The presocratic origins of modern science
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Not satisfied with identifying the origins of modern science in the workings of Renaissance natural philosophers, some historians in the mid twentieth century searched for the roots of modern scientific practice amongst the writings of the presocratic thinkers. During the 1950s and 1960s, Marshall Claggett, George Sarton, W.K.C. Guthrie and Giorgio de Santillana wrote highly celebrated works on ancient scientific thought with the aim of identifying when human knowledge of natural structures and motions began. These authors considered the Ionian presocratic Greeks to be the first to construct a science of nature that would lay the seeds for Western early modern and modern thought.
During the past 40 years, there have been very few studies of the presocratics. One might be tempted to think, therefore, that Vamvacas could embrace the opportunity in this book to revise and refresh the historiography of ancient natural philosophy. However, this is not his objective. Instead, Vamvacas, a...