Natural philosophy

natural philosophernatural philosophersNaturalNaturalistnature philosophyArabic naturalistsAristotelianExperimental Philosophylectures on natureNatural & Experimental Philosophy
Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis) was the philosophical study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science.wikipedia
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Philosophy

philosophicalphilosopherhistory of philosophy
Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis) was the philosophical study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science.
From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy, medicine, and physics.

Isaac Newton

NewtonSir Isaac NewtonNewtonian
Isaac Newton's book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687), whose title translates to "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", reflects the then-current use of the words "natural philosophy", akin to "systematic study of nature".
Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author (described in his own day as a "natural philosopher") who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution.

Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica

PrincipiaPhilosophiae Naturalis Principia MathematicaPrincipia Mathematica
Isaac Newton's book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687), whose title translates to "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", reflects the then-current use of the words "natural philosophy", akin to "systematic study of nature".
Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Latin for Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), often referred to as simply the Principia, is a work in three books by Isaac Newton, in Latin, first published 5 July 1687.

Natural science

natural sciencesnaturalnatural scientist
It is considered to be the precursor of natural science.
Modern natural science succeeded more classical approaches to natural philosophy, usually traced to ancient Greece.

Universe

physical worldThe Universeuniverses
Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis) was the philosophical study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science.
The same synonyms are found in English, such as everything (as in the theory of everything), the cosmos (as in cosmology), the world (as in the many-worlds interpretation), and nature (as in natural laws or natural philosophy).

Physics

physicistphysicalphysicists
From the mid-19th century, when it became increasingly unusual for scientists to contribute to both physics and chemistry, "natural philosophy" came to mean just physics, and the word is still used in that sense in degree titles at the University of Oxford. The late 17th-century natural philosopher Robert Boyle wrote a seminal work on the distinction between physics and metaphysics called, A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature, as well as The Skeptical Chymist, after which the modern science of chemistry is named, (as distinct from proto-scientific studies of alchemy).
Over much of the past two millennia, physics, chemistry, biology, and certain branches of mathematics, were a part of natural philosophy, but during the Scientific Revolution in the 17th century these natural sciences emerged as unique research endeavors in their own right.

Galileo Galilei

GalileoGalileanGalilei
Natural philosophy was distinguished from the other precursor of modern science, natural history, in that natural philosophy involved reasoning and explanations about nature (and after Galileo, quantitative reasoning), whereas natural history was essentially qualitative and descriptive.
However, after accidentally attending a lecture on geometry, he talked his reluctant father into letting him study mathematics and natural philosophy instead of medicine.

Peter Tait (physicist)

Peter Guthrie TaitPeter TaitP. G. Tait
Even in the 19th century, a treatise by Lord Kelvin and Peter Guthrie Tait, which helped define much of modern physics, was titled Treatise on Natural Philosophy (1867).
In 1860, Tait succeeded his old master, James D. Forbes, as professor of natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, and occupied the Chair until shortly before his death.

Natural history

naturalistnaturalistsnatural historian
Natural philosophy was distinguished from the other precursor of modern science, natural history, in that natural philosophy involved reasoning and explanations about nature (and after Galileo, quantitative reasoning), whereas natural history was essentially qualitative and descriptive.
The study of nature revived in the Renaissance, and quickly became a third branch of academic knowledge, itself divided into descriptive natural history and natural philosophy, the analytical study of nature.

René Descartes

DescartesCartesianRene Descartes
René Descartes' metaphysical system of mind–body dualism describes two kinds of substance: matter and mind.
In his natural philosophy, he differed from the schools on two major points: first, he rejected the splitting of corporeal substance into matter and form; second, he rejected any appeal to final ends, divine or natural, in explaining natural phenomena.

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

SchellingFriedrich SchellingFriedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling
Some of the greatest names in German philosophy are associated with this movement, including Goethe, Hegel and Schelling.
Among those in attendance at his lectures were Søren Kierkegaard (who said Schelling talked "quite insufferable nonsense" and complained that he did not end his lectures on time), Mikhail Bakunin (who called them "interesting but rather insignificant"), Jacob Burckhardt, Alexander von Humboldt (who never accepted Schelling's natural philosophy), and Friedrich Engels (who, as a partisan of Hegel, attended to "shield the great man's grave from abuse").

Jacopo Zabarella

Giacomo ZabarellaZabarella
The first person appointed as a specialist in Natural Philosophy per se was Jacopo Zabarella, at the University of Padua in 1577.
In 1577 he was promoted to the first extraordinary chair of natural philosophy.

