Course: The History of Early Modern Science

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Course title The History of Early Modern Science
Course code KFI/DVND
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
  • Špelda Daniel, Doc. PhDr. Ph.D.
  • Havlík Vladimír, PhDr. CSc.
  • Demjančuk Nikolaj, Doc. PhDr. CSc.
Course content
Occult Sciences in the Renaissance; medicine (Paracelsus, Harvey and his predecessors); astronomy (Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo); physics (Galileo, Newton); theories of the Earth (Burnet, Whiston, Buffon, Kant); natural history (Gesner, Aldrovandi, Linné, Buffon); religion and science (heliocentrisms, natural theology); new scientific instruments (telescope, microscope etc.); experimental approaches; empirical methodology; scientific institutions; social environment of science. Topics for exam: 1. The Renaissance alchemy and magic 2. The Renaissance astrology and medicine 3. The Renaissance astronomy (Copernicus, Tycho Brahe etc.) 4. The Renaissance natural history (Gesner, Aldrovandi) 5. Early modern medicine (Colombo, Harvey etc.) 6. Early modern astronomy (Kepler, Galileo, Newton) 7. Early modern physics (Galileo, Descartes, Newton) 8. Early modern theory of Earth (Burnet, Whiston etc.) 9. Early modern and Enlightenment natural history (Ray, Linné, Buffon) 10. Religion and science (heliocentrism; natural theology; Weber-Harrison's hypothesis) 11. Theories of the Earth in the Enlightenment - the beginnings of evolutionism (Linné, Buffon etc.) 12. New scientific instruments: their origin and use (the telescope, the microscope, the air-pump, the barometer, the thermometer) 13. Methodology of early modern science (experiments, hypotheses, empirism, facts, observations) 14. Social envinronment of science (scientific societies and their work; social status of sciences; the system of patronage; social tasks of science - supposed and real)

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 Renaissance, 17th century, and the Enlightenment. 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 Renaissance, early modern age and the Enlightenment 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
  • Daston, L. - Park, K. The Cambridge History of Science. Vol. 3 Early Modern Science. Cambridge, 2006.
  • Dear, Peter. Revolutionizing the sciences : European knowledge and its ambitions, 1500-1700. 2nd ed. Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-691-14206-7.
  • Horský, Zdeněk; Lelková, Iva. Koperník a české země : soubor studií o renesanční kosmologii a nové vědě. Červený Kostelec : Pavel Mervart, 2011. ISBN 978-80-87378-87-8.
  • Jacob, J. R. The Scientific Revolution. Aspiration and Achievements. 1500-1700. New York, 1998.
  • Koyré, A. Od uzavřeného světa k nekonečnému vesmíru. Praha, 2004.
  • Kraus, I. Fyzika od Thaléta k Newtonovi - Kapitoly z dějin fyziky.. Praha, 2007.
  • Lindberg, David C.; Westman, Robert S. Reappraisals of the scientific revolution. 1st pub. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-521-34804-8.
  • Mazauric, Simone. Histoire des sciences a la epoque moderne. Paris, 2009.
  • Osler, Margaret J. Rethinking the scientific revolution. 1st pub. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-521-66790-9.
  • Porter, R. The Cambridge History of Science. Vol. 4 Eighteenth-Century Science. Cambridge, 2003.
  • Porter, Roy. Největší dobrodiní lidstva : historie medicíny od starověku po současnost. V českém jazyce vyd. 1. Praha : Prostor, 2001. ISBN 80-7260-052-4.
  • Priesner, Claus; Figala, Karin. Lexikon alchymie a hermetických věd. Vyd. 1. Praha : Vyšehrad, 2006. ISBN 80-7021-815-0.
  • Shapin, Steven. The scientific revolution. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1996. ISBN 0-226-75021-3.

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 -