Read From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe by Alexandre Koyré Online


During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a radical change occurred in the patterns and the framework of European thought. In the wake of discoveries through the telescope and Copernican theory, the notion of an ordered cosmos of "fixed stars" gave way to that of a universe infinite in both time and space—with significant and far-reaching consequences for human thoughDuring the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a radical change occurred in the patterns and the framework of European thought. In the wake of discoveries through the telescope and Copernican theory, the notion of an ordered cosmos of "fixed stars" gave way to that of a universe infinite in both time and space—with significant and far-reaching consequences for human thought. Alexandre Koyré interprets this revolution in terms of the change that occurred in our conception of the universe and our place in it and shows the primacy of this change in the development of the modern world....

Title : From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe
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ISBN : 9780801803475
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 328 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe Reviews

  • Ted
    2019-04-15 01:16

    It is generally admitted that the seventeenth century underwent, and accomplished, a very radical spiritual revolution of which modern science is at the same time the root and the fruit.Alexandre KoyreKoyre was born in Russia in 1892. In the period 1908–1911 he studied under Edmund Husserl and David Hilbert in Gottingen Germany. In 1912 he went to Paris, to study at the Collège de France and the Sorbonne under Henri Bergson and others. After fighting in the First World War he received a doctorate and began teaching in Paris at the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE). In 1932 the EPHE created a Department of History of Religious Thought in Modern Europe for him to chair.During several periods in the 1930s and early 1940 Koyré taught in Fuad University (later Cairo University) where he was among the first to teach modern philosophy in Egyptian academia. His most important student in Cairo was Abdel Rahman Badawi (1917–2002) who is considered the first systematic modern Arab philosopher. During World War II, Koyré lived in New York City, and taught at the New School for Social Research. After World War II, he held frequent posts as visiting professor in a number of institutions in the U.S., including Princeton, Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago, and Johns Hopkins. Over the final decade of his life Koyre was general secretary and Vice President of the Institut International de Philosophie, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received honorary Medals from both the History of Science Society and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He died in Paris in 1964.(Condensed and edited from Wikipedia)the bookFirst thing… the quote above opens Koyre's Introduction. The footnote for the sentence lists four books exemplifying what he says: Science and the modern world, The metaphysical foundations of modern physical science, The making of the modern mind, and Great chain of Being.Second thing … The style of the narrative is quite easy going. Perhaps because it grew out of a Noguchi Lecture Koyre gave at Johns Hopkins in 1953. That's the style I see, that of a lecturer moving about, commenting on something, adding an aside, and so on.Third thing … The book consists of twelve sections. For all but the final one, Koyre lists below the title a cast of the most important thinkers discussed.I. The Sky and the Heavens. (Nicholas of Cusa, Marcellus Paligenius) The latter is the Latin name for a sixteenth century Neapolitan humanist poet, who wrote "Zodiacus Vitae", a poem which addresses "the subject of human happiness in connection with scientific knowledge". (wiki)II. The New Astronomy and the New Metaphysics. (Copernicus, Thomas Diggs, Giordano Bruno, William Gilbert) Digges was an English mathematician and astronomer; Gilbert an English physician and natural philosopher.III. The New Astronomy against the New Metaphysics. (Kepler)IV. Things Never Seen Before and Thoughts Never Thought: the Discovery of New Stars in the World Space and