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Renaissance Now!

The Value of the Renaissance Past in Contemporary Culture

Edited By Brendan Dooley

This volume directs a transdisciplinary gaze on the field of Renaissance Studies as currently practised in Europe, North America and beyond. The concept of the Renaissance as applied to a particular time and place is still regarded as being of central importance to the history of thought and culture. The essays collected here raise the question of the contemporary relevance of the Renaissance.
What is the significance of doing Renaissance Studies now, not only in terms of the field per se, but in terms of what the field has to say to contemporary society? In the past, the field of Renaissance Studies has drawn themes and orientations from particular concerns of the moment, without losing its rigorous focus, and has given back crucial insights to those studying it. Could the same be said today? To facilitate a multifaceted answer, this book attempts to cover some of the principal areas of this interdisciplinary field within the humanities and social sciences. Contributors include specialists in history, languages and literatures, the history of science, cultural studies, art history, philosophy, sociology and politics.


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Joseph S. Freedman 13 ‘Scientific Method’ in the Early Modern Period and in Contemporary Instructi


Joseph S. Freedman 13 The History of ‘Scientific Method’ (methodus scientifica) in the Early Modern Period and its Relevance for School-Level and University-Level Instruction in Our Time Francis Bacon (1561–1626) is often associated with the concept of scientific method (methodus scientifica); however, it cannot be documented that he directly refers to it within his writings.1 Yet it does appear that this concept began to be mentioned and discussed no later than during Bacon’s lifetime.2 1 While Chapter 2 of Book 6 of Bacon’s De dignitate & augmentis scientiarum is devoted to the subject-matter of method, he does not mention scientific method as such; see Francis Bacon, Opera Francisci Baronis de Verulamio [… tomus primus: qui continet de dignitate & augmentis scientiarum libros IX. (Londini [London]: In of ficina Joannis Haviland, 1623) [hereafter Bacon (1623)], 284–92; in that same Chapter, however, he makes the following comment (289, lines 9–14): ‘Neque (ut iam diximus) Methodus uniformis in Materia multiformi commode se habere potest. Equidem quemadmodum Topicas particulares ad Inveniendum probavimus ita & Methodus particulares ad Tradendum similiter aliquatenus adhiberi volumus.’ At the beginning (135) of Book 3 Chapter 1 of that same work, Bacon divides ‘science’ [scientia] into theology and philosophy; the latter is divided into natural theology [numen], natural philosophy [natura], and the study of man [homo], which includes a range of additional subject-matters beyond theology and natural philosophy; also see pages 141, 144, 145, and 181–2 with regard to Bacon’s classification of the subject- matters falling within the (broad) scope...

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