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← Lawrence Krauss at the Reason Rally Wash. DC 3/24/2012

ShinobiYaka's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by ShinobiYaka

Comment 2 by Cartomancer

“Technical point of order, Lawrence. It wasn't the Middle Ages that saw the collapse of the Greek scientific enterprise along with the entirety of Classical civilization”

Well that’s one interpretation but I’m not sure on what historical basis such an interpretation might be made, “technically” the Greek enterprise did not collapse it was destroyed, the closing of the academy by the emperor Justinian in 529 A.D. is often cited as the end of Antiquity and therefore might be considered the beginning of the dark ages or the beginning of the early medieval period if you prefer, but one thing is certain the Greek tradition did not simply “fall” it was I’m afraid given a rather unsubtle push, it did not cease to exist altogether though, although its students were scattered in exile the academic tradition survived long enough to establish academies in Persia and seeded the Neoplatonist tradition of Baghdad.

“intellectual achievements of the Middle Ages are superior to those of classical antiquity, because they were more durable and permanent. So far the line of scientific progress from the twelfth century to the twenty-first has not been broken, while the science of antiquity is largely gone for good.”

I would disagree, philosophy and what later became known as “science” rests firmly on classical philosophy, the scholastic tradition was primarily an attempt to fuse philosophy and theology, the difference between that and the Greek academic tradition is distinct, even though a lot of the later Greek philosophical schools were steeped in mysticism the methods and objectives of enquiry were really very different, let’s not forget that it was the rediscovery of Aristotle that was pivotal in the development of a systemic approach to reason within the early universities, without Aristotle there would have been no Summa Theologica, and no Aquinas of any note, the enlightenment itself was inspired and stimulated by classical Greek schools of philosophy, I think you underestimate the debt owed by western culture to the thinkers of antiquity and overestimate the importance of the scholastic tradition in the development of Western civilisation.

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 02:18:12 UTC | #933174