Cultural-Historical Underpinnings of Early Modern Science

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  • Title: Cultural-Historical Underpinnings of Early Modern Science: The Case of Francis Bacon and René Descartes
  • Author(s): Vladimir Glebkin
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies
  • Keywords: Early Modern Science, Mechanical Philosophy, Cultural-Historical Underpinnings, Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Images of the Universe
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2327-0055 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-2376 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-0055/CGP/v17i01/89-102
  • Citation: Glebkin, Vladimir. 2019. "Cultural-Historical Underpinnings of Early Modern Science: The Case of Francis Bacon and René Descartes." The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies 17 (1): 89-102. doi:10.18848/2327-0055/CGP/v17i01/89-102.
  • Extent: 14 pages

Abstract

The analysis of Bacon’s and Descartes’ research programmes and their philosophical underpinnings—in particular, the examination of the use of the lexeme machina (machine) and its derivatives in the works of Bacon and Descartes—provides clear evidence that there were two major paradigms that formed the fundament of early modern science: medieval (God as Supreme Maker and universe as a machine) and ancient Greek (universe as a self-sufficient entity). These paradigms—supplemented by several local ideas and originating during the Renaissance and the Reformation—engendered a wide spectrum of approaches, many of which may seem controversial to modern perspectives, while at the same time having been self-congruent to their authors. It may be helpful, from a methodological perspective, to take these two paradigms into account in order to present a more balanced picture of philosophical underpinnings of early modern science.