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Proliferation of Latin Texts – The Truth of Scientific Revolution
Copernicus, Galileo and Newton – the big names are familiar to almost all educated people in the world. The scientific revolution began with the publication of Copernicus and was completed with the publication of Newton. A series of events opened the era of modern science as it is today.
Modern science is generally rooted in classical antiquity, which was preserved and developed in the Middle Ages. The scientific method is considered a hallmark of modern science; and was created during the scientific revolution. This general opinion is true because it is based on facts. However, the main cause of the scientific revolution has not been determined. For example, why did the revolution happen at that time? Why did it accelerate so quickly? Why did it happen in Europe? What factors led to the development of scientific methods?
Although publication is paramount in science, people tend to focus on what is described in texts. Since we consider written language to be the core of science, we look at it from a different perspective by focusing our discussion on the texts themselves that shape scientific thinking. Below we provide information on the basis and causes of the scientific revolution in terms of writings.
1. The Greek alphabet – the origin of scientific minds.
The Greek alphabet is the ancestor of the Latin and Cyrillic scripts. Its readability is comparable to the Cyrillic script, not much less readable than the Latin alphabet. It is the first real alphabet that separates vowels and consonants, showing real consistency and clarity. Aspects one through three are good, as defined in the article “Scientific power of writing systems – aspects”. Hence, the Greek alphabet had the potential to underpin science on a modern scale. However, since the preparation and storage of texts in Ancient Greece was inefficient, the volume of texts that people read and published was small. Text consciousness is not formed in the general population. As a result, texts in classical antiquity were mainly for recording and communicating non-textual thoughts.
Still, few people began to analyze texts because they had so many texts, such as Aristotle and Archimedes. They wrote and edited articles. Their writings displayed analytical and logical qualities supported by the legibility of the Greek alphabet. However, the existing texts on which they rely may not be authenticated, and many of their ideas may be derived from descriptions of their own experiences without evidence. As a result, many of their writings are descriptive and mentalistic in nature. Nevertheless, the texts began the analytic tradition and provided an intellectual framework and rich resources from which later generations learned and derived new theories.
2. The effect of print
It is known that the printing press plays a key role in the dissemination and communication of knowledge. We believe that printing plays a more fundamental role and has led to a scientific revolution.
Before the Middle Ages, the Chinese had invented both paper and printing technology. This is perhaps the main factor that caused eastern civilization to overtake the west. Arabic and Chinese sciences had flourished in the Middle Ages, but lacked the consistent and expansive publications that Latin Europe achieved during the Scientific Revolution. The growth of Islamic and Chinese economies, sciences, and technologies did not result in modern science due to their relatively non-cursive writing systems that did not result in a rigorous and analytical mind. Creating a text base was difficult. Also, printing technology was not very efficient during this period.
Their discoveries and inventions were studied by Europeans and integrated into Europe.
Printing and Distribution of Latin Texts
The Renaissance coincides with the development of printing in Europe. From the 15th century, printing greatly accelerated the spread of texts. Books have become easier to obtain. The multiplicity of texts has led to the independence of texts from non-texts. People spend more time reading and writing. Constant mental processing of texts led to the formation of scientific thinking. Participation in scientific activities increased. Intellectual activities have shifted from non-text-centered to text-centered activities. Thanks to the visual reliability and legibility of Latin texts (texts written in Latin script), modern science developed rapidly from new editions based on existing ones.
As texts proliferated, they moved away from the ambiguity of the philosophical tradition and became more closely connected to and more grounded in reality.
In addition, printed texts are usually more legible than manuscripts.
Other literate societies lagged behind the Latin world
Any script can be printed at the same speed on the same printer. But non-Latin graphic societies generally lagged far behind the Latin world in science and technology. This is mainly due to illegibility of writing systems. Modern science is based on Latinized minds, not machine-generated materials. Many people switched to Latin script to learn from and compete with the Europeans. This has continued to this day.
