Type: 200 level
Term: Fall 2022
Instructor: Alicia Finan
Ancient concepts of nature and of natural phenomena were radically different from our own, and yet historians regularly point back to the Greeks and Babylonians as the originators of a way of looking at and understanding the natural world that would eventually develop into what has become the truly gargantuan enterprise that constitutes the modern sciences.
But what did the ancients know about the natural world and how did they come to know it? What kinds of theories did they develop to account for the movements of the planets, for the growth of plants, for reproduction, or for material change on earth? What was the relationship between experiences of nature and theories about nature? Who practiced what we now call science, and what led them to do so? Can we even talk about science before there were any professional scientists? By looking in detail at the phenomena observed and explained in the ancient sciences, we will see that even so simple a phenomenon as a falling rock can, when seen in such a very different light, open up wide-ranging questions about the nature and possibilities of experience and understanding.