Filosofia natural, Ciencia Natural, e Ciencia: Diferencas explicadas no Wikipedia


Newton and the scientific revolution (1600–1800)

By the 16th and 17th centuries, natural philosophy underwent an evolution beyond commentary on Aristotle as more early Greek philosophy was uncovered and translated.[51] The invention of the printing press in the 15th century, the invention of the microscope and telescope, and the Protestant Reformation fundamentally altered the social context in which scientific inquiry evolved in the West.[51] Christopher Columbus‘s discovery of a new world changed perceptions about the physical makeup of the world, while observations by Copernicus, Tyco Brahe and Galileo brought a more accurate picture of the solar system as heliocentric and proved many of Aristotle’s theories about the heavenly bodies false.[52] A number of 17th-century philosophers, including Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Francis Bacon made a break from the past by rejecting Aristotle and his medieval followers outright, calling their approach to natural philosophy as superficial.[53]

The titles of Galileo’s work Two New Sciences and Johannes Kepler‘s New Astronomy underscored the atmosphere of change that took hold in the 17th century as Aristotle was dismissed in favor of novel methods of inquiry into the natural world.[54] Bacon was instrumental in popularizing this change; he argued that people should use the arts and sciences to gain dominion over nature.[55] To achieve this, he wrote that “human life [must] be endowed with new discoveries and powers.”[56] He defined natural philosophy as “the knowledge of Causes and secret motions of things; and enlarging the bounds of Human Empire, to the effecting of all things possible.”[54] Bacon proposed scientific inquiry supported by the state and fed by the collaborative research of scientists, a vision that was unprecedented in its scope, ambition and form at the time.[56] Natural philosophers came to view nature increasingly as a mechanism that could be taken apart and understood, much like a complex clock.[57] Natural philosophers including Isaac Newton, Evangelista Torricelli and Francesco Redi conducted experiments focusing on the flow of water, measuring atmospheric pressure using a barometer and disproving spontaneous generation.[58] Scientific societies and scientific journals emerged and were spread widely through the printing press, touching off the scientific revolution.[59] Newton in 1687 published his The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, or Principia Mathematica, which set the groundwork for physical laws that remained current until the 19th century.[60]

Some modern scholars, including Andrew Cunningham, Perry Williams and Floris Cohen, argue that natural philosophy is not properly called a science, and that genuine scientific inquiry began only with the scientific revolution.[61] According to Cohen, “the emancipation of science from an overarching entity called ‘natural philosophy’ is one defining characteristic of the Scientific Revolution.”[61] Other historians of science, including Edward Grant, contend that the scientific revolution that blossomed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries occurred when principles learned in the exact sciences of optics, mechanics and astronomy began to be applied to questions raised by natural philosophy.[61] Grant argues that Newton attempted to expose the mathematical basis of nature – the immutable rules it obeyed – and in doing so joined natural philosophy and mathematics for the first time, producing an early work of modern physics.[62]

The scientific revolution, which began to take hold in the 17th century, represented a sharp break from Aristotelian modes of inquiry.[63] One of its principal advances was the use of the scientific method to investigate nature. Data was collected and repeatable measurements made in experiments.[64] Scientists then formed hypotheses to explain the results of these experiments.[65] The hypothesis was then tested using the principle of falsifiability to prove or disprove its accuracy.[65] The natural sciences continued to be called natural philosophy, but the adoption of the scientific method took science beyond the realm of philosophical conjecture and introduced a more structured way of examining nature.[63]

Newton, an English mathematician, and physicist, was the seminal figure in the scientific revolution.[66] Drawing on advances made in astronomy by Copernicus, Brahe, and Kepler, Newton derived the universal law of gravitation and laws of motion.[67] These laws applied both on earth and in outer space, uniting two spheres of the physical world previously thought to function independently of each other, according to separate physical rules.[68] Newton, for example, showed that the tides were caused by the gravitational pull of the moon.[69] Another of Newton’s advances was to make mathematics a powerful explanatory tool for natural phenomena.[70] While natural philosophers had long used mathematics as a means of measurement and analysis, its principles were not used as a means of understanding cause and effect in nature until Newton.[70]

In the 18th century and 19th century, scientists including Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, Alessandro Volta, and Michael Faraday built upon Newtonian mechanics by exploring electromagnetism, or the interplay of forces with positive and negative charges on electrically charged particles.[71] Faraday proposed that forces in nature operated in “fields” that filled space.[72] The idea of fields contrasted with the Newtonian construct of gravitation as simply “action at a distance”, or the attraction of objects with nothing in the space between them to intervene.[72] James Clerk Maxwell in the 19th century unified these discoveries in a coherent theory of electrodynamics.[71] Using mathematical equations and experimentation, Maxwell discovered that space was filled with charged particles that could act upon themselves and each other and that they were a medium for the transmission of charged waves.[71]

Significant advances in chemistry also took place during the scientific revolution. Antoine Lavoisier, a French chemist, refuted the phlogiston theory, which posited that things burned by releasing “phlogiston” into the air.[72] Joseph Priestley had discovered oxygen in the 18th century, but Lavoisier discovered that combustion was the result of oxidation.[72] He also constructed a table of 33 elements and invented modern chemical nomenclature.[72] Formal biological science remained in its infancy in the 18th century, when the focus lay upon the classification and categorization of natural life. This growth in natural history was led by Carl Linnaeus, whose 1735 taxonomy of the natural world is still in use. Linnaeus in the 1750s introduced scientific names for all his species.[73]

By the 19th century, the study of science had come into the purview of professionals and institutions. In so doing, it gradually acquired the more modern name of natural science. The term scientist was coined by William Whewell in an 1834 review of Mary Somerville‘s On the Connexion of the Sciences.[74] But the word did not enter general use until nearly the end of the same century.

Tags: ,