Backgrounds and Beginnings of Western Sciences

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The Western Empire seemed to derive most of its knowledge and theories from those of the Eastern Empire after the fall of Rome. Astronomy and medicine are two of the specific examples discussed concerning the backgrounds and beginnings of western sciences. The Greek and Islamic background to Western astronomy deals with realists and instrumentalists, the realists representing physical reality and the instrumentalists predicting concepts with the idea that physicist's models are mere convenient fictions. Although mathematics and astronomy did conflict, the two were not entirely separated. In fact, many placed astronomy in the mathematical quadrivium. Islamic astronomical achievement fell into four categories. All dealt in comprehending and improving the astronomical theories of Ptolemy, an instrumentalist who did not completely dismiss realist ideas. It is the advances made by the Islamic that lead to astronomical knowledge in the West. Western medicine, however, came from the earlier theories of the Greeks and Romans. The collapse of the Roman Empire led to a halt in medical knowledge because the west became separated from the east, or the Greeks. During this time the only medicine practiced was domestic medicine. Certain treatments were household concepts. A certain person may have a knack for healing certain ailments and people of that town would depend on that person for treatment. Political and economical increase and urbanization ultimately led to increased education. The impact was increased methods of medicine which brings with it the role of the practitioner. The city of Salerno is southern Italy can be used as an example. Here, there was no formal schooling, but centers of medical activity to learn medicine. Practitioners practiced treatments and healing on patients. Even women were able to practice as a practitioner. After domesticated medicine and practitioners came actual schooling for those interested in medicine....
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