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The Art of Memory and the Growth of the Scientific Method

Sarma, Gopal P. (2015) The Art of Memory and the Growth of the Scientific Method. Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems, 13 (3). pp. 373-396.

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Abstract

I argue that European schools of thought on memory and memorization were critical in enabling growth of the scientific method. After giving a historical overview of the development of the memory arts from ancient Greece through 17th century Europe, I describe how the Baconian viewpoint on the scientific method was fundamentally part of a culture and a broader dialogue that conceived of memorization as a foundational methodology for structuring knowledge and for developing symbolic means for representing scientific concepts. The principal figures of this intense and rapidly evolving intellectual milieu included some of the leading thinkers traditionally associated with the scientific revolution; among others, Francis Bacon, Renes Descartes, and Gottfried Leibniz. I close by examining the acceleration of mathematical thought in light of the art of memory and its role in 17th century philosophy, and in particular, Leibniz’s project to develop a universal calculus.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Sarma, Gopal P.gopal.sarma@emory.edu0000-0002-9413-6202
Keywords: scientific method, scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, methodological thinking, universal calculus
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Epistemology
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Foundations
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > History of Philosophy
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Rhetoric of Science
General Issues > Science and Society
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Depositing User: Dr. Gopal Sarma
Date Deposited: 12 May 2017 22:54
Last Modified: 12 May 2017 22:54
Item ID: 13037
Journal or Publication Title: Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems
Official URL: http://indecs.eu/2015/indecs2015-pp373-396.pdf
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.7906/indecs.13.3.4
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Epistemology
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Foundations
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > History of Philosophy
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Rhetoric of Science
General Issues > Science and Society
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Date: 23 June 2015
Page Range: pp. 373-396
Volume: 13
Number: 3
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13037

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