“The technique of reducing the physical world into mathematical abstractions… played a key role in producing a new physics, and stands as a distinctive feature of the Scientific Revolution” (p. 73). Would it also be accurate to say that this is what’s distinctive of science, and in particular, what distinguishes science from the humanities? Explain.
It would be very accurate to say this is what’s distinctive of science. Science is breaking down the world into data and patterns in an attempt to understand and predict the way things work. Although, I think it’s right and wrong to say this is what distinguishes science from the humanities. The methods may be different but often the goals are the same – to understand better the world around you. The method of breaking the world into “mathematical abstractions” is what defines science. Science is “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”. This same definition could be applied to humanities although it can be a bit less systematic. Often when studying humanities, you follow the flow of information wherever it may take you. With science, there is more structure and intentionality while looking for a clear objective or trying to answer/refute a question. Humanities is a more inductive process while science can be more deductive.
How can we relate the patterns of the Scientific Revolution to those of the American or French? What ideas make these distinctively different?