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The New Science and English Literature
in the Classical Period
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
THE NEW SCIENCE The new science, or the new experimental philosophy, arose in England as a fresh intellectual impulse, too subtle and too penetrating to be readily confined within the bonds of a definition. Its manifestations may be observed, its more obvious qualities may be studied, yet back of all these there is an elusive psychological problem that fairly challenges solution. As the waters of a stream are lost in the sea, where they are driven by unknown forces to break on unexpected shores, so new ideas entering the minds of men are
ust to analysis only to reappear as new points of view, new methods of thinking, new attitudes toward life. Straightway men possessed of these new ideas set to work reforming human thought. Similarly, experimental philosophers in seventeenth century England, quickened by this new intellectual impulse, began to lay, broad and deep, the foundations for reconstructing the natural history of the world.
Scientific interest had existed in England long before the seventeenth century, of course, and can be called a new interest in that period only in the sense that it received a new impetus. This new impulse came from the influence of four men, two foreigners and two Englishmen, Galileo and Descartes, Bacon and Harvey. When Galileo made his telescope and saw the proof of the Copernican theory, there was introduced the fundamental new principle,– namely, the application of mechanical apparatus to the solution of the problems of natural philosophy. “Since that Galileo,” wrote John Wallis, "and (after him) Torricelli, and others have applied Mechanick Principles to the salving of Philosophical Difficulties; Natural Philosophy is well known to have been rendered more intelligible, and to have made a much greater progress in less than a hundred years, than before for many ages”.? To Bacon is attributed the inductive method for scientific research, although as Pro
1 Cf. Adamson's Roger Bacon; the Philosophy of Science in the Middle Ages; Berthelot's Introduction to a Collection of Ancient Treatises on Chemistry and Alchemy; Bridges's Introduction to Roger Bacon's Opus Majus; Bon's Roger Bacon; Charles's Roger Bacon et Sa Vie ; La Croix's Science and Literature in the Middle Ages; Phillips's Science in England from Elizabeth to Charles II; Wright's Science Written During the Middle Ages.
· Wallis, John, Phi. Trans. vol. I-II, p. 264, Letter to the R. S.