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Stages of ThoughtThe Co-Evolution of Religious Thought and Science$
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Michael Horace Barnes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195396270

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396270.001.0001

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Philosophy, Religion, and Science in Western Antiquity

Philosophy, Religion, and Science in Western Antiquity

(p.112) 6 Philosophy, Religion, and Science in Western Antiquity
Stages of Thought

Michael Horace Barnes

Oxford University Press

This chapter shifts the focus to developments in Western culture. In European-centered culture, science eventually developed a late formal operational style of thought. This development is unusual enough to require special attention in a study of the history of scientific and religious thought from Hellenistic to modern European times. For most of those centuries, classical thought maintained its prestige. The Comtean theory holds that the human race began to achieve its intellectual maturity when it developed empirical or “positive” science. Epicurus's “clear vision” supposes that when one's mind is struck by an idea strongly and clearly, that idea must be similar to a sensory impression. Meanwhile, Christianity's belief in miracles, and its relative disinterest in physics and the more rigorous standards of rationality, are part of the general decay of cognitive standards of the time.

Keywords:   intelligible universe, materialism, skepticism, classical rationality, Comtean theory, Epicurus, Christianity

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