of scientific ideas in the periods of the Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages and they summarize and evaluate their meaning for the history of the European culture.
teaching methods
Lecture supplemented with a discussion
Group discussion
Self-study of literature
assessment methods
Oral exam
Recommended literature
  • Barnes, J. Cambridge Companion to Aristotle. New York, 2006.
  • Beran, A. - Fischerová, S. Medicína mezi jedinečným a univerzálním. Červený Kostelec, 2013.
  • Crombie, A. C. The history of science from Augustine to Galileo : two volumes bound as one. New York : Dover Publications, 1995. ISBN 0-486-28850-1.
  • Gotthelf, A. Teleology, First Principles, and Scientific Method in Aristotle's Biology. Oxford, 2012.
  • Graeser, Andreas. Řecká filosofie klasického období : sofisté, Sókratés a sokratikové, Platón a Aristotelés. Praha : Oikoymenh, 2000. ISBN 80-7298-019-X.
  • Grant, E. Physical Science in the Middle Ages. New York, 1971.
  • Grant, Edward. A history of natural philosophy : from the ancient world to the nineteenth century. 1st ed. New York : Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-521-68957-1.
  • Grant, Edward. God and reason in the Middle Ages. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-521-00337-7.
  • Grant, Edward. Science and religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550 : from Aristotle to Copernicus. 1st ed. Baltimore : The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8018-8401-2.
  • Haage, B. D. Středověká alchymie. Praha, 2000.
  • Hare, Richard Mervyn; Barnes, Jonathan,; Chadwick, Henry. Zakladatelé myšlení : Platón, Aristoteles, Augustinus. 1. vyd. Praha : Svoboda, 1994. ISBN 80-205-0363-3.
  • Hippokratés; Bartoš, Hynek,; Fischerová, Sylva. Vybrané spisy. 1. vyd. Praha : OIKOYMENH, 2012. ISBN 978-80-7298-392-6.
  • Chlup, R. Corpus Hermeticum. Praha, 2007.
  • Kieckhefer, Richard. Magie ve středověku. Vyd. 1. Praha : Argo, 2005. ISBN 80-7203-660-2.
  • Lennox, J. G. Aristotle's Philosphy of Biology. Studies in the Origins of Life Science. Cambridge, 2001.
  • Lindberg, D. C. - Shank, M. H. The Cambridge History of Science, Vol. 2: Medieval Science. Cambridge, 2013.
  • Lindberg, D. C. The Beginnings of Western Science. The European Scinetific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 B.C. to A.D. 1450. Chicago, 1992.
  • Neugebauer, O. The Exact Sciences in Antiquity. Copenhagen, 1951.
  • Pellegrin, P. Aristotle's Classification of Animal. Biology and the Conceptual Unity of the Aristotelian Corpus. Berkeley - Los Angeles - London, 1986.
  • Porter, R. Dějiny medicíny. Od starověku po současnost. Praha, 2013.
  • Porter, Roy. Největší dobrodiní lidstva : historie medicíny od starověku po současnost. V českém jazyce vyd. 1. Praha : Prostor, 2001. ISBN 80-7260-052-4.
  • Shields, Christopher John. The Oxford handbook of Aristotle. New York : Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-19-518748-9.
  • Špelda, Daniel. Astronomie v antice . Ostrava : Montanex, 2006. ISBN 80-7225-210-0.
  • Špelda, Daniel. Astronomie ve středověku. Ostrava : Montanex, 2008. ISBN 978-80-7225-273-2.

Study plans that include the course
Faculty Study plan (Version) Branch of study Category Recommended year of study Recommended semester
Faculty of Philosophy and Arts Theory and History of Science and Technology (11-1,2,3,4) Philosophy, theology 1 -
Faculty of Philosophy and Arts Theory and History of Science and Technology (11-1,2,3,4) Philosophy, theology 1 -