3. Compilation of Latin texts based on existing works
In ancient times, the production and storage of texts were limited, so most of the works were lost or incomplete. The authorship of many works is uncertain. Many arose from non-textual considerations, so were not based on earlier texts. Many were rediscovered hundreds of years later. As a result, the written works do not have a solid foundation, but are subject to new interpretation.
The main feature of modern science is to rely extensively on and refer to existing works. One of the main activities in modern science is publishing. Published works are peer-reviewed. Authorship is clear and the original texts are preserved and easily accessible for study. Regardless of whether the conclusion or theory is wrong or right, they are written clearly and provide resources and foundations for future research. There is a clear lineage in the publications of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton.
Foundational theories can be as simple as a few formulas and diagrams. However, extensive texts are referenced and reviewed for accuracy of results. Also, extensive texts are written for explanation and proof. A proof of a simple result would require an entire book.
4. The scientific method was firmly based on the spread of Latin texts
The causes of the scientific revolution are mathematical descriptions, experiments, observations, etc., which are generally called scientific methods. In fact, all aspects of the scientific method were practiced long before the scientific revolution. What distinguished the scientific revolution was the broad engagement and constant construction of scientific methods. There must be something underlying such rapid development.
Hypotheses and theories are essentially textual explanations of events. There should be a textual basis for making observations and experiments. Although scientists also made observations and experiments in ancient times, their method was not systematic, standardized and unknown to many. Due to the scarcity of manuscripts and low literacy, few people conducted experiments. With the widespread circulation of texts through print, one person’s assumptions and experiences could soon be shared and replicated by others. The arguments were then either confirmed, revised, or rejected. Many scientists referred to the experiences of others without actually conducting themselves. The spread of Latin publications led to the establishment, standardization and popularization of the scientific method.
Similar explanations explain the establishment of the mathematical tradition in science. Mathematical representations were introduced, supported, and popularized by the spread of Latin texts.
5. Entry of texts into everyday life, expansion of science into fields
Another feature of modern science is the formation of scientific consciousness in ordinary people. The greatness of classical mechanics was that it could be applied to everyday life wherever there was force, motion, and gravity. With the proliferation of texts, more people are equipped with scientific minds to analyze their encounters and experiences. As more people study existing articles, books, and theories, they gain knowledge and make new discoveries that emerge more quickly. Currently, almost all areas of life, including eating, sleeping, work, sports, are subject to and based on scientific research.
The legibility of the Latin alphabet dictates not to confuse new theories with existing ones. The collection of textual knowledge has expanded significantly. Existing areas are better defined, and new deposits are created for previously untouched areas. Textual knowledge in a field within a field may be so large that a subfield may be created. Vocabularies have been developed for each field and subfield. Science expanded into new areas and fields. Many are applied sciences. Technologies and engineering improved after being guided by scientific texts.
The spread of texts led to the democratization of knowledge. The progress of science is increasingly based on the general population, although a few geniuses can make major strides.
6. Modern information explosion
The world has changed a lot since the 17th century. Thanks to industrial and technological progress, people’s lives have improved greatly. Judging by non-texts, while 17th century societies were primitive, today’s world is certainly a true civilization. However, the nature of modern scholarship remained unchanged—the study, elaboration, and collection of Latin texts in relation to the non-textual world.
The development of communication and information technologies has made the spread of information instantaneous. Electronic transmission of information through computers, smartphones and the Internet is faster than printed materials. The spread of Latin texts entered a more rapid period.
The Scientific Revolution is a turning point from a non-textual to a textual world made possible by the spread of Latin texts. Scientific methods are based on the rigor and order established by the Latin texts. Not only modern science, but almost all areas of modernity are the direct result of the spread of Latinized texts and thoughts.
Herbert Butterfield (1957). The Origins of Modern Science, 1300-1800. G. Bell and Sons Ltd.
 For a definition of descriptive and mentalistic texts, refer to my previous article “a new definition of science – a textual basis representing the real world”.
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