Pre-Socratic philosophy

pre-Socraticpre-Socraticspre-Socratic philosophers
In addition, three Presocratic philosophers who lived in the Ionian town of Miletus (hence the Milesian School of philosophy), Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, attempted to explain natural phenomena without recourse to creation myths involving the Greek gods.
In Classical antiquity, the Presocratic philosophers were called physiologoi (φυσιολόγοι; in English, physical or natural philosophers).

Metaphysics

metaphysicalmetaphysicianmetaphysic
René Descartes' metaphysical system of mind–body dualism describes two kinds of substance: matter and mind. The late 17th-century natural philosopher Robert Boyle wrote a seminal work on the distinction between physics and metaphysics called, A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature, as well as The Skeptical Chymist, after which the modern science of chemistry is named, (as distinct from proto-scientific studies of alchemy).
Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of natural philosophy.

Physics (Aristotle)

PhysicsAristotle's PhysicsPhysica
Medieval thoughts on motion involved much of Aristotle's works Physics and Metaphysics.
The Physics (Greek: Φυσικὴ ἀκρόασις Phusike akroasis; Latin: Physica, or Naturales Auscultationes, possibly meaning "lectures on nature") is a named text, written in ancient Greek, collated from a collection of surviving manuscripts known as the Corpus Aristotelicum, attributed to the 4th-century BC philosopher Aristotle.

Robert Boyle

BoyleBoyle, RobertSir Robert Boyle
The late 17th-century natural philosopher Robert Boyle wrote a seminal work on the distinction between physics and metaphysics called, A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature, as well as The Skeptical Chymist, after which the modern science of chemistry is named, (as distinct from proto-scientific studies of alchemy).
Robert Boyle (25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor.

Alchemy

alchemistalchemicalalchemists
The late 17th-century natural philosopher Robert Boyle wrote a seminal work on the distinction between physics and metaphysics called, A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature, as well as The Skeptical Chymist, after which the modern science of chemistry is named, (as distinct from proto-scientific studies of alchemy).
Alchemy (from Arabic: al-kīmiyā) was an ancient branch of natural philosophy, a philosophical and protoscientific tradition practised throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, originating in Greco-Roman Egypt in the first few centuries.

History of science

historian of sciencemodern sciencehistory
Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis) was the philosophical study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science. These works of natural philosophy are representative of a departure from the medieval scholasticism taught in European universities, and anticipate in many ways, the developments which would lead to science as practiced in the modern sense.
Before that, investigators of nature called themselves "natural philosophers".

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

GoetheJohann Wolfgang GoetheJohann von Goethe
Some of the greatest names in German philosophy are associated with this movement, including Goethe, Hegel and Schelling.

Royal Society

FRSRoyal Society of LondonThe Royal Society
Jonathan Swift satirized natural philosophers of the Royal Society as 'the academy of projectors' in his novel Gulliver's Travels. Historians of science have argued that natural philosophers and the so-called projectors sometimes overlapped in their methods and aims.
The Invisible College has been described as a precursor group to the Royal Society of London, consisting of a number of natural philosophers around Robert Boyle.

William of Ockham

OckhamWilliam OckhamOccam
William of Ockham gives a good concept of motion for many people in the Middle Ages.
William wrote a great deal on natural philosophy, including a long commentary on Aristotle's Physics.

Metaphysics (Aristotle)

MetaphysicsAristotelian metaphysicsMetaphysica
Medieval thoughts on motion involved much of Aristotle's works Physics and Metaphysics.
(He called the study of nature or natural philosophy "second philosophy" (Metaphysics 1037a15).)

Leucippus

Atomist Theoryphilosopher
Figures like Hesiod regarded the Natural world as offspring of the gods, whereas others like Leucippus and Democritus regarded the world as lifeless atoms in a vortex.
He belonged to the same Ionian School of naturalistic philosophy as Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes.

University

universitiescollegecomprehensive university
These works of natural philosophy are representative of a departure from the medieval scholasticism taught in European universities, and anticipate in many ways, the developments which would lead to science as practiced in the modern sense.
Professors lectured on the books of Aristotle for logic, natural philosophy, and metaphysics; while Hippocrates, Galen, and Avicenna were used for medicine.

Protoscience

protoscientificproto-scienceproto-scientific
The late 17th-century natural philosopher Robert Boyle wrote a seminal work on the distinction between physics and metaphysics called, A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature, as well as The Skeptical Chymist, after which the modern science of chemistry is named, (as distinct from proto-scientific studies of alchemy).