The Transformation of Natural Philosophy
The Case of Philip Melanchthon
Author(s): Sachiko Kusukawa
Publication Date: 02/11/2006
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This book proposes that Philip Melanchthon was responsible for transforming traditional university natural philosophy into a specifically Lutheran one. Motivated by desire to check civil disobedience and promote a Lutheran orthodoxy, he created a natural philosophy based on Aristotle, Galen and Plato, incorporating contemporary findings of Copernicus and Vesalius. The fields of astrology, anatomy, botany and mathematics all constituted a natural philosophy in which Melanchthon wished to demonstrate God's Providential design in the physical world. Rather than dichotomizing or synthesizing the two distinct areas of 'science' and 'religion', Kusukawa advocates the need to look at 'Natural philosophy' as a discipline quite different from either 'modern science' or 'religion': a contextual assessment of the implication of the Lutheran Reformation on university education, particularly on natural philosophy.