2.b.12 – The development of the sciences is due to specialization?

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January 30, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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The development of the sciences is due to specialization?

The proliferation of so many different activities, each with its unique knowledge, led to the formation of a huge development of technical knowledge; to new problems and
new needs that were facing agricultural civilization, cultural adaptation replied with specializations and cultural development of the sciences. In particular, it is to be reminded important progress on:
– Math: for the accountancy of trade and governments, and the calculations of geometry and astronomy;
– Geometry for the division and irrigation of fields, for architecture and astronomy;
– Hydraulics: to irrigate the fields, for the aqueducts for supplying the large cities, up to the famous hanging gardens of Babylon;
– Architecture for the construction of monumental temples capable of receiving and striking the imagination of large numbers of citizens, for building roads and bridges for trades;
– Mechanics: as support to architecture, to move large weights during the monumental buildings like the pyramids of Egypt and, later, for building war machines such as catapults;
– Nautical engineering: for the great merchant ships;
– Astronomy: for the measurement of time and seasons and for guidance in the sea.
The development of knowledge in all these historical era, after the advent of writing, was such to arise the question of how to order and catalog them; the technical wonders aroused admiration even among the common people and often philosophers and scientists were held in high regard by the whole community.
The progress of science and technology of a people was as fast as this was rich, being able to maintain more scholars. A contribution was also crucial from the commercial economy, which, in addition to goods, allowed to import even the knowledge of other ancient civilizations, allowing to catch up or at least not having to start from scratch in every field. Progress was also proceeding as long as its civilization could survive the competition and the invasions of neighboring peoples; the richer and more long lasting civilizations then reached the higher levels of science and it is an example the classical Greece that with Pythagoras and Archimedes brought mathematics to levels never seen in Europe until then. To remember also Heron of Alexandria at the time of Imperial Rome and Leonardo da Vinci in Renaissance as top representatives of engineering of their time and finally Pythagoras, Democritus, Aristotle, Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton as the most famous theorists, whose works led to the gradual creation of the scientific experimental method currently used, which allows to study the natural laws with a precision and accuracy comparable to those of mathematics, marking the end of philosophy of nature and the beginning of experimental science which, not having more rivals, today we call simply science. Finally we must mention, for later cultural development, the invention of printing mobile characters of  Gutenberg, which allowed a huge increase in production of books and then the distribution and conservation of culture; the invention of printing, from this point of view, is second only to that the writing itself.

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