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The Fall of Adam played a vital role in the development of Western science

Peter Harrison
Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford,
Fellow of Harris Manchester College

For many champions of the new learning in the seventeenth century, the encyclopaedic knowledge of Adam was the benchmark against which their own aspirations were gauged. Francis Bacon’s project to reform philosophy was motivated by an attempt to determine whether the human mind ‘might by any means be restored to its perfect and original condition, or if that may not be, yet reduced to a better condition than that in which it now is. …’
The experimental approach, I shall argue, was deeply indebted to Augustinian views about the limitations of human knowledge in the wake of the Fall, and thus inductive experimentalism can also lay claim to a filial relationship with the tradition of Augustinianism. 1

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Reference

  1. Harrison, P., The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science, Cambridge University Press, 2007, introduction. Return to text.

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