Science and intertext : methodological change and continuity in Hellenistic science



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This dissertation investigates the appropriation of material from one scientific field into another in the early Hellenistic period, 300-150 BCE. Appropriation from one science into another led to the emergence of new concepts in a community of scientists. Herophilus of Chalcedon’s appropriation of musical rhythms led to the emergence of the pulse as a materio-semiotic object for Rationalist physicians. Archimedes of Syracuse’s appropriation of mechanical concepts of weighing led to the emergence of the mechanical method as a scientific way of seeing for practicing mathematicians. But objects and concepts emerging from cross-scientific appropriation had ideological consequences for scientific methodology within individual scientific communities. Archimedes prioritized a formal Euclidean proof over that offered by the mechanical method because of the standards of proof demanded by the community of practicing mathematicians. The sect of Empiricist physicians rejected Rationalist medicine and promoted the individual doctor’s role and authority as a medical caregiver. The dissertation’s sum tells a story of increasing but limited strategies of naturalization within the sciences of the early Hellenistic period.