Spinoza and the Rise of Modern Science in the Netherlands

  • Heine Siebrand
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 91)


The most important development of the scientific revolution in the seventeenth century was the discovery and application of experimental method. In the Netherlands the benefit of this method resulted in far-reaching consequences in the physical sciences such as Christiaan Huygens’s construction of the pendulum clock and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s visualization of the circulation of blood with a microscope. These innovations could be realized thanks to the adoption of the idea of mechanism in physics. On the basis of this essentially technical assumption, the empirical world could be isolated and imitated in artificial demonstrations. It is clear that this could only be done with the help of practical knowledge. Therefore scholars and artisans worked together, as was the case, for example, in Isaac Beeckman’s Collegium Mechanicum which he founded in 1626 in Rotterdam. This kind of cooperation was strongly influenced by the logic of Petrus Ramus, which stood on the principle of visual presentation (graphicalness) and operated with the method of natural deduction. In this way, according to Ramus, we can read our conclusions easily from what we see clearly and distinctly. In his conception, scholars and artisans should not differ so much in attitude and viewpoint. We know that Ramist logic was taught at Leiden University, so Beeckman’s project of cooperation is not surprising.


Seventeenth Century Scientific Revolution Natural Deduction Pendulum Clock Bible Criticism 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heine Siebrand
    • 1
  1. 1.State University of GroningenThe Netherlands

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