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100 UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY losophical. This enables him to make several salutary suggestions to those who would see in the ideas of Roger Bacon, William of Ockham, and Nicholas of Autrecourt early forerunners of modem views. For, the author points out, their thought is in no sense secular even while it is philosophical, for it is mainly inspired by religious and theological motives. The work concludes with a very cursory glance at thirteenthand fourteenth-century political theory, a brief bibliography, and an index. Objection might be taken to one device Fr Copleston constantly uses to make his points clear to a modem audience. This device is the using of modem terms, many of them Kantian, to express his thought. If such terms are intelligible to his reader, then misunderstanding would seem almost unavoidable. And if the reader.is really not skilled in philosophy and its language, then it would seem that such a tactic fails in its purpose. Many of his comparisons with modem systems also put a great burden on the non-specialist reader. And would a student of St. Thomas agree with Fr Copleston's remark that "St. Thomas found the difference between dogmatic theology and metaphysical philosophy to consist primarily in a difference of method" (p. 12)? Perhaps not. However, such minutiae should not puzzle or bother the person who is seeking an introduction to medieval problems and ways of thinking. Since Fr Copleston has addressed himself to such readers, we can only say that his main purposes have been achieved. L. E. M. LYNCH A History of Science. Ancient Science through the Golden Age of Greece. By GEORGE SARTON. Cambridge: Harvard University Press [Toronto: S. J. Reginald Saunders and Company Limited]. 1952. Pp. xxvi, 646. $13.50. This massive volume commences the task of presenting in a form palatable to the general reader the material contained in the author's even more massive Introduction to the History of Science (5 vols., 1927-48). The larger of these works was written in the severe style of an encyclopedic source-book, and was intended to be consulted rather than read. The present work, although far from being a popularization , is intended to be read rather than consulted. Its style is patterned on that of the lectures which Dr. Sarton gave on the history of science during more than forty years of teaching at Harvard University . As one would expect, the work reflects the deep and cosmopolitan learning of the author. Yet he successfully avoids any suggestion SHORTER NOTICES 101 of pedantry by adopting an informal manner of writing and by expressing his personal views on various matters en passant. Thus, although the exposition is never watered down, it is likewise never dry. Eventually, this book is to be followed by seven others dealing with the development of the sciences up to the present century. In the opening section of the book, Dr. Sarton devotes considerable attention to the proto-science of Egypt and Mesopotamia. This is not only a fascinating topic in its own right; but by giving the reader an appreciation of what these civilizations achieved in astronomy, mathematics , medicine, and technology, the discussion corrects the common misconception that "the Greeks began it all." As Dr. Sarton remarks, "Greek science was less an invention than a reviva1." Yet the revival reached heroic dimensions in the work of such men as Aristarchus, Eudoxus, Euclid, Hippocrates, and Aristotle. Their accomplishments seem all the more remarkable when one recalls that these men had to combat widespread irrational or superstitious popular beliefs about the issues they were investigating. Dr. Sarton shows clearly how Hellenic science was a victory for rationalism over unreason. There were, to be sure, occasional failures due to the strength of irrational beliefs and the subtlety of their influence even on able minds. The chief example of a backslider here is apparently Plato. Like Professor Popper in The OPen Society, Dr. Sarton is an enthusiastic Plato-hater, and the account which he gives of the founder of the Academy is a good deal less than objective. Aristotle, on the other hand, receives highly respectful treatment. The detailed summary of his scientific investigations and their relation to his...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 100-101
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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