John Buridan and Critical Realism

In: Early Science and Medicine
Edith Dudley Sylla Department of History, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8108, U.S.A.

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In this paper I examine what John Buridan has to say in his Quaestiones in Analytica Posteriora relevant to the subalternate mathematical sciences, particularly astronomy. Much previous work on the scholastic background to the Scientific Revolution relies on texts that were written in the late sixteenth or seventeenth centuries. Here I am interested in texts that might reflect the context of Copernicus, and, in particular those before 1500. John Buridan and Albert of Saxony were fourteenth century authors influential in Cracow in the fifteenth century, whose conception of science may be characterized as "critical realism." Their view would support the autonomy of astronomy, as well as the idea that sciences may progress over time.

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