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What is tuberculosis? History of diseases

By | 2017-09-07T10:13:25+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

A child with tuberculosis Tuberculosis is a lung disease caused by germs. Today we can usually cure it with antibiotics. But in antiquity there was no cure. Many people died of tuberculosis. One kind of tuberculosis seems to have infected people since the Paleolithic. It came to North America and South America with the first people, about 13,000 BC. This tuberculosis [...]

Science and the gods – History of Science

By | 2017-09-06T12:54:33+00:00 September 6th, 2017|History|

The Egyptian god Bes Gods are part of people's desire to know how the world works. It's one of the ways that people explain how the world works. People say that God or the gods make this happen. Or you could say that the gods are a way of talking about complicated things that happen. Maybe they're [...]

Ancient philosophy: ethics, fate, and science

By | 2017-08-16T15:14:40+00:00 August 16th, 2017|Philosophy|

Weighing the souls of the dead Philosophy means the love of wisdom. But what does that mean? It's hard to separate philosophy from religion. And it's also hard to draw a line between philosophy and science and mathematics. All of these are parts of people's search to make order out of nature. They're a way of [...]

Georg Hegel – European Philosophy

By | 2017-08-07T08:00:25+00:00 August 7th, 2017|Modern Europe, Philosophy|

Georg Hegel, a European philosopher Georg Hegel, twenty years younger than Wollstonecraft, wasn't interested in political or economic equality for either men or women. As a late Enlightenment philosopher, Hegel worked with the problem Descartes and Hobbes had outlined of the relationship between mind, soul, and body. Descartes and Kant pretty much believed in the existence of the soul. Hobbes [...]

Roger Bacon – Medieval science

By | 2017-08-04T13:48:55+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Roger Bacon's diagram of a human eye Roger Bacon was born in England maybe about 1210 AD. It was late in the reign of King John. (That's the one in Robin Hood.) England was just beginning to get richer from raising and selling high quality wool cloth on the Silk Road. In addition, a warmer climate - the Medieval Warm period - was making [...]

Thomas Aquinas – Medieval philosophy

By | 2017-08-04T10:09:31+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Philosophy|

A book in Thomas Aquinas' handwriting For many years before Thomas Aquinas was born, men like Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushdin the Abbasid Empire had been reading the Quran, and reading Aristotle, and trying to find ways to get these two important books to agree with each other. They were trying to explain how the universe worked in a way that honored [...]

Thomas Aquinas – Dominican monk

By | 2017-08-04T10:04:58+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Philosophy|

Naples, with Mount Vesuvius in the background Like Ibn Rushd and Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas was a great thinke who tried to figure out the relationship between science and religion. But unlike Ibn Rushd and Maimonides, Aquinas was a Christian. Thomas Aquinas was born in southern Italy, at his father's castle, in 1224 or 1225 AD. It was just after the death of Francis [...]

Medieval Islamic science

By | 2017-08-17T15:21:26+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Al Tusi's diagram of linear motion from circular motion In the Early Middle Ages, before the formation of the Islamic Empire, Buddhists ran the world's biggest universities. One was in India, at Nalanda. Another was in what is now Pakistan, at Taxila. In Egypt, the University of Alexandria was still an important center of learning, too. Most serious scholars went to [...]

Ibn Sina – Medieval Islamic medicine

By | 2017-07-27T09:21:41+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Uzbekistan Ibn Sina (known to Europeans as Avicenna) was a scientist. He was born about 980 AD in the north-eastern part of the Abbasid Empire. That was in the kingdom of the Samanids. (It's modern Uzbekistan.) The Samanids supported science and art, so many scientists and artists lived there. Ibn Sina's father was the Iranian governor of a local [...]

Ibn Rushd – Medieval Islamic Science

By | 2017-07-27T09:07:56+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Philosophy, Science|

Cordoba mosque Since the time of Socrates, many people have tried to figure out how science and religion can both be true at the same time. Ibn Rushd, like the earlier ibn Sina and al-Ghazali, was part of an important movement to try to combine Aristotle's scientific description of the world with religious views to create a unified [...]