[LMB] OT: Dark Ages [not], was, What makes ...

Damien Sullivan phoenix at mindstalk.net
Wed Aug 28 14:38:37 BST 2019

On Sun, Aug 25, 2019 at 11:02:41PM -0400, Nicholas David Rosen wrote:
> Matthew George wrote:

> > On Thu, Aug 22, 2019 at 11:59 AM Damien Sullivan wrote:
> > 
> >> Dubious.  Anyway, engineering and other practicalities certainly did
> >> advance:
> > 
> > But not the theoretical understanding that is ultimately necessary to

That's not a unique flaw of the Romans, that's true of everyone until
the Enlightenemnt and scientific revolution.

> > Their philosophers mostly covered ground the Greeks had already gone over.
> > Even today, it's noted that all philosophy is covered in the works of Plato


> > - which is a damning condemnation of the field in my view.  The Romans were

...but if it's true, how can you damn the Romans when we haven't done
any better?  Clearly Plato mined out all of philosophy, by this view.

Greek philosophers included speculations like "everything is made of
water" and "everything is made of fire".  Not really setting the
foundation for science.

> > Yeah, Rome never used slaves.  And despite acquiring virtually everything
> > else imaginable, they didn't "get things done" when it came to acquiring
> > knowledge.

No worse than anyone else.

> > The Barrayarans wrote new 'Shakespearean' plays.  The Romans didn't write
> > new Greek drama.

Clearly the Barrayarans put so low a value on drama that new works could
only survive by pretending to be lost works of Shakespeare.

> > The scientific revolution proved conclusively that you can produce

You're criticizing the Romans for not being 1600s-1800s Europe?  You
know who else also didn't rise to that level?  The Greeks, and everyone
else in the world.

> > desires, a bunch of nerds studied it because they were curious.  The Romans
> > accumulated techniques and collated data, they didn't seek understanding,

The Greeks did seek understanding, and mediating factors in medicine
like the four humors.  You would have been better off with a Roman
physician who just cared about what worked whether or not it had a
theory behind it.

> I don’t see how the early years of the Renaissance discovered much about how the world worked; Copernicus and Galileo were late Renaissance, and it’s hard to see how there was much advance in science before that, unless you count improved perspective (and perhaps use of a camera obscura in painting) as an advance in optics.


-xx- Damien X-)

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