the Materialization of Space. (Galileo, Descartes)V. Indefinite Extension or Infinite Space. (Descartes, Henry More) the latter a philosopher of the Cambridge Platonist schoolVI. God and Space, Spirit and Matter. (Henry More)VII. Absolute Space, Absolute Time and Their Relations to God. (Malebranche, Newton, Bentley) Malebranche was a French priest and Rationalist philosopher, Richard Bentley an English classical scholar and theologian)VIII. The Divinization of Space. (Joseph Raphson) an English mathematicianIX. God and the World: Space, Matter, Ether and Spirit. (Newton)X. Absolute Space and Absolute Time: God's Frame of Action (Berkeley, Newton)XI. The Work-Day God and the God of the Sabbath. (Newton, Leibniz)XII. Conclusion: The Divine Artifex and the Dieu Faineant. the latter phrase, "loafing god", to finally become in Laplace's System of the World, a god no longer needed for explanationquestions, answers, guessesIn this section I will address some mysteries about this book and my possession, reading, and review of it which you are not yet aware of.I start by explaining how I came to review a book which until today was not amongst books on my Goodreads shelves. The reason this came about I can relate with certainty. Yesterday I was casting about for some book which I'd read but not reviewed. Of course there are many. I chanced upon a spreadsheet in which I'd listed several such books; and further chanced upon Koyre's book, mostly because it stood out in the list.Why did it stand out? Because a column near the book's name held a number much larger than any other book's number. That column was indicated to be the the number of days since I'd read the book (and not yet reviewed it). This book's so-defined number was 16,359. (Today it's 16,360 – or was before I finished this review.) Almost 45 years. I'd entered the date that I read the book as April 1 1973.I should add that my copy of the book, published in 1968, looks brand new, no indication that it had ever been opened, much less read. (It has been now, but I mean yesterday. Opened, that is. Even read, a bit.)Did I read the book in 1973? Did I even have the book in 1973? Why did I enter this date?The time (date) itself places my body in space. In 1973 my wife and I lived in Melbourne, Vic., Australia. She was on a post-doc; I was tagging along, and had found something to do by re-enrolling in under-grad school at the University of Melbourne, in the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) – just because it sounded interesting.Aha! So this book, certainly a book relating some of the history and philosophy of science, may well have been assigned reading? Or suggested reading maybe.Then today, as I entered into this review the information about the book's chapters, I think I understood. The book had probably been recommended to me by my thesis advisor. See, the last year we were there (1974) I had begun work on a Master's thesis, concerning the Leibniz-Clarke correspondence. When we left, I took the unfinished thesis with me, to be completed in the U.S. HAH! (I did try, but to no avail.) This correspondence appears to be discussed in depth in chapter XI of Koyre's book. Now when and where I procured the book isn't important, but I believe I've probably had it since before I gave up on the thesis, probably since at least 1976-77. That's my guess anyway, and my guess is as good as yours, so I'll take mine.who might like the book?Well, I might like the book. It's going on my smallest reading list (only a few dozen). Not because I want to finish that thesis (which could probably be found in my basement), but that for simply reminding me of those days I would appreciate it.As for you. It still seems to be in print. If you are interested in interdisciplinary history books, this is great – combining as it does the history of European thought in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in areas of religion, philosophy, and science. What I like to call the history of ideas.and that rating???I've rated the (unread) book by duplicating the rating given it here on Goodreads by a friend of mine, AC. I trust his ratings on books such as this.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Previous review: Voyage in the DarkRandom review: The StrangerNext review: A Boy's Will Robert FrostPrevious library review: Hope Dies Last Studs TerkelNext library review: The Organization Man

  • K
    2019-04-23 23:14

    This is one of the best books I’ve ever read, period. Koyre’s classic is a serious piece of intellectual history, covering the various polemics of the early scientific revolution. Consequently, one can expect heavy quotation from some of history’s greatest minds (these include Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Newton and Leibniz among others) as well as subtle but always ingenious commentary from Koyre himself. As the title suggests, most of the discussion revolves around notions of space, particularly the radical shift from an Aristotelian closed world to the Newtonian picture of absolute, infinite space. But make no mistake for there are many, many riches to be found here.Firstly, the correspondence between Leibniz and Samuel Clarke is not a matter of purely historical interest given that Leibniz’s notions of space paved the way for Einstein’s conceptual revolution many centuries later. Moreover, the mechanical/ Cartesian concept of matter, while ridiculed as simplistic and inadequate by many contemporary commentators, still remains influential when trying to formulate metaphysical problems like the mind-body problem. Yet, very few people acknowledge the fact that Newton undermined any coherent concept of matter by postulating gravity. Chomsky’s neglected but powerful discussion on the inability to formulate a mind-body problem owes much to Koyre’s analysis of Newton’s demolition of the mechanistic/ materialistic physics of the Cartesians. What shocked me the most, however, was the interconnectedness of theological, philosophical and scientific concepts. I was shocked to discover that much important conceptual scientific work has been done on the presumption of various metaphysical views. The notion of absolute space was initially suggested by the Cambridge neoplatonist Henry More, who wished to get rid of the mechanical identification of matter and space and establish God and minds as extended entities. For if they weren’t extended then they couldn’t be found anywhere. One might argue that More's reasoning was shoddy (it wasn’t) but notice that his notion of absolute space ended up being a cornerstone of Newtonian physics.

  • Simon Lavoie
    2019-04-03 19:11

    Vous trouverez ici les témoignages les plus contemporains et activement engagés dans le passage du monde théologique à l'univers physique-mathématique. Engagé du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle, il est une puissante arcane de notre culture. Des précurseurs comme Nicolas de Cues et Giordano Bruno aux querelles entre mécanistes-plénistes (dont Leibniz) et mathématistes-vacuistes (dont Newton et Samuel Clarke), le lecteur suit les mutations nombreuses d'une pensée centrée, d'abord, sur l'oppositionÉlevé-Immortel-Immobile / Bas-Temporel-Corruptible; opposition ou distinction hiérarchique typiquement religieuse dont j'ai commenté un autre exemple célèbre (cf.Homo Hierarchicus: Le Système Des Castes Et Ses Implications). Témoignage de la proximité de l'auteur avec les pensées d'époque, cette distinction est saisie par le passage de l'attribution à la substance qui est dite former le cadre de l'ontologie traditionnelle (que faut-il entendre vraiment par ces terme et comment reconnaître l'identité de la distinction avec l'attribution, je ne saurais le dire en l'état actuel). Ce n'est pas le moindre talent de Koyré que de parvenir à restituer la pensée des générations successives de philosophes de la nature dans les fins détails, et tout aussi ardus soient-ils, de parvenir à lui-même suivre leurs développements et oppositions - compréhension et maîtrise l'habilitant à intervenir occasionnellement à la manière d'un arbitre-observateur entre eux (répartissant mérites et maladresses).En effet, l'aisance de Koyré avec la matière nous montre la transition sous son jour riche et authentique, par opposition à la version simplette qui nous en reste naïvement : (1) La sortie de cette distinction hiérarchique, par l'uniformisation de l'espace et du temps, et leur infinitisation, ne sont pas principalement ni originairement une découverte scientifique, mais la conséquence d'une réflexion sur la nature de la création divine et du divin (sa liberté). Une création peut-elle être infinie ? Voyez Nicolas de Cues reculer devant la réponse affirmative à laquelle ses spéculations logiques le conduisaient pourtant, et lui préférer un univers (oumondeau sens de système solaire...)interminé , et réserver à Dieu la seule essence de l'infini. Voyez Giordano Bruno affirmer l'infinitisation d'un univers peuplé d'autant d'étoiles et de planète regorgeant de vies, comme seule création digne de Dieu (mais payant son éloge par le feu).(2) L'irruption du souci scientifique, empirique et positif, dans le débat a eu pour effet uneoppositionà l'infinitisation de l'espace. Voyez en effet un contemporain du téléscope, Kepler, limiter la connaissance au strict observable, et poser en bons logiciens des apories sur le concept d'infini avec lesquelles la physique doit toujours, jusqu'à un certain point, composer. (3) La révolution copernicienne (le passage du géo- au hélio-centrisme) s'accomplit à l'intérieur d'un univers interminé, au sens de Cues; elle reste onto-théologique, bien qu'ouvrant la voie au renversement de la distinction (en égalité ici-bas/au-delà). (4) Newton met les mathématiques au service de la démonstration que la matière est, de tout l'univers, l'élément le plus négligeable ; de la démonstration que les forces d'attraction et gravitation sont non-susceptibles d'une explication mécanique ni matérialistes ; que l'univers est inconcevable autrement que comme issu d'un dessein ordonné, harmonieux et intelligent. Autant de points (et j'en néglige) montrant la profondeur d'une révolution culturelle dont on pense, à tort, qu'elle est sortie armée, bottée et casquée d'un esprit individuel-naturel. Sur plus de trois siècles, révolution enracinée de toutes parts dans l'exaltation du divin dans son infini, d'une absorption contemplative, placée ironiquement sous l'interdit de prétendre voir et comprendre le tout du point de vue divin, révolution-renversement aboutissant à la synthèse curieuse des antagonistes (Leibniz / Newton) jadis rivalisant dans l'exaltation, mais se réconciliant de manière posthume dans un point d'orgue à l'éloignement-effacement du divin (auquel Putnam fait écho : univers indifférent, froid, formant le Point de vue de nulle part depuis lequel l'entièreté de nos croyances ordinaires et traditions sont dites non-avenues ; non-cognitives, dépourvues de significations, cf.Le Réalisme à visage humain).

  • Isa Lappalainen
    2019-04-04 17:01

    Att den stundtals är vääldigt tråkig gör liksom inget för den innehåller liksom allt. En fantastisk historisk redogörelse för hur man har tänkt på världen och universum och den minimala plats som människan upptar i allt det stora. Läsningen gjorde mig fylld av sorg och kärlek, och beundran (och storhetsvansinne).

  • Mattomic
    2019-03-25 16:52

    Got a decently priced re-print of this from some no-name publisher, Forgotten Books. They make the HUGELY unfortunate mistake of prefacing the book with a Wikipedia entry on Koyre. As a librarian who takes great care in selecting the information my clients and I use for research (and stresses the importance of critically evaluating your sources), Wikipedia - sorry folks - is NOT the paragon of reference sources. Yes, it has its place for information gathering and discovery. True, Wiki writers can and sometimes do back up their entries with tried-and-true references (books, magazine, and scholarly journals). But you do NOT do your source material any favors by quoting from Wikipedia in your preface. You just negated any scholarly impact you intended. That and the book truly needed a couple of extra proofreads. I'm not the best editor in the world, nor am I flawless with my grammar and punctuation, but random periods in the middle of sentences and sentences that begin with the first word's first letter in lower case are simply unacceptable. I'm beginning to think that the cover price I paid for this particular edition should have been LOWER.

  • Pierre
    2019-04-17 23:16

    Como historiador de la ideas Koyré parte de una tesis y deja que los autores hablen (pero sólo los autores, el contexto no tiene rol en este proyecto). Incluso en este libro hablan más Nicolás de Cusa, G. Bruno, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Leibniz que el propio autor. El libro es un recorrido paso a paso de la concepción del mundo y del espacio en el que personajes que no coincidieron en tiempo y lugar ahora ven la oportunidad de hacerlo y de debatir entre ellos. De esta manera se observa que la ciencia astronómica puede ser contada como una historia, en este caso una bastante coherente y completa del desarrollo de las ideas.

  • Jordan
    2019-04-21 22:11

    clever thinkers thudding around down here

  • John
    2019-04-19 01:05

    Especially like for the rendering of Leibniz vs. Netwon.

  • Laura
    2019-03-31 17:56

    This book covers the history of metaphysics and science of the early modern period in plenty of detail, but is easy to read.

  • Elena
    2019-03-27 18:57

    First time I read it in highschool it went soo over my head, but I read it again last year and I think it's very interesting