Gersonides: A Portrait of a Fourteenth-Century Philosopher-Scientist

Hardcover | June 21, 2015

byRuth Glasner

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Gersonides was a highly original Jewish philosopher, scientist and biblical exegete, active in Provence in the first half of the fourteenth century. Ruth Glasner explores his impressive achievements, and argues that the key to understanding his originality is his perspective as an appliedmathematical scientist. It was this perspective that led him to examine Aristotelianism from directions different from those usually adopted by contemporary scholastic scholars. Gersonides started on his way, as he himself claims, as a "mathematician, natural scientist, and philosopher", whobelieved in his power to solve the main problems of medieval science. He ended up concentrating on his work as a mathematical astronomer, developing techniques of observation and computation, and somewhat less optimistic about the prospect of scientific knowledge.

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Gersonides was a highly original Jewish philosopher, scientist and biblical exegete, active in Provence in the first half of the fourteenth century. Ruth Glasner explores his impressive achievements, and argues that the key to understanding his originality is his perspective as an appliedmathematical scientist. It was this perspective ...

Ruth Glasner is Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her PhD research focused on Greek philosophy, and she later turned to work on medieval science, notably physics, mathematics and astronomy. Glasner studies mainly Hebrew medieval texts with a special interest in the genre of the c...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:160 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.65 inPublished:June 21, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198735863

ISBN - 13:9780198735861

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Table of Contents

Preface: A true Aristotelian?1. The background: the state of the applied mathematical sciences2. Gersonides: outline of a scientific biography3. Physics: breaking the Aristotelian harmony4. Cosmology: examining the assumption of celestial animation5. Method: empiricism and the examination of hypotheses6. Metaphysics: doubts and reservations7. Cosmology: the science of stellar influences8. Astronomy: specialization and hesitationConcluding remark: Gersonides